The Academy Awards returned with a bang for its 95th anniversary.
Celebrating the most lauded films of the year, the most gifted performers and the most talented technical crew members, the Oscars shine a spotlight on Hollywood’s best and brightest, and this year did not disappoint.
This year, there were 13 people who were nominated for the first time, composer John Williams became the oldest nominee ever (only Walt Disney himself has more total Oscar nominations) and Steven Spielberg was recognized for receiving a nomination at least once a decade for six decades in a row.
From the most well-deserved wins to the occasional (some would argue predictable) snub, and from the night’s biggest laughs to its most emotional beats, here are the best moments from the 2023 Academy Awards.
KE HUY QUAN LIVES HIS BEST LIFE
Best supporting actor winner Ke Huy Quan appeared to be having a blast even before he earned the award.
On the champagne-coloured carpet before the Oscars began, Quan seemed to be having the time of his life.
“It’s finally here! Oh my gosh! Wow! I’ve been waiting for a night like this for the longest time, and I cannot believe it’s happening,” Quan said.
Quan said he met Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and got a selfie with him before mentioning he saw Nicole Kidman and would try to get a selfie with her as well.
During his acceptance speech, Quan bawled his eyes out.
“Mom, I just won an Oscar!” He said through tears.
Quan said he lived the American dream, remembered those that stuck with him from the beginning when he thanked his “Goonies” brother Jeff Cohen and mentioned he almost gave up on his dream of becoming an actor—encouraging anyone following their dreams to keep at it.
Michelle Yeoh poses with the award for best performance by an actress in a leading role for “Everything Everywhere All at Once” at the Governors Ball after the Oscars, March 12, 2023, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/John Locher)
‘EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE’ CLEANS UP
It was a huge night for “Everything Everywhere All at Once” winning seven Oscars, including best picture.
Moments before the cast and crew celebrated winning Hollywood’s top prize on stage, the film’s lead, 60-year-old Michelle Yeoh, best actress award in hand, delivered a speech encouraging those listening to not let others say when you’re past your prime.
Quan was nominated for and won an Oscar for the first time earlier in the night. It’s an honour he shares with 40-year Hollywood veteran Jamie Lee Curtis, who won best supporting actress for her “Everything Everywhere All at Once” role. Curtis dedicated the award to her team, repeating “we just won an Oscar” while mentioning members of the cast and crew who worked on the film.
After her win, she and co-star Quan posed with their respective awards in a dazzling display of Oscar gold.
While several people on social media say it should have been either Angela Bassett or Stephanie Hsu to take home the best supporting actress award, there appeared to be a general appreciation for Curtis’s win as it meant another accolade for the most-nominated “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”
Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, also known as “The Two Daniels” earned the award for Best Original Screenplay to thunderous applause. The dynamic duo also directed the film, winning in that category as well.
The movie also took home the award for Best Film Editing. Paul Rogers said it was only the second film he’s ever worked on.
Brendan Fraser accepts the award for best performance by an actor in a leading role for “The Whale” at the Oscars, March 12, 2023, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Pizzello
THE CANADIANS WHO TOOK HOME OSCAR GOLD
One of the biggest prizes of the night went to American-Canadian Brendan Fraser, who won the best actor award for his performance in “The Whale,” his first Oscar. The victory was seen as a redemption of sorts for the veteran performer.
“I started in this business 30 years ago and things didn’t come easily for me,” Fraser told the crowd.
Adrien Morot, from Quebec, one of the makeup and hairstyling artists who transformed Fraser into a 600-pound man for the role in the Darren Aronovsky film, also won an award along with Judy Chin and Anne Marie Bradley.
Daniel Roher, from Toronto, won the Oscar for best documentary feature for “Navalny,” which he directed. Roher brought Alexei Navalny’s family on stage with him to accept the award.
Sarah Polley, from Toronto, earned an Oscar for best adapted screenplay for “Women Talking,” which she also directed. Polley took jabs at the Academy during her acceptance speech and dedicated the award to all of the women who helped create the film.
A performance of the song “Naatu Naatu” from “RRR” at the Oscars, March 12, 2023, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
David Byrne and Stephanie Hsu teamed up with Son Lux for a performance of “This Is A Life” from “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”
The dancers and singers performing “Naatu Naatu”—the Oscar-nominated song from “RRR”—stole the show, if only for a brief moment, giving viewers a glimpse into the larger-than-life musical numbers from the film.
Lady Gaga delivered powerful performance of her song “Hold My Hand” from “Top Gun: Maverick,” which was apparently scheduled just hours before the show started. Gaga, an Oscar winner herself, captivated everyone in the theatre with her vocal chops.
Rihanna’s beautiful live rendition of “Lift Me Up” from “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” acted as a tribute to the late, great Chadwick Boseman—the star of the first film and Oscar nominee. Her emotional vocals are what earned the song an Oscar nomination in the first place, and her performance Sunday tugged on the heartstrings of all who watched.
Jimmy Kimmel walks onstage with Jenny, the miniature emotional support donkey, at the Oscars, March 12, 2023, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
JIMMY KIMMEL’S SOLID HOSTING
Late-night talk show personality Jimmy Kimmel did a great job hosting—it was not his first time doing the job after all. Kimmel’s tone struck a fine balance of congratulating the film industry for overcoming the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, while poking fun at the talent who make the Academy Awards possible every year.
Kimmel’s opening monologue cracked jokes about Babylon’s box office failure, Batgirl’s abrupt cancellation as well as the lack of women represented in the best director category. He also addressed the elephant in the room—Will Smith was the butt of many jokes throughout the night.
Kimmel also brought a live donkey on stage, supposedly the same one that played Jenny in “The Banshees of Inisherin.”
Anna Eberstein, left, and Hugh Grant arrive at the Oscars, March 12, 2023, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
HUGH GRANT’S AWKWARD RED CARPET
Before the award show began, Hugh Grant had an awkward exchange with pre-show co-host Ashley Graham of ABC. It was a far cry from a controversial moment, however, some Oscars viewers took to Twitter to acknowledge the uneasy interview.
Grant gave stilted answers on the champagne-coloured carpet. When Graham asked him what he was wearing, he replied “just my suit.” When she asked him who he was excited to see, he appeared to misunderstand the question.
“To see?” Grant said.
“Yeah, well I know you probably watched a few of the movies, are you excited to see anybody win? Do you have your hopes up for anyone?” Graham asked.
“Not—no one in particular,” Grant said.
Graham also brought up Grant’s cameo in Netflix’s murder mystery “Glass Onion” in an attempt to break the tension. When she asked if he had fun on set: “Almost,” he said.