The 7 Best Moments From the 2024 Oscars

From Da’Vine Joy Randolph to the Osage Singers to an enthusiastic Messi the dog, here are high points from the 96th Academy Awards

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Da'Vine Joy Randolph, John Cena and Ryan Gosling at the Oscars

The 96th Oscars unfolded largely as predicted, with “Oppenheimer” winning seven categories including supporting actor, lead actor, director and picture. There were no major upsets, since the few surprises of the evening were in categories considered extremely close, including “Poor Things,” which beat “Maestro” for makeup and hairstyling and scored a Best Actress win for (a shocked) Emma Stone over the presumed frontrunner, Lily Gladstone, from “Killers of the Flower Moon.”

Once again hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, Sunday’s Oscars were, for the most part, lively, loose and fun. Here are seven of our favorite moments from the show.

Jimmy Kimmel Teases Robert Downey Jr.

Jimmy Kimmel at the 96th Academy Awards in 2024 ( Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

A few moments into his monologue Kimmel turned his attention to Best Supporting Actor nominee Robert Downey, Jr. and mentioned that his performance in “Oppenheimer” was a “high point” in his career, a reference to Downey’s very public struggle with drug addiction in the past. The camera cut to Downey, who tapped his nose — to which Kimmel asked if he was saying the joke was too on the nose or a reference to drug use. Downey gamely played along, gesturing in response as Kimmel kept lobbing barbs his way.   

Da’Vine Joy Randolph Delivers a Moving Acceptance Speech

Da’Vine Joy Randolph (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Randolph won every precursor award this season and has said thank you many, many times, but she still managed to deliver a sincere, moving acceptance speech that brought her costar Paul Giamatti to tears. After explaining how her mother encouraged her to get into acting, Randolph said, “For so long I’ve always wanted to be different and now I realize I just need to be myself. And I thank you. I thank you for seeing me. Ron Van Lieu, I thank you when I was the only Black girl in that class, when you saw me and you told me I was enough. And when I told you I don’t see myself, you said, ‘That’s fine. We’re going to forge our own path. You’re going to lay a trail for yourself.’”

“Barbie” Performances: Billie Eilish, Finneas and Ryan Gosling

Billie Eilish & Finneas at the 96th Academy Awards (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

A study in contrasts: Up first was Billie Eilish and Finneas performing their gorgeous “Barbie” ballad “What Was I Made For?” with such purity and open-hearted emotion that more than one person shed tears in my living room. Finneas clapping for his sister after they finished the song was the icing on the cake.

Then came Ryan Gosling to wash away all those tears, crooning the first lines of “I’m Just Ken” from the audience to the delight of Margot Robbie, Greta Gerwig and pretty much every one else in the house. Clad in a pink bedazzled suit, he performed his “Barbie” alter ego’s bombastic lament with pitch-perfect ironic sincerity.

John Cena Refuses to Streak, Presents Best Costume Design Naked Instead

John Cena onstage during the 96th Annual Academy Awards
John Cena onstage during the 96th Annual Academy Awards (Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

After referencing Robert Opel, the man who streaked at the 1974 Oscars, Kimmel wondered what it would be like if such a thing happened that night. Then he repeated it until a terrified-looking and thoroughly unclothed John Cena peeked out from behind the set, saying he had changed his mind and would no longer be streaking. Eventually, he shuffled across the stage to the mic in Birkenstocks, looking humiliated as he used an Oscars envelope as a loin cloth. Naturally, the category he presented was Costume Design.

Scott George and the Osage Singers Perform “Wahzhazhe (A Song for My People)”

Scott George and the Osage Singers (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Martin Scorsese’s epic might have ended up 0 for 10 on Sunday (a crime in and of itself), but Scott George and the Osage Singers electrified the Dolby with their performance of the Best Original Song nominee from the film, “Wahzhazhe (A Song for My People).”

“P.I.M.P” Plays When “Anatomy of a Fall” Wins Best Original Screenplay

Justine Triet and Arthur Harari (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

50 Cent’s 2003 song “P.I.M.P.” plays a pivotal role in “Anatomy of a Fall,” but hearing it accompany Justine Triet and Arthur Harari as they walked to the stage to accept their Best Original Screenplay Oscar and as they exited the stage still came as a hilariously unexpected treat. In the press room Triet was asked about the song and replied, “I’m 45, and when I was younger I listened lots to 50 Cent. It was the most passive-aggressive song, you know, for the husband. Of course, it’s a classic. I had it in my computer since five years ago. I think my daughter was obsessed by this song so it was a legend in my house.”

Messi, the Dog From “Anatomy of a Fall,” Applauds

Messi the dog from "The Anatomy of a Fall" at the 2024 Oscars (ABC)
Messi the dog from “The Anatomy of a Fall” at the 2024 Oscars (ABC)

After emerging as the unsung hero of awards season, Messi, who played Snoop the dog in “Anatomy of a Fall,” was in the audience at the Dolby and put his little paws together to applaud his own favorite moments of the night.

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