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Moments that stood out at the Oscars 2024

From host Jimmy Kimmel's quips and Ryan Gosling's performance to calls for ceasefire in Gaza, there were many moments that made the Oscars 2024 memorable

Ryan Gosling performs the song 'I'm Just Ken' from 'Barbie' at the Oscars
Ryan Gosling performs the song 'I'm Just Ken' from 'Barbie' at the Oscars (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

From Ryan Gosling's show-stopping I'm Just Ken to calls for ceasefire, there were several stand-out moments at the 96th Oscars, which took place early this morning. 

Barbie-world

The billion-dollar blockbuster Barbie was notoriously left out of the best director and best actress categories, and it only took home one award—but frequent allusions to the film meant that a rose tint still coloured much of the broadcast.

Gosling offered the splashiest evidence of the film's cultural power, as the nominated actor brought the audience to its feet with a kaleidoscopic performance of the film's eccentric ditty I'm Just Ken.

It was the second performance from the film that night, after Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell delivered a poignant rendition of What Was I Made For?— which ultimately scored the film's sole Oscar.

And host Jimmy Kimmel took his opening monologue as a chance to allude to the Academy's decision to leave filmmaker Greta Gerwig out of the running for best director: "Now, Barbie is a feminist icon, thanks to Greta Gerwig, who many believed deserved to be nominated for best director tonight. Hold on a second. I know you're clapping, but you're the ones who didn't vote for her, by the way. Don't act like you had nothing to do with this."

Also read: What to expect for Oscars red carpet fashion

An unclothed John Cena on stage

As he readied to introduce the award for best costume design, host Jimmy Kimmel noted it had been 50 years since David Niven was interrupted on the Oscars stage by a streaker. "Can you imagine if a nude man ran across the stage today?" Kimmel asked three times, before a sheepish-looking John Cena popped his head over the set.

Kimmel cajoled the apparently-reluctant former wrestler to go on with the skit and walk out unclothed. Eventually the impressively toned Cena shuffled out wearing only sandals and shielding himself with the winner's envelope, bringing the house down as he shuffled to center stage. And for those who are wondering: He really was nearly naked, with just a modesty pouch to cover the essential bits. He was cloaked in what looked like a stage curtain to get offstage.

Kimmel all the way

Kimmel, in his fourth outing as host of the Oscars, had a great evening: he was relaxed and landed almost all of his jokes with a highly receptive audience. He mocked the length of the broadcast—it started five minutes late—and poked fun at bum-achingly long films, including Martin Scorsese's three-and-a-half-hour epic.

"When I went to see Killers of the Flower Moon, I had my mail forwarded to the theater," he said. "In the time it takes you to watch it, you could drive to Oklahoma and solve the murders yourself."

And he lavished barbed praise on the performance of a dog in French courtroom thriller Anatomy of a Fall. "He has an overdose scene. I haven't seen a French actor vomit like that since Gerard Depardieu." Kimmel joked.

Also read: Martin Scorsese is still curious—and still awed by the possibilities of cinema

Calls for ceasefire 

Several stars, including supporting actor nominee Mark Ruffalo, wore pins calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, while groups of protesters against Israel's war on the besieged Palestinian territory gathered near the security cordon of the locked-down event.

And Jonathan Glazer—whose film The Zone of Interest, which was set at Auschwitz, won two awards—told the audience his team's movie-making choices "were made to reflect and confront us in the present, not to say, 'Look what they did then,' rather to say, 'Look what we do now.'"

"Our film shows where dehumanization leads at its worst. It's shaped all of our past and present," he said in accepting the prize for best international feature film. "Right now we stand here as men who refute their Jewishness and the Holocaust being hijacked by an occupation which has led to conflict for so many innocent people." Whether the victims of October the 7th in Israel, or the ongoing attack on Gaza, all the victims of this dehumanization, how do we resist?"

During the In Memoriam homage, tribute was paid to Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny, who died in a Russian prison last month. The heart-rending 20 days in Mariupol won best documentary with its telling of the siege of the eastern Ukrainian city. Director Mstyslav Chernov said if he could give away his Oscar in exchange for peace, he would. "I wish to be able to exchange this for Russia never attacking Ukraine, never occupying our cities," he said. "I wish to give all the recognition to Russia not killing tens of thousands of my fellow Ukrainians."

 

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