The Best, The Worst And The “Eh” Of The 2016 Academy Awards

At the 88th annual Academy Awards, Chris Rock walked onto the stage and opened with a scorching monologue that took the Oscars and the system that upholds it to task. Even though we have all been aware of the Oscars’ blinding whiteness, the tone set from the jump made the exclusion of actors of color from the nominees feel even more glaring. That’s not to say that there weren’t moments of levity, though uncomfortable at times for white people. The clips packages between segments, usually hackneyed and boring, were actually good this year and aside from a few blips (Sam Smith, we’re looking at you and always will be), the winners were gracious and tactful.

Do we need the Oscars anymore? Probably not. All it does is highlight the glaring inequality that people living with it understand and know to exist, and really, unless things actually start to change, seeing the same kinds of people nominated for the same awards over and over again will become a tiresome affair. But, they’re not going away anytime soon. All we can hope for is change. Here’s the best, the worst and the “eh” of this year’s Academy Awards.

The Best

Chris Rock’s opening monologue was a doozy. Walking out to “Fight The Power”, Rock really went in. “We want opportunity. We want black actors to get the same opportunities as white actors. That’s it.” There was a lot of uncomfortable laughter, some tentative clapping, and the word “racist” was said on stage more than it’s ever been said in Oscars history.

Mad Max’s costume designer, Jenny Beavan, took home an Oscar for her post-apocalyptic-desert-road-rage work, and accpeted her award looking like everyone’s favorite kooky art teacher, in the best possible way. Relax. May we all embrace just a hint of this aesthetic in our dotage.

88th Annual Academy Awards - Show

The one-two punch of the Revenant bear site gag followed by that fake Suge Knight.


Chris Rock trotted out the Girl Scouts of Los Angeles to sell  Girl Scout Cookies to a bunch of people who haven’t eaten carbs in weeks, and it was adorable. They raised $62,000!

Lady Gaga’s performance of best song nominee, “Til It Happens To You,” from The Hunting Grounds as a show of support for sexual assault survivors was powerful and achieved its intended effect: to make everyone cry. Vice President Joe Biden gave an impassioned speech on the importance of recognizing campus sexual assault, which was nice, and made me wish that he would run for President/hang around and smile a little more.

Kate Winslet’s glasses. Cheryl Boone Isaac’s glasses. Women in glasses, in general. I appreciate anyone who does not submit to the contact lens industrial complex.

88th Annual Academy Awards - Backstage And Audience


Out of all the clips packages in a show packed with ones that were actually funny, the one where Chris Rock interviewed moviegoers in Compton about the Best Picture nominess was the best.

A close second was this Best Picture montage, but with black people!

Leonardo DiCaprio finally got his Oscar, for a film that was little more than a shell for aggressive displays of masculinity, shot against a beautiful landscape. The film was not good. Leonardo DiCaprio, in that film, was fine and I say this as a woman who used to use Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio Leonardo DiCaprio should have won an Oscar for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?, but thats neither here nor there. Leonoardo DiCaprio finally got his Oscar, no thanks to the Pussy Posse.

And, in what was perhaps the biggest upset of the night, Spotlight took home the award for Best Picture, which was very deserved! That film was excellent, despite the abundance of pleated khakis and polyester work pants, and is well worth your time. A movie about journalism sounds boring, you might be thinking. Trust me, it is not. It is a breathtaking exploration of both process and the depths of the Boston accent. Go see Spotlight.


The Worst

This tweet is either a carefully thought out, high-level meta-commentary, or it’s someone so breathtakingly confused that they should step away from the computer, stat.


Chris Rock also brought out Stacey Dash — you know, the one that wanted to end Black History Month, the NAACP and BET — is either the world’s biggest troll or something else that I’m missing. But! #OscarsSoWhite that not a lot of people in the audience caught precisely why that was such a big deal, except for the Weeknd. “Happy Black History Month, Oscars,” she said.


The Minions — why? — were all over the Oscars. They presented an award. Sacha Baron Cohen, in full Ali G, mentioned them, which is okay, because he’s Ali G, but not okay, because Ali G isn’t really okay anymore and also egregious. Let us all agree that the Minions are horrible. Let’s put it to rest.

Sam Smith, looking svelte and frankly a little terrifying, won Best Song for that abysmal dirge of a theme song for Spectre. Do you know know it? It’s…it’s not good! Any of the other songs should have won. “Worth It” should have won. Literally any other of the songs should have won, it wouldn’t have mattered.

America’s Wokest Bae weighed on in Leo’s win. Go away, AWB. Please?

The Eh
Best Adapted screenplay winner Charles Randolph, who took an Oscar home for The Big Short thanked no one but subtly endorsed Bernie Sanders, which is proof that Bernie bros are everywhere. Also, thank god for that thank-you ticker, because how else would people be able to wild out on the mic?

Here are the people the Oscars control room found acceptable to show reacting to Chris Rock’s speech.

David O. Russell and Jennifer Lawrence went for unbridled enthusiasm.


Jennifer Garner, who appears to be morphing into Angelina Jolie in real time, was a little more measured.


The entire ceremony itself was kind of uninspired, probably beause it was so highly anticipated. Also, it was so very long. But, now it’s over! And so is awards season, thank god for that. Will next year be as troublesome as this year was? Only time will tell. Here, look at something nice that you can be happy about, regardless.

88th Annual Academy Awards - Backstage And Audience

Kate Winslet knew that if she let Leo on the wooden plank she was clinging to in Titanic, he’d never be where he is today.