Well, they didn’t quite make it. The final credit rolled three hours and 19 minutes after the opening number at the 2019 Oscars, putting the show well over the three-hour time limit that the Academy had been declaring they wanted to hit for months. But even if it came a little closer to rolling into Monday’s episode of Live with Kelly and Ryan than producers would have liked, there were plenty of memorable moments from the show. Here are some of the standouts.
Lisa Bonet Was Not Here for Red Carpet Nonsense
OK, technically this didn’t happen during the Oscars, but we can’t just let it go. The red carpet was mostly status quo—hosts gushed over beautiful dresses like Lady Gaga’s and Brie Larson’s and impressive handiwork like the four million(!!) beads in Glenn Close’s ensemble, which weighed more than most toddlers. There was this from Billy Porter. But the record scratch of whatever happened between Lisa Bonet and Ashley Graham made the hour before the show worth watching.
Going with a straight-forward musical opening, especially one that could get a bunch of people in ball gowns and tuxedos fist pumping was a great choice. Queen rocks and Adam Lambert nailed We Are the Champions. The cutaway to Christian Bale where he looks a bit like a dad having his kids explain to him “what the rock and roll music” is, was icing on the cake.
Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler Did the Right Amount of Hosting
Much was made of the fact that this was the first host-less Oscars since 1989. But despite the controversy over Kevin Hart, the fact that there was no MC probably helped the show. The quick three-woman monologue from Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who could all be funny reading the ingredients to a bag of cheese puffs, never felt forced. It was just the right amount of stand-up comedy.
Alfonso Cuarón’s Reminder That Lots of Movies Get Made Outside of Hollywood
The whole show was full of diversity and firsts, but not all that many big statements from winners or presenters. But in his speech for best foreign language film, Cuarón, who is from Mexico, made a delightful dig at how American-centric the movie industry can be. “I grew up watching foreign language films and learning so much from them. Films like Citizen Kane, Jaws…the Godfather…” He managed to get the room laughing while reminding them that they tend to lump most of the countries in the world into a single category.
Bradley Cooper Overcame His Fear
Probably the most hyped event at the Oscars this year was the duet between Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. The pair sang the anthemic Shallow, which, to nobody’s surprise, won for Best song. The execution of a live performance seemed like less of a slam dunk though. Cooper himself said that he was “terrified” to perform at the show, and with good reason. Lady Gaga has the vocal power to shatter bulletproof glass and Bradley Cooper, while undoubtedly possessing many wonderful attributes, does not have that. But he held his own up there, playing his part in the most entertaining musical performance of the show. Cooper got a crash course from Eddie Vedder before filming and you can definitely hear some Vedder-esque growl to his Oscars performance.
Sam Jackson Got to Give Spike Lee His First Oscar
Anyone who did not bet that the longest bleep of the night would come as a result of Samuel L. Jackson presenting Spike Lee with his first non-honorary Oscar for the BlacKkKlansman script should never be allowed anywhere near a casino. And a 61-year-old Spike Lee jumping into Jackson’s arms: priceless.
Ludwig who nabbed an Oscar for his Black Panther score, has been Ryan Coogler’s music man from the beginning, scoring all three of the feature films Coogler has directed. But more importantly he was the only guy on stage who had better hair than Brian May.
Rami Malek’s Speech
No one was in a hurry to play Rami Malek off the stage while he was giving his speech and good on them. He didn’t just run through thank yous to studio executives and agents—he spoke about his own story as a first generation American in a heartfelt, moving way that is the best of what Oscar speeches can be.