2023 Oscars Best and Worst Moments
Major wins, gorgeous gowns, and a show-stopping performance by Rihanna - but why was Hugh Grant so grumpy?
Awards Season has finally come to an end, and with it, a new era of cinematic excellence. The biggest win of the night for the 2023 Oscars went to Everything Everywhere All At Once, which scored seven out of the eleven categories it was nominated in, including best picture.
The film’s diverse cast brought in four of the main performance awards, leaving viewers inspired with their speeches and hopeful for the doors their recognition will now open.
Not everything was glitz and glam, however; the prize-winning film’s near sweep resulted in some major upsets and snubs, which audiences at home were quick to point out. A few cringey escapades ensued as well (including one involving a bear), but luckily, no one got slapped this year.
Here’s a rundown of nine of the best and most awkward moments from Hollywood’s biggest night.
1. Michelle Yeoh made Oscars history
Screen acting legend Michelle Yeoh took home the award for best actress, solidifying her place as the first woman of Asian descent to win the honor, and the second woman of color in Oscars history to win the title as well (more than 20 years after Halle Berry broke the barrier in 2002).
Yeoh dazzled audiences with her portrayal of Evelyn Wang in Everything Everywhere All At Once, an Asian American immigrant and laundromat owner whose life is turned upside down, inside out, and everywhere in between after trying to save the world with superpowers and multiverse mishaps.
Yeoh dedicated her big win to “all the moms in the world, because they really are the superheroes and without them none of us would be here tonight.” Then she closed out her success with a powerful line everyone can get behind:
“Ladies, don’t let anybody tell you you’re ever past your prime.”
2. Ke Huy Quan reunited with co-star Harrison Ford
Another massive cast win for this year’s best film went to Ke Huy Quan, winner of best supporting actor, who played Waymond Wang, Evelyn’s husband in Everything Everywhere All At Once. His touching, teary-eyed speech left an impact on watchers, but it was his reunion with former co-star Harrison Ford that really moved us.
Quan’s face it up when he saw the man who played the lead in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom walk on stage to announce the most coveted award of the evening. Quan was just a youngster when he worked alongside Ford as Short Round, but the two gave us all the feels when they heartily embraced on stage as the cast went up to accept their well-earned Oscar for best film.
3. Angela Bassett’s upset loss
Perhaps the biggest upset of the night occurred during the announcement of best supporting actress. After taking home the Golden Globes honor earlier this year, many predicted Angela Bassett would go on to win the Academy Award for her role as Queen Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
The award, however, went to Jamie Lee Curtis for her part in Everything Everywhere All At Once, and television cameras caught Bassett’s disappointed reaction in their wake. While Curtis is still definitely worthy of winning her first Oscar, it would have been a first for the legendary Black actress as well, making the upset even more disappointing for many critics.
4. Rihanna rocked an amazing prenatal performance
Just a few weeks after her incredible Super Bowl LVII performance, Rihanna took to the stage once more to perform at this year’s Academy Awards. She literally dazzled audiences with her bejewled gown dripping rhinestones over her baby bump, as she belted out “Lift Me Up,” from the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack.
While the Oscar-nominated ballad didn’t secure its own win, RiRi’s stage presence held strong in its own fan-favorite category, especially with A$AP Rocky grinning in the audience.
5. Morgan Freeman sports some satin
The Academy Award-winner graced the stage with an interesting accessory —a black, satin, elbow-length glove on his left hand. The glove was used to support damages Freeman has lived with since 2008, when he was involved in a car accident that left his hand partially impaired.
Margot Robbie linked up with her co-presenter to escort him on stage as they introduced the special ‘100 years of Warner Bros’ segment during the show.
6. Hugh Grant appeared to be painfully rude to Ashley Graham
Most people dream of winning an Oscar, others are just happy to be at the event. That didn’t seem to be the case for Hugh Grant, who gave super-clipped responses to interview questions about previous film roles during the champagne carpet pre-show.
Plus-sized model and ET interviewer Ashley Graham tried her best to keep things cheery but clearly struggled with his brusque, borderline rude responses, such as “my suit” when she asked what he was wearing.
7. Tems’s gown created an obstructed view
Most actresses wow us with their pre-show photoshoots, donning elaborate gowns and accessories. What we don’t always see however, are the bustled trains, removable panels of fabric, and other post-carpet looks that allow Hollywood stars to sit comfortably for hours during the show.
Tems, a singer who who gave the world the Oscar-nominated song, “Lift Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, arrived with a pillowy white, abstract gown that garnered attention from lots of viewers. She wore the dress during the show, and some folks on social media pointed out that the structured piece kept others behind her from having a good view.
8. Jimmy Kimmel made awkward small talk with Malala Yousafzai
One of the most talked-about Oscars attendees was Malala Yousafzai, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and activist whose short film, Stranger at the Gate, was nominated in the best documentary short subject category. The film’s executive producer shared a rather awkward moment between herself and Academy Award host Jimmy Kimmel, when he interviewed her on the spot about ‘spit-gate’ drama between Harry Styles and Chris Pine.
Like a true global diplomat, she responded: “I only talk about peace.”
While many criticized the exchange as inappropriate on Kimmel’s part, Yousafzai later tweeted some powerful words: “Treat people with kindness.”
9. Colin Farrell grins at sight of a donkey on stage
While his best actor winning streak for his role as Pádraic in The Banshees of Inisherin came to an end at the Oscars, Farrell’s face showed only signs of complete joy, especially when he saw some ‘ass’ on stage — a donkey, that is. Host Kimmel introduced the crowd to Jenny the Donkey, the name of the four-legged friend from the film, walking the animal out on stage.
Farrell, who attended the show with his son, seemed so delighted by the appearance that his tough-guy tendencies were forgotten by meme makers especially.