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The seven best moments of the 2020 Oscars

From Monáe to the mood of those reaction shots, this is your ultimate Oscars 2020 recap.

The seven best moments of the 2020 Oscars
[Photo: Troy Harvey/A.M.P.A.S.]

The 92nd Academy Awards came and went with a handful of buzzy moments actually worth reliving. From Billie Eilish’s meme-worthy side-eye to Jeff Bezos getting flamed, here are the top six moments of the Oscars:

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1) Janelle Monáe opening the show

Janelle Monáe was the opening act the Oscars didn’t deserve but desperately needed. She opened with a charming nod to Mr. Rogers and, of course, serenading Tom Hanks in the process. Then things got refreshingly black, queer, and female. Monáe not only had shoutouts to the films and actors of color that failed to get noms this year with Queen & Slim and Us background dancers, but she also shouted out the women directors who were shut out. As if her message wasn’t coming in clear enough, Monáe proclaimed, “I’m so proud to stand here as a black, queer artist telling stories. Happy Black History Month!”

[Photo: Blaine Ohigashi/A.M.P.A.S.]

2) Jeff Bezos getting roasted

Chris Rock and Steve Martin almost made a strong enough case for having an Oscar host again. Mixed in with their ribbing of the lack of inclusion among the nominees, Jeff Bezos got caught in the line of fire. “Jeff Bezos is here!” Rock said. “Great actor,” Martin responded. And you can’t have Bezos in the crowd, a buzzy movie like Marriage Story nominated, and Rock on stage without things going there. “Jeff Bezos is so rich, he got divorced, and he’s still the richest man in the world,” Rock started. “He saw Marriage Story and thought it was a comedy.”

[Photo: Blaine Ohigashi/A.M.P.A.S.]

3) Hair Love winning

In one of the most heartwarming wins of the night, Hair Love took home Best Animated Short Film, and codirector Karen Rupert Toliver dropped a true word: “We have a firm belief that representation matters deeply especially in cartoons. Because in cartoons, that’s when we first see our movies, and that’s how we shape our lives and think about how we see the world.”

Codirector Matthew A. Cherry also brought up an important piece of legislation. The CROWN Act, which stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, “ensures protection against discrimination based on hairstyles by extending statutory protection to hair texture and protective styles in the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and state Education Codes.”

“We wanted to normalize black hair,” Cherry said. “If we can help to get this passed in all 50 states, it will help stories like DeAndre Arnold’s, who’s our special guest tonight, stop to happen.” Arnold, who is a Texas high school senior, made headlines when he was barred from walking in his graduation unless he cut his dreadlocks.

4) Maya Rudolph and Kristin Wiig being . . . Maya Rudolph and Kristin Wiig

Leave it to Maya Rudolph and Kristin Wiig to make two categories that most people glaze over worth paying attention to. After feigning to be too upset to give the award for Best Production Design, the two slyly proclaimed it was all an act:

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“We just know there are a lot of directors here tonight,” Wiig said.

“We just wanted them to know we do more than comedy,” Rudolph added.

Not to be outdone by themselves, Rudolph and Wiig ripped through a medley of apparel-related songs while giving the award for Best Costume Design, including “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’,” “Vogue,” Lady in Red,” and “The Thong Song.”

5) Shady crowd reactions

The camera crew was snitching on everyone. From Billie Eilish’s meme-worthy side-eye during Rudolph and Wiig’s bit, to Eminem’s performance putting Martin Scorsese to sleep and confusing the hell out of Idina Menzel, which, honestly, both reactions were supremely warranted when you’re subjected to “Lose Yourself” . . . in 2020.

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6) Female composers representing

It’s been more than two decades since a woman took home an Oscar for Best Original Score, and composer Hildur Guðnadóttir didn’t waste a moment of her acceptance speech for her work on Joker. “To the girls, to the women, to the mothers, to the daughters who hear the music bubbling within, please speak up,” she said. “We need to hear your voices.”

Sweetening the victory was the fact that for the first time in Oscars’ history, a female maestro led the medley of nominated scores. Win-win.

7) Parasite making history

Parasite became the first non-English language film in Oscar history to win Best Picture. The film also won Best International Feature Film, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Director for Bong Joon-ho.

So-dam Park (left) and Woo-sik Choi (right) in Parasite. [Photo: courtesy of NEON CJ Entertainment]
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About the author

KC covers entertainment and pop culture for Fast Company. Previously, KC was part of the Emmy Award-winning team at "Good Morning America," where he was the social media producer.

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