From first-time wins to a haunting performance without the glitz and glamor of the show and smiles and tears, here are five can’t-miss moments from the 2023 Academy Awards.
1. First-time wins
Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan and Jamie Lee Curtis were all first-time Oscar winners this year for their roles in the big winner “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” Brendan Fraser took home his first Oscar, winning the best actor award for his role in “The Whale.”
Yeoh, 60, was the first Asian woman to win best actress and the first non-white actress to take home the Oscar in 20 years, The Associated Press reported.
“Ladies, don’t let anyone ever tell you you’re past your prime,” Yeoh said.
Yeoh’s 84-year-old mother was watching the awards show in Kuala Lumpur. Yeoh spoke directly to her mother while accepting the Oscar, Insider reported.
“I have to dedicate this to my mom, all the moms in the world, because they are really the superheroes. And without them, none of us will be here tonight,” Yeoh said, according to Insider. “I’m taking this home to her.”
Curtis, 64 — whose parents, Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, both had their own Oscars — won her first Academy Award, taking home the statue for best supporting actress in what the AP called one of the most competitive categories this year. She had faced Angela Bassett, who would have been the first actor in a Marvel movie to take home the honor if she had won.
Fraser, 54, who had several past comedic and action performances in films such as “Encino Man,” “George of the Jungle” and “The Mummy,” was largely forgotten by Hollywood in recent years. It was his casting in “The Whale” and enduring hours in the makeup chair to transform into his 600-lb. role that earned him his first Oscar, beating Austin Butler for best actor.
Quan, who was a child actor who left the industry for years before being cast in “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” took home his first Oscar for best supporting actor for the multiverse movie, the AP reported. Quan shared the challenges he faced growing up before embarking on his Hollywood career.
“My mom is 84 years old and she’s at home watching,” Quan, 51, said, according to USA Today. “Mom, I just won an Oscar! My journey started on a boat. I spent a year in a refugee camp. And somehow, I ended up here on Hollywood’s biggest stage. They say stories like these only happen in the movies. I cannot believe it’s happening to me. This — this is the American dream.”
2. Indiana Jones reunion
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” won best picture, which also brought one of the most memorable moments from the awards show. Harrison Ford, who played Indiana Jones alongside Quan as Wan “Short Round” Li in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” announced the best picture award. As soon as the cast got on the stage, Quan motioned for Ford to join him and the two embraced. Once the show was done, Quan and Ford were seen talking, Entertainment Weekly reported.
This isn’t the first time the two have come back together decades after the second Indiana Jones film. Ford and Quan also reunited at Disney’s D23 Expo last year. Quan said he wasn’t sure if Ford would know who he was, since “the last time he saw me, I was a little kid.” But Ford knew. Quan said as soon as he got close to Ford, “He looks and points at me and says, ‘Are you Short Round?’ Immediately, I was transported back to 1984, when I was a little kid, and I said, ‘Yes, Indy.’ And he said, ‘Come here,’ and gave me a big hug.”
Another A-lister had a front-row seat to see Quan take home the Oscar on Sunday night: Steven Spielberg and his wife, Kate Capshaw. Spielberg directed “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and Capshaw starred in the film alongside Quan and Ford.
Quan told reporters backstage, according to Entertainment Weekly: “I ran up to Steven Spielberg and he gave me a big hug, and he put his arms around me and he said, ‘Ke, you are now an Oscar-winning actor.’ And hearing him say that meant the world to me, and I still cannot believe it. I mean, wow.”
3. Lady Gaga’s performance
Lady Gaga walked the red carpet — which was champagne-colored for the first time since 1961 — in full makeup and a black gown, but when she took the stage to perform “Hold My Hand” from “Top Gun: Maverick,” she had a toned down, more comfortable look, sporting little to no makeup, a black T-shirt and ripped jeans, USA Today reported.
“We need a lot of love to walk through this life, and we all need a hero sometimes,” Gaga said before she belted out the song. “There’s heroes all around us, in unassuming places, but you might find that you can be your own hero even if you feel broken inside.”
She wasn’t the only music superstar who took the spotlight before and during the Oscars ceremony.
Rihanna, who is pregnant with her second child, wore a form-fitting leather and maxi skirt ensemble complete with sheer panels and long train on the red carpet, CNN reported. But when she took the stage to sing “Lift Me Up” from “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” she changed into a baby-bump-framing outfit designed by John Galliano from fashion house Maison Margiela.
4. In Memorium
John Travolta introduced the segment that honored those in front of and behind the cameras who have died over the past year.
Speaking emotionally and not mentioning his “Grease” co-star, Olivia Newton-John, by name, Travolta said, “They’ve touched our hearts. They’ve made us smile, and became dear friends who we will always remain hopelessly devoted to,” referencing Newton-John’s hit “Hopelessly Devoted to You.” Newton-John died last year at the age of 73 from breast cancer, USA Today reported.
John Travolta gets emotional as he introduces the "In Memoriam" segment at the #Oscars: "They've made us smile, and became dear friends who we will always remain hopelessly devoted to." https://t.co/ndiKiHfmID pic.twitter.com/67NZN8e11d— Variety (@Variety) March 13, 2023
While Newton-John was among those who were included in the 4-minute remembrance, there were several actors who were left out, including Leslie Jordan, Anne Heche, Paul Sorvino and Tom Sizemore, Entertainment Weekly reported.
Estelle Harris, Gilbert Gottfried, John Aniston and Lisa Marie Presley were also not included, as well as Charlbi Dean who was nominated for three awards during Sunday’s broadcast, according to Entertainment Weekly.
5. Hugh Grant red carpet interview
As some actors fawned over each other, Hugh Grant acted as if he didn’t want to be bothered by questions before the show. In an interview conducted by Ashley Graham, Grant seemed annoyed.
Graham first asked the “Bridget Jones’ Diary” star what his favorite thing about the Oscars was.
CNN said he paused, then answered, “It’s fascinating … the whole of humanity is here, it’s vanity fair.”
Then she asked if he was excited by the competition, wondering if he had anyone he wanted to win.
Grant answered, “No one in particular.”
Graham eventually asked the question that all red carpet reporters ask, who was he wearing, to which he responded, “Just my suit.”
She then tried to redirect Grant to his own performance in “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” but he responded with, “Well, I’m barely in it. I’m in it for about three seconds.”
Graham tried to pry more out of the actor, saying “Well yeah, but still you showed up and you had fun?” Grant responded with, “Almost,” before Graham ended the exchange, CNN reported.
Some called Grant rude, while others said he was being himself while answering the typical questions that are posed during these events, CNN reported.
Oscars viewers have criticized Hugh Grant for phoning it in during an interview with Ashley Graham on last night's red carpet.— Metro (@MetroUK) March 13, 2023
We'll let you judge for yourselves whether he was 👇 pic.twitter.com/O3AnyqjWpU
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