The Oscars is easily the most glamorous night in Hollywood. The most successful people of the year in the film industry come together under the Dolby Theatre roof to celebrate the achievements of both familiar and foreign names.
This year, controversy surrounded the 88th ceremony. When Oscar nominations were announced in January, the Hollywood community immediately spoke out on the fact that no African-American nominees were to be found amongst the famous names. Celebrities like Jada Pinkett and Will Smith spearheaded a boycott of the 2016 show to raise awareness about racial issues in the film industry.
Despite the lack of African-American nominees, Chris Rock hosted the night in a highly anticipated appearance. From the beginning, Rock poked fun at the controversy surrounding the show. “I’m at the Academy Awards, otherwise known as the White People’s Choice Awards,” said Rock.
The issue of race is certainly at a pinnacle within the United States, and Rock’s jokes did not aim to lessen the importance of discussing such issues. “You realize if they nominated hosts, I wouldn’t even get this job! You’d all be watching Neil Patrick Harris right now!” he said. Rock merely tried to lighten the mood for the audience.
This year, the nominations for Best Picture included The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Room and Spotlight. Throughout the evening, various presenters introduced highlights of each film. The Revenant, which was highly suspected to be taking home the Oscar, won and also earned director Alejandro G. Inárritu his second consecutive win following his win for Birdman last year.
Other highlights of the evening included music appearances by Sam Smith, who sang “Writings on the Wall” (Spectre); Lady Gaga, who delivered a meaningful performance of her song “Til It Happens to You” on the topic of sexual violence (The Hunting Ground); and The Weeknd, who sang “Earned It” (Fifty Shades of Grey).
Winners for best leading and supporting roles included Mark Rylance for Bridge of Spies, Brie Larson for Room and newcomer Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl.
The least surprising yet most exciting moment of the night occurred when Leonardo DiCaprio won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his work in The Revenant. After 25 years in the business, DiCaprio finally received the award that solidifies any actor’s success.
As always, the night honored the most talented men and women in the film industry, and merely being nominated is seen as an honor. For those interested, a full list of nominees and winners can be found on the official Oscar website.