The opening monologue of host Chris Rock. Leonardo DiCaprio finally winning the Best Actor award. Spotlight winning the best picture honors. Plus cringe-worthy moments—these all made the Internet abuzz around the world (and the new Leo memes up now) on Monday night February 28 (Monday morning, February 29, Manila time).
In case you missed it, here are the inspiring moments from the awards night:
1. For equal opportunity
The 88th Academy Awards called more attention to itself this year for having no black nominees. (Its voting members are mostly white and with an average age of 60s.) Rock, in his opening monologue, said he thought long and hard to skip the hosting gig.
“But, I realized, they’re gonna have the Oscars anyway. They’re not gonna cancel the Oscars because I quit. And the last thing I need is to lose another job to Kevin Hart (American actor and comedian), OK?”
Rock also said, “Now the thing is, why are we protesting? The big question: Why this Oscars? Why this Oscars, you know? It’s the 88th Academy Awards. It’s the 88th Academy Awards, which means this whole no black nominees thing has happened at least 71 other times. OK?....Why? Because we had real things to protest at the time, you know?”
And Rock nailed it by saying:
“…It’s not about boycotting anything. It’s just, we want opportunity. We want black actors to get the same opportunities as white actors.”
Hart, when his turn came up as a presenter, said that positivity beats negativity and that hard work will help Hollywood overcome its hurdles.
He added that he wanted to take a moment to applaud all of the actors and actresses of color tonight and that night should not determine the hard work and effort they put into their craft. Hart concluded:
“These problems of today eventually become problems of the old. Let's not let this issue of diversity beat us."
The Revenant’s best director winner Alejandro Iñárritu (accepting his fourth Oscar) quoted a line from his own film: “They don’t listen to you. They see the color of our skin.” He added:
“So what a great opportunity to our generation, to really liberate [ourselves] from all prejudice and this tribal thinking and make sure for once and forever that the color of skin becomes as irrelevant as the length of our hair.”
2. Believing in one’s self
Best Supporting Actress winner for The Danish Girl Alicia Vikander said in her acceptance speech:
“Thank you for giving me the belief that anything can happen, even though I would never have believed this.”
She also thanked co-star Eddie Redmayne for “being the best acting partner. You raised my game.” Speaking from the sidelines of the awards night, Vikander, a first-time Oscar nominee and winner said she hopes her film opens the door for more movies that represent the LBGT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community. The Danish Girl is loosely about the Danish painters Lili Elbe (Redmayne) and Gerda Wegener (Vikander). Elbe is one of the first known recipients of sex change surgery.
Brie Larson, who won best actress as a kidnapped single mother in Room said, "Who I was by the time the movie was over was so far from where I started. It was a long process in trying to find myself.”
"Now I feel strong, to be holding this gold guy is an incredible metaphor for how I feel inside."
3. Expressing gratitude
Mark Rylance’s win as best supporting actor playing a Soviet spy for Bridge of Spies was an upset to favorite Sylvester Stallone (who played an aging boxer turned mentor Rocky Balboa in Creed). The famed stage actor approached his director Steven Spielberg before accepting his statuette, and thanked him further on stage.
“For me, to have a chance to work with one of the greatest storytellers of all time—Steven Spielberg— that’s such a great honor,” he said.
He also thanked co-star Tom Hanks and quipped, “If you ever wondered, acting with Tom Hanks, would it help, it certainly does.”
4. Make, dream, change the world
As expected, Disney Pixar’s Inside Out (about the struggles of an 11-year-old girl, and how five personified emotions try to lead her), won the best animated feature film.
Its director, Pete Docter, said: “Anyone out there who’s in junior high, high school, working it out, suffering. There are days you’re gonna feel sad, angry, and scared, that’s nothing you can choose.”
“But you can make stuff. Make films. Draw. Write. It will make a world of difference.”
His “thank you” on-screen marquee also revealed a hidden, surprising message for his family: “OK, yes, let’s get a dog.”
5. Dealing with sensitive issues
DiCaprio finally snagged that statuette after five Oscar acting award snubs. He won for his portrayal of frontiersman Hugh Glass who survived harsh winter conditions, from being mauled by a bear, suffering from his dead wife’s visions, and being left to die.
A staunch environmentalist, DiCaprio savored his victory by calling attention to climate change.
"Climate change is real. It is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species. We need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating."
As election season in the US intensifies (as the same in the Philippines), the actor also asked the audience to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters or the big corporations, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people who will be affected by this (climate change).
"Let us not take this planet for granted. I do not take tonight for granted."
Spotlight, an ensemble drama about the story of Boston Globe investigative reporters who uncovered child abuse by Catholic priests in Massachussetts, opened the Oscar night for best original screenplay win, and concluded it with a best picture honor.
Producer Michael Sugar said the film gave voice to survivors of such abuse and its Oscar win amplifies such. He also hopes that it will become a choir that will resonate all the way to the Vatican.
“Pope Francis, it's time to protect the children and restore the faith."