Chris Rock was the star of the 2016 Oscars, facing the #OscarsSoWhite criticism head-on throughout the show while also helping the Academy not take itself too seriously with a lighthearted show. The music moments were also standouts, with four superstar performances and one big winner.
See our best and worst moments below:
BEST: Chris Rock’s opening monologue
“If they nominated hosts, I wouldn’t even get this job,” Chris Rock said early in his opening monologue. In his second stint as host, Rock did an impressive job of balancing the criticism around the #OscarsSoWhite controversy while also just being funny and smart. The Oscars were lucky to have him as host this year.
WORST: Stacey Dash cameo
But why did Rock feel the need to give this Clueless star-turned- Fox News talking head a platform? She came out to wish us all a “happy Black History Month!” after denouncing the idea of Black History Month and fiercely defending her stance. We’ll let The Weeknd’s reaction say it all:
— The Cut (@TheCut) February 29, 2016
BEST: Dave Grohl’s understated “In Memoriam” performance
The idea of an “In Memoriam” tribute is to put the focus on the talents we lost this year. Dave Grohl — with an acoustic guitar and a backing orchestra — played a beautifully understated version of The Beatles’ “Blackbird” that was the perfect backdrop to the emotional segment.
WORST: The Weeknd is cut short
The Weeknd also had a great performance, with an aerialist soaring above him and female violin players playing behind him. But why was he limited to a single verse? The night’s other performers — Sam Smith and Lady Gaga — played far more of their best original song nominees, so it was questionable that the Billboard Hot 100 top five hit was cut so short.
BEST: Lady Gaga strikes a chord
She might not have taken home best original song for “Til It Happens to You” from The Hunting Ground, but she made a huge impact on the Oscars stage. Her performance alone would have been powerful enough, but when the curtains opened behind her to reveal a sea of sexual assault survivors standing in solidarity, the emotional bar was raised to the next level.
WORST: Sam Smith’s Fact-Checkers
We are pumped for Sam Smith’s best original song win for “Writing’s on the Wall” from Spectre, but his claim during his acceptance speech that he’s the first openly gay winner in the category was immediately fact-checked backstage in the press room. “Shit! F— that!” he said when it was pointed out that Elton John actually won in 1994 for “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” from The Lion King. He saved face when a reporter suggested that it’s actually better for the gay community that there have been two winners now. “Two’s my lucky number, so it’s all good.”