Highlights from the 96th Academy Awards

A night of deserved wins, memorable performances, and historic moments

The 2024 Oscars proved to be a highly entertaining affair, marked by deserving wins and memorable moments throughout the ceremony. While Jimmy Kimmel’s hosting received mixed reviews, his prior experience as host undoubtedly enhanced his presentation. Oppenheimer emerged as a dominant force, securing seven wins out of thirteen nominations, while Poor Things also impressed with four wins out of eleven nominations. The evening commenced with Da’Vine Joy Randolph winning Best Supporting Female Actor for her stellar performance in The Holdovers, a victory that was widely anticipated, accompanied by an inspiring speech that moved many.

Olivia Haill – Argosy Illustrator


A notable change from recent years was the return to the classic award delivery format, with former winners presenting each nomination—a classy touch appreciated by many. A surprise came with Godzilla Minus One’s win for Best Visual Effects, surpassing heavyweights like Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3, despite a significantly lower budget for visual effects.

Expected wins included Poor Things for Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, and Best Makeup and Hairstyling, along with Oppenheimer for Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing. The Zone of Interest earned recognition for its outstanding sound effects, while Oppenheimer’s score by Ludwig Göransson rightfully claimed Best Original Score. Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell made history with their second Oscar win for Best Original Song for “What Was I Made For?” from Barbie, with Eilish becoming the youngest double Oscar winner at 22. The short film categories also saw deserving victories, with Wes Anderson’s The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John and Yoko earning accolades. Hayao Miyazaki added to his Oscar collection with The Boy and the Heron winning Best Animated Feature, despite stiff competition from Spiderman: Across the Spider-verse.

The Zone of Interest’s win for Best International Feature Film was well-deserved for its poignant portrayal of Auschwitz during World War II. The documentary section offered poignant moments, with The Last Repair Shop winning Best Documentary Short Film and 20 Days in Mariupol securing Best Documentary Feature Film, the latter delivering a powerful speech that resonated deeply with viewers. In the screenplay categories, Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall won Best Original Screenplay, while Cord Jefferson claimed Best Adapted Screenplay for American Fiction, ensuring that every deserving film received recognition.

Before delving into the most prestigious awards of the evening, let us discuss the standout performances. Ryan Gosling’s rendition of “I’m Just Ken” was executed flawlessly, captivating viewers, and holding their attention with excitement. Mark Ronson and the Kens from Barbie added flair to the performance, while unexpected involvement from Slash, the cameraman, Emma Stone, and Greta Gerwig elevated it further, making it one of the most memorable Oscar performances in recent memory.


Additionally, during the tribute to stuntmen in cinema, we observed Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt exchanging sarcastic banter, adding humor and charm to the proceedings. The reunion of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito, known for their collaboration in Twins, provided a nostalgic moment, with playful jabs directed at Michael Keaton, referencing their past roles in the Batman franchise. Finally, Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell delivered a powerful performance of their song “What I Was Made For,” showcasing their musical talent and leaving a lasting impression on the audience.

Robert Downey Jr. delivered an inspiring speech upon winning Best Supporting Actor for his role in Oppenheimer, crediting his wife for rescuing him and helping him rebuild his life. Cillian Murphy made history as the first Irish-born actor to win an Oscar, honored for his outstanding performance in Oppenheimer in the Best Leading Actor category. The tension was palpable as viewers awaited the announcement for Best Leading Actress, with Emma Stone ultimately claiming her second Oscar for her remarkable portrayal in Poor Things, edging out Lily Gladstone in a divisive decision.

For fans of Christopher Nolan like me, the most satisfying moment of the night was witnessing him receive his first Oscar for Best Director, presented by the great Steven Spielberg, which was immensely gratifying. Despite an odd delivery from Al Pacino during the Best Picture announcement, the triumph of Oppenheimer should not be overshadowed. Emma Thomas, Nolan’s wife, also deservedly received an Oscar for her collaboration with Nolan, solidifying their impact on the industry throughout the years. This year’s Oscars was one of the most entertaining ones with deserved films all taking home awards, however, Killers of the Flower Moon winning zero awards for ten nominations left Martin Scorcese fans dejected.

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