Oscars recap: The best speeches, biggest snubs and other viral moments from the 2023 Academy Awards


The critically-acclaimed multiverse movie stole the show on Hollywood’s biggest night, with “Everything Everywhere All at Once” nabbing seven of the night’s top honors, including best picture, best actress, best directing, best editing, best original screenplay, and the best supporting actor and best supporting actress awards. 

But there were plenty of other memorable moments during the 95th Academy Awards on Sunday — although none could quite live up to the infamous incident during last year’s show, when Will Smith slapped presenter Chris Rock onstage. Still, Hollywood’s biggest night kicked off by swapping the red carpet for a “champagne-colored” walkway (which drew mixed reactions), plus show-stopping performances by Rihanna and Lady Gaga — and, yes, references to Smith’s slap. 

See: 2023 Oscars: A list of all the winners, as ‘Everything Everywhere’ dominates

So whether you missed the Academy Awards to tune into “The Last of Us” finale on HBO instead, or you just want to relive the highlights, here are some of the most memorable moments from the 2023 Oscars.

Red-carpet watchers rued the ‘champagne carpet,’ a beige fashion flop

The red carpet is a staple to any awards show, but fashion lovers consider the Oscars red carpet, in particular, to be their sartorial Super Bowl.

Yet the Academy Awards ripped up the red carpet this year — for the first time since it rolled out the red runner in 1961 — in favor of a champagne-colored one. This is because the arrivals area was covered up this year, and the show’s creative director felt that a darker carpet, like a red one, would appear too dark beneath the covered tent.

 Alas, many viewers complained that it looked more beige than champagne.

Even best supporting actress nominee Jamie Lee Curtis (for “Everything Everywhere All at Once”) tweeted a personalized face-palm emoji of herself reacting to the change. “Their carpet is going to match my drapes,” she tweeted.

Turns out, her sparkling Dolce & Gabbana gown was almost the exact same shade as the carpet, which explained her comment.

Host Jimmy Kimmel warned the audience not to come on stage and ‘get jiggy with it’ during his opening monologue

Of course late-night host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel was going to reference Smith slapping Rock during his opening monologue. Kimmel saved most of his skewering for the Academy Awards showrunners and audience members last year who stood by, frozen, while Smith came on stage and assaulted Rock after the latter made a joke about Smith’s wife.

“The Academy has a crisis team in place. If anything unpredictable or violent happens during the ceremony, just do what you did last year: nothing,” Kimmel said. “Sit there and do absolutely nothing. Maybe even give the assailant a hug.”

Read more: Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel riffs on Will Smith slap in his opening monologue

He also joked that, “If anyone in this theater commits an act of violence at any point in the show, you will be awarded the Oscar for best actor and permitted to give a 19-minute-long speech.” This was in reference to Smith winning the best actor award later in the evening after hitting Rock, and being allowed to give a lengthy acceptance speech.

And as the show dragged on toward 10 p.m. Eastern and beyond (it didn’t end until nearly midnight), Kimmel cracked that, “This point in the show kind of makes you miss the slapping a little bit, right?”

Ke Huy Quan crowed ‘this is the American dream’ during his acceptance speech

The first “Everything Everywhere All at Once” star to win one of the night’s acting awards was Ke Huy Quan, who scored best supporting actor. The former child star best known for 1980s hits like “The Goonies” and “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” has been one of this awards season’s Cinderella stories; after decades struggling to repeat the success of his childhood, “Everything Everywhere” has landed him a slew of awards at last, including a Golden Globe and an Oscar. And Quan noted during his acceptance speech that, “Dreams are something you have to believe in. I almost gave up on mine.”

And he looked directly at the camera and added, “To all of you out there, please keep your dreams alive.”  

He also thanked his “‘Goonies’ brother for life,” Jeff Cohen — who played Chunk in the 1985 adventure flick, but is now an entertainment lawyer. Cohen is the one who negotiated Quen’s contract for “Everything Everywhere All at Once” almost 30 years later.

“My journey started on a boat. I spent a year in a refugee camp,” Quan said. ” And somehow I ended up here on Hollywood’s biggest stage. They say stories like this only happen in the movies. I cannot believe it’s happening to me. This — this — is the American dream.”

Jamie Lee Curtis shared her Oscar with everyone, everywhere

Acting legend Curtis won her first-ever Oscar on Sunday, taking home the best supporting actress trophy for “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”

“I know it looks like I’m standing up here by myself,” she said, “but I am not. I am hundreds of people.” She thanked everyone who made the movie, her agent and PR team, as well as her family, including director-husband Christopher Guest. “We just won an Oscar,” she repeated as she thanked each person or group of people.

And the “scream queen” who made her movie debut in “Halloween” in 1978 also thanked her fans who have supported “all of the genre movies” she’s made. “Thousands and thousands of people: We just won an Oscar together!” she shouted.

She saved her tears for thanking her parents, who were also acting legends — the late Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh. “I just won an Oscar!” she said, looking up at the sky.

But not everyone was thrilled with this pick. “ROBBED” began trending on Twitter, as armchair critics tweeted that either “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” queen Angela Bassett, or Curtis’s “Everything, Everywhere” costar Stephanie Hsu, should have been given the award.

Jenny the donkey from ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ briefly stole the show — or did she?

Kimmel trotted out a miniature donkey that he identified as Jenny from “The Banshees of Inisherin” roughly halfway through the show, with the adorable creature sporting an “emotional support” saddle.

“If you feel upset, feel free to come up and give her a hug,” Kimmel said.

And no one seemed more happy about seeing the animal actor than human costar Colin Ferrell.

But Vulture reported that a source told the New York Magazine pop culture site that it was “just a random donkey” that was brought onstage, and not the donkey seen in the Academy Award-nominated film.

And honorable animal mention goes to “Cocaine Bear” director Elizabeth Banks bringing a guy in bear suit on stage while presenting the visual effects award. The actor in a bear suit also pantomimed trying to score drugs from the audience, but Banks, who sounded like she’d lost her voice, rasped at the bear-figure to wait until the Oscar afterparties “like everyone else.” 

Lady Gaga gives emotional ‘Hold My Hand’ performance

Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta — aka Lady Gaga — broke some of her little monsters’ hearts recently when it was announced that she wouldn’t be able to fit a live Oscars performance into her schedule, as she’s busy filming “Joker: Folie à Deux.” But she did make it on Sunday, after all, when she gave an intimate live performance of her “Top Gun: Maverick” power ballad, “Hold My Hand.”

She opened by explaining how the song was “deeply personal,” and that “we all need each other, we need a lot of love to walk through this life, and we all need a hero.” 

She added that, “There’s heroes all around us in unassuming places, but you might find that you can be your own hero, even if you feel broken inside.” 

All five of this year’s original song nominees were performed on stage at the Oscars, with eventual winner “Naatu Naatu” by Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava, from the film “RRR,” bringing down the house with an especially dynamic dance performance.

And Rihanna, fresh off her Super Bowl halftime show and pregnancy reveal, performed “Lift Me Up” from “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”

Hugh Grant calls himself ‘a scrotum’

Oh, Hugh! In perhaps the best presenter-moment of the evening, the actor Hugh Grant joined actress Andie MacDowell to present the award for production design. And he teased that MacDowell is “still stunning” because she moisturizes her skin every day, but he never uses moisturizer, so “I’m basically a scrotum,” he said, pointing at his face — and drawing a big laugh.

But this came after he had a super-awkward red carpet — sorry, beige carpet — interaction with model Ashley Graham, where he said he wasn’t looking forward to seeing anyone win in particular, he said didn’t know who made his suit, and he responded that he was “‘barely in” the “Knives Out” sequel “Glass Onion” when Graham raved about how much she loved it.

John Travolta chokes up remembering ‘Grease’ costar Olivia Newton-John 

John Travolta is still “hopelessly devoted” to his late “Grease” costar Olivia Newton-John, who passed away last summer. The actor seemed to struggle getting through the introduction to the “In Memoriam” segment of the Oscars, when the Academy pays tribute to the men and women in entertainment who passed away during the previous year. But his voice fully broke as he said, “They’ve touched our hearts, they’ve made us smile, and became dear friends, who we will always remain hopelessly devoted to…“ — and it was clear he was remembering Newton-John, who sang “Hopelessly Devoted to You” in “Grease.” 

Best actor Brendan Fraser: ‘So this is what the multiverse looks like’

“The Whale” star Brendan Fraser recalled how “things didn’t always come easily to me” in the 30 years that he’s been in the acting business while accepting the best actor win.

He used plenty of nautical metaphors in his acceptance speech, like, “I’m grateful to Darren Aronofsky for throwing me a creative lifeline and hauling me aboard the good ship ‘The Whale,’” and, “I want to tell you that only whales can swim at the depth of talent of [fellow nominee] Hong Chau.”

Michelle Yeoh says ‘this is history in the making’ while becoming the first Asian woman to win the best actress award

“Ladies, don’t let anybody tell you that you are ever past your prime,” Michelle Yeoh, 60, said while accepting her first-ever Oscar, for best actress, in — you guessed it — “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”

The actress, who made history as the first Asian woman to win this award, also gave a shoutout to the “little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight,” adding, “This is a beacon of hope and possibilities. This is proof that, dream big, and dreams do come true.”

‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ wins best picture

The night’s big winner was “Everything, Everywhere All At Once,” which ultimately took home seven awards on Sunday night.

And for more Oscars coverage:

Oscars 2023: What’s inside the $126,000 gift bags?

Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh says ‘movies don’t matter the way they did when I was growing up’

Chris Rock on why he didn’t hit Will Smith back: ‘I took that hit like Pacquiao’

Las Vegas News Magazine

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