Leo's Win, Gaga's Powerful Performance And Other 2016 Oscars Highlights
Leo's Big Day
Leo finally got his Oscar for his role in The Revenant. The actor was first nominated 23 years ago for a supporting role in What's Eating Gilbert Grape, then for Best Actor in The Aviator, Blood Diamond and The Wolf Of Wall Street. This was Leo's first win.
He used his thank you speech as a platform to address climate change as a serious concern. He brought this up again in the press room, saying, "I feel there is a ticking clock out there. There is a sense of urgency and we all must do something proactive about this issue. Certainly, with the upcoming election, we need to all join together and vote for leaders who care about the future of this civilization and the world as we know it. If you do not believe in climate change, you do not believe in science or empirical truth." You might recall Leo's 2007 documentary, The 11th Hour, about climate change.
DiCaprio also mentioned growing up in East L.A., and how his parents would take him auditions after school to help him fulfill a dream that began when he was four years old.
Revenant director Alejandro G. Iñárritu took home his second Oscar, winning last year for Birdman. He did not repeat his metaphor from last year's acceptance speech: "Fear is the condom of life. it doesn't allow you to enjoy things."
Lady Gaga And Her Friend, Joe Biden
Lady Gaga performed "Til It Happens To You," which she wrote with Diane Warren for the documentary The Hunting Ground. The Hunting Ground's subject matter—sexual assault on college campuses in the United States—is serious enough, but Gaga's incredible performance combined with multiple survivors holding hands was powerful. Gaga was introduced by Vice President Joe Biden, who referred to her as his "friend." He said, "We can and will change the culture so no abused woman or man will think they did anything wrong."
Brie Larson Wins For 'Room'
Brie Larson won Best Actress for her role in Room, a film about a young mother and her 5-year-old son. In the film, Larson's character was kidnapped by her son's father seven years prior to the onset of the film, and the two have been imprisoned in a shed the entire time.
In the press room, Brie Larson was asked what song would define this winning moment in her life. Without pause, she chose "I'm In Love With My Life" by Phrases. She was also asked if there was a time when she felt she needed to stand up for herself, and she mentioned being asked to wear a jean miniskirt:
In particular, there were many times that I would go into auditions and casting directors would say, "It's really great. Really love what you're doing, but we'd love for you to come back in a jean miniskirt and high heels." And those were always moments of a real fork in the road, because... there's no reason for me to show up in a jean miniskirt and heels other than the fact that you want to create some fantasy, and you want to have this moment that you can reject. That's the craziest part. And so for me, I personally always rejected that moment. I tried maybe once, and it always made me feel terrible because they were asking me to wear a jean miniskirt and heels to be sexy, but a jean miniskirt and heels does not make me feel sexy. It makes me feel uncomfortable. So learning for me what it took to feel confident, and strong, and take what these people were trying to get to exude out of me, come from a personal place. And from my place, and trying to represent in film women that I know, women that I understand, complicated women, women that are inside of me... that became my mission. And every time I was put in front of an opportunity where I had to decide in those moments, do I or do I not wear a jean miniskirt? They became huge moments for me of confidence.
'Mad Max: Fury Road' Wins Big
Mad Max: Fury Road won a total of six technical awards for film editing, costume design, production design, makeup and hairstyling, sound editing and sound mixing. Jenny Beavan, the brains behind Fury Road's post-apocalyptic costume design, wore a vegan leather jacket with a jeweled skull on the back.
She explained in the press room that dressing up in traditional finery just isn't her thing when asked about her outfit for the evening, and the fact that Stephen Fry jokingly compared her to a "bag lady" at the BAFTAs. (Note: Fry and Beavan are pals.)
"I really don't do frocks, and I absolutely don't do heels. I simply can't wear them. I've got a bad back, and I look ridiculous in a beautiful gown. This was an homage to Mad Max." She did note that the jacket was not real leather.
Chris Rock announced that we'd be seeing Clueless star Stacey Dash, the "new director of Our Minority Outreach Program." She strolled out, giggled and said, "I cannot wait to help my people out. Happy Black History Month." And that was it. Dash appeared on Fox & Friends in the midst of #OscarsSoWhite controversy and said, "Either we want to have segregation or integration. And if we don’t want segregation, then we need to get rid of channels like BET and the BET Awards and the (NAACP) Image Awards where you're only awarded if you're black." She also suggested getting rid of Black History Month. She followed up her Academy Awards appearance with a blog post about it. In it, she writes: "No matter my skin color, I was going to vote for the best candidate. Since I was blamed, mocked, and ridiculed in the press over supporting a Republican, I've spoken out about a LOT of stuff that black people try to stuff down my throat."
She was met with some pretty strong reactions.
Scandal and Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes liked Dash's dress, but not so much Dash herself.
Academy Presidents Talks Change
Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, took to the stage to talk about diversity in Hollywood. She said that "inclusion only serves to make us all stronger" and stressed the importance of increasing diversity. "It's not enough to just listen and agree. We must take action. While change is often difficult, it is necessary. Dr. Martin Luther King once said the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. I am confident that together we can shape a future of which all of us can be proud."
Sam Smith Wins An Oscar, Makes Everyone Mad
Though many people assumed that Gaga would be leaving with the Oscar after her powerful performance, Sam Smith took the Oscar for his Bond song, "Writing's on the Wall." In his acceptance speech, he said actor Sir Ian McKellen mentioned that an openly gay man had never won an Oscar before. "And if this is the case, even if it isn't the case, I want to dedicate this to the LGBT community all around the world. I stand here tonight as a proud gay man, and I hope we can all stand together as equals one day," he said.
Smith isn't the first openly gay man to take home an Oscar. Dustin Lance Black won an award for Best Original Screenplay in 2009 for Milk. Elton John won an Oscar in 1995 for "Can You Feel The Love Tonight." What McKellen actually told The Guardian was that straight men had previously won Oscars for playing gay men, but no openly gay man has ever won an Oscar for their acting performance.
When Smith found out in the press room that he was incorrect, he responded with a heartfelt, "Shit." He also admitted to being "a little bit drunk."
But, Black had more to say:
Mmm, Thin Mints
Chris Rock had a troupe of Girl Scouts—one of the girls is his daughter—go out into the audience and sell their cookies, noting that this particular audience has particularly deep pockets. The ploy worked, and Rock helped the girls make $63,243! Rock tweeted that Biden gave him $20.
Subtle, or Not
When Adam Mckay, co-writer and director of The Big Short won for Best Adapted Screenplay, he said, "If you don't want big money to control government, don't vote for candidates that take money from big companies or weird billionaires." Could he be feeling the Bern?
Did You Catch This Android Commercial? Because It's Pretty Cute For A Commercial
The Thank You Scroll
Did you catch the 'thank you' scroll? Instead of reading a laundry list of names, winners' thanks were displayed on a scrolling ticker. Some winners—like Inside Out director Pete Docter—used it to suggest getting a pet.
This year's In Memoriam section featured Dave Grohl covering The Beatles' "Blackbird," which could have made for a seamless lyrical transition into his own "Learn To Fly." David Bowie, Christopher Lee and Alan Rickman were shown on screen, but no Abe Vigoda.