Five Oscars 2016 Moments That Actually Worked

1 March 2016 | 12:30 pm | Staff Writer

Enjoy a handy rundown of the shining points of a mostly dull affair

The dust has settled for another year on the annual Academy Awards, aka the Oscars, aka the White People's Choice Awards, as Hollywood's A-list drank their weight in alcohol in celebration of the achievements of their industry at a star-studded extravaganza of a ceremony — except when it wasn't.

In fact, despite the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that permeated pre-Awards coverage around the globe, the 2016 Academy Awards were a pretty run-of-the-mill affair, even erring towards the cringeworthy, like when the droids from Star Wars shuffled out on-stage to celebrate iconic composer John Williams (who was up for his 50th nomination), or that tone-deaf joke from Chris Rock about Asian child labour.

Still, the ceremony wasn't all misfires and stony faces, however, as at least a few reliable gems shone bright enough to bring a bit of life and levity to the otherwise pretty grim parade (but hey, we're stoked for Leo).

chris rock's opening monologue (and almost everything else)

Oscars host Chris Rock had his work cut out for him this year. As an African American, he was in the unenviable position of being expected to both pull no punches with the lack of diversity at the Oscars, but also to toe the party line to an extent.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

Thankfully, he found a stunning balance (with the exception of the aforementioned child-labour gag) between fulfilling his professional duties as host and his social expectation as iconoclast. It was obvious from the get-go, in fact, as Rock let fly with a merciless monologue that took aim at both sides of the diversity debate. (See a transcript via the New York Times.)

Side note: the segment that featured his daughters selling Girl Scout cookies was also fantastic.

steve carell & tina fey make up for date night

Renowned funny-people Steve Carell and Tina Fey co-presented the award for Best Production Design with a great little piece of interplay that left us with only one Date Night-fuelled, slightly embittered thought: Oh, sure, now they have chemistry.

louis ck skewers and honours short-documentary makers

If any of this year's presenters proved that they would make a more-than-capable successor to Chris Rock as host of the wider ceremony, it was Louis CK. In all of a minute-and-a-half as he introduced the nominees for Best Short Subject Documentary, the cult-favourite comedian beautifully juggled piercing insight against (seemingly) sincere reverence for the craft of the category.

It's how, in almost consecutive sentences, CK is able to both offer up a devastating jab like, "the rest of the Oscars are going to mansions and the homes of people with good unions who will always work; these people this is documentary short film. It's not even documentary feature", before turning around and asserting, "this Oscar means something, because all they do is tell stories that are important — now, you all do, but you also get rich … this Oscar is going home in a Honda Civic".

Lady Gaga is joined on-stage by sexual assault survivors

This was stunning. Venerated chanteuse Lady Gaga brought out a group of sexual assault survivors during her performance of Til It Happens To You, from The Hunting Ground, in a jaw-dropping display of solidarity that - even with the racial tensions at the centre of this year's event - stands as arguably one of the most visually and emotionally powerful moments in recent Oscars memory.

the goddamn bear from the revenant

DiCaprio's win was huge, no question, but the support from his Revenant 'co-star' was just the best. There is really nothing else to be said about it. Just sit back and enjoy this .gif of a person in a bear costume clapping enthusiastically at the Oscars.

Oh, fine, here's a video too.