Seven great moments from The Academy Awards ceremony

The 94th annual Academy Awards saw Coda named Best Picture, Jane Campion pick up the Best Director award for Power of the Dog – it’s only the third time a woman has won in that category, and Kenneth Branagh took home his first Oscar too.

The show ran for almost four hours, but there were some definite highlights worth talking about.

Hosts Regina Hall, Wanda Sykes and Amy Schumer

Amy Schumer joked that “This year the Academy hired three women to host, because it’s cheaper than hiring one man.” but alongside Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall she was having a lot of fun.

Skyes was there as a proud gay woman, and while the hosts wished everyone a great night, she has a special message for some viewers. “For you people in Florida, we’re gonna have a gay night! Gay, gay, gay!” Skykes said at the end of the trio’s opening.

Florida has recently passed legislation dubbed the ‘Don’t Day Gay’ bill that stopes sexuality and gender being mentioned to young school children.  Wanda, Amy and Regina launched into a dance as they chanted “gay, gay, gay.”

Ariana DeBose wins for West Side Story

Ariana DeBose became the first gay woman, who had publicly shared her sexuality, to win an acting award at the Oscars.

Her award for playing Anita in Stephen Speilberg’s remake of West Side Story came 60 years after Rita Moreno won for her role in the original film. Ninety-year-old Moreno looked on from the audience as DeBose picked up her golden statuette.

“Imagine this little girl in the backseat of a white Ford Focus, look into her eyes and you see an openly queer woman of color, an Afro-Latina who found her strength in life through art. So to anybody who has ever questioned your identity – ever, ever ever – or you find yourself living in the grey spaces, I promise you this: there is indeed a place for us.” DeBose said.

Her inspiring speech referenced the lyrics from Somewhere, which was written by Stephen Sondheim.  Sondheim passed away in November 2021.

Shout out for Brittney Griner

Queen of Basketball won the award for Best Short Documentary, Director Ben Proudfoot used his acceptance speech to draw attention to the case of US Basketball player Brittney Griner who is currently imprisoned in Russia.

Proudfoot called on US President Joe Biden to take action and “Bring Brittney Griner home”.

The 31-year-old player, who is a part of the LGBTIQA+ communities, was detained in Mid-February after Russian authorities alleged she had been found with vape cartridges contained hashish oil. The two-time Olympic gold medalist faces 10 years in prison if found guilty, and she has been, until recently, denied consular assistance.

Elliot Page looking dapper

The evening highlighted the anniversaries of many different films including The Godfather, White Men Can’t Jump, Cabaret and Pulp Fiction. Robert De Niro and Al Pacino appeared with director Francis Ford Coppola, John Travolta, Uma Thurman and Samuel L Jackson reunited, and Woody Harrelson appeared with Wesley Snipes and Rosie Perez.

To celebrate the 15th anniversary of Juno, Elliot Page appeared alongside Jennifer Gardner and J.K. Simmons.

The Shorts and the Shirtless

Wesley Snipes wore a maroon tuxedo that included shorts and stockings, Kristian Stewart also opted for Tuxedo featuring hot pants, while Timothée Chalamet wore Louis Vuitton, opting to go bare-chested.

Australian actor Kodi Smit-McPhee impressed in a light turquoise suit. British actor Daniel Kaluuya sported a stylish emerald suit, but did legendary songwriter Dianne Warren walk the red carpet in the same outfit?

Jessica Chastain’s speech

Jessica Chastain won the the Best Actress award for her portrayal of Tammy Faye Bakker, the TV evangelist who broke ranks with her contemporaries to show compassion to people affected by HIV/AIDS.

In her acceptance speech Chastain said she was inspired by Bakker’s radical acts of love and she had a message for LGBT youth too.

“For any of you out there who do in fact feel hopeless or alone, I just want you to know that you are unconditionally loved for the uniqueness that is you.” Chastain said.

Lady Gaga and Liza Minnelli

Liza Minelli was a surprise guests alongside Lady Gaga who presented the Best Picture award. It was a wonderful meeting of old and new Hollywood, Minnelli appeared in a wheel-chair and had visible tremors as she handled the envelope revealing the night’s big winner.

Hearts around the world melted when Lady Gaga leaded over and whispered to Minnelli, “I got you”, her microphone picking up the word’s of reassurance as they cut to a per-recorded listing of the nominees.

OIP Staff, All images from Giphy

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