ByGary Nelson Fish, writer at
A true believer of art and entertainment. From comics to film, good writing and music, I get down with the fun stuff.
Gary Nelson Fish

For having a number of controversies about diversity leading up to the big day, The 88th Annual Oscars ceremony remained relatively mild. All the essential components were there; lavishly dressed attendees, finely produced performances, and of course a few judgmental political statements. The show even brought some of the necessary offensiveness, but nothing to stir the pot to an outrage. Chris Rock did an alright job running with the concept of the Hollywood race issue, but still kept everything in good taste, and the parts that did fall flat were fairly harmless. Basically it was your standard Academy Awards night with some expected surprises and an overall meek tone with the idea that all of us are human. Here are the highlight and the low moments through the course of the event.

High - Chris Rock's Opening

Chris Rock's simple standup routine did the trick for the opening the of the 2016 Oscar show. There was maybe only one brief moment where everyone got a little uneasy as he blatantly called Hollywood "sorority racist," though he also pleasantly caught the audience off guard comparing the Oscar boycott to Rihanna's panties. Mostly, it was fun and light, but nothing from it should particularly go viral for any reason.

Low - Stacey Dash's Outreach

Stacey Dash felt completely out of place as she announced herself to be a "director of diversity outreach." Having had a few negative comments on diversity trending through the media prior to the Oscars, it seemed as if she was attempting to rectify the situation, but it completely fell flat. She still does't seem that relevant to the overall issue, so it just made the whole thing feel off.

High - The Segments

For a segment break, they cleverly inserted black actors into the nominated films to poke fun at the diversity. Tracy Morgan as The Danish Girl and Leslie Jones as the bear in The Revenant were maybe the best moments of the entire show. Also, Chris Rock's plug for his daughter's girl scout cookies turned out to be one of the funnier audience interactive bits in recent years. Mainly though, I could watch Tracy Morgan eat a danish in a dress all day.

Low - The Academy Accountants

Chris Rock tried to make a joke about the accounting in Hollywood being like asian child slave labor, but it completely fell flat. The kids didn't really seem to be in on the joke, which made it awkward, and the timing was atrocious. It was hard to tell when the joke was over and they basically just transitioned straight into a commercial break. For a lot of bits that worked great, this one fell pretty flat.

High - The Musicians

The musicians really went out of their way this year to draw attention to some difficult issues including sexual abuse and LGBT acceptance. The Vice President himself introduced a performance by Lady Gaga which was eye opening on the growing amount of sexual abuse victims, and encouraged people to speak up. The winner for Best Song, Sam Smith, also made a moving statement on the continual effort for LGBT awareness in his acceptance speech. Overall, the musicians had some of the more moving moments of the night.

Low - The Music

While the musicians showed up big with social statements and choreographed performances, the music itself was rather mediocre. The one redeeming performance was Dave Grohl doing a solo acoustic version of Black Bird during the In Memoriam portion of the show. Other than that, the songs missed the mark, even the send off music felt poorly timed.

High- The Winners

That's right ladies and gentlemen, Leo finally won the Oscar. His acceptance speech was very gracious, and he also used the time to bring awareness to climate change which is an ongoing global issue that is constantly ignored. Mad Max: Fury Road cleaned up, winning a total of 6 awards taking almost all of the technical accolades. Adam McKay was recognized for The Big Short with Best Adapted Screenplay, Alejandro González Iñárritu won Best Director for the second year in a row, Spotlight got the Best Picture, and the other winners were extremely well deserved, especially Brie Larson for Room.

Low - The Snubs

Of course, like most years, they Oscar snubs were aplenty. Starting with the Italian Stallion, Sylvester Stallone lost in the Best Supporting Actor category where he seemed to be a lock, however they say Mark Rylance is brilliant in Bridge of Spies. Jacob Tremblay was again hilarious and adorable, and is another good example of an Oscar snub since he made up half of one of the best movies last year. While Mad Max: Fury Road deserved the acclaim, they ended up blocking out a lot of other technically incredible films. It was also sad to realize that every technical part of the film won an Oscar, except for the visionary himself, George Miller. And then of course, there were seriously no black actors or directors that received notice for some of the better films of 2015. Mainly though, snubs are snubs, and they happen every year.

High - The 88th Annual Academy Awards

Overall, the show was a success. Nobody walked away that offended, except maybe Oprah who didn't even attend the event, but was hilariously mistaken for Whoopi Goldberg by the company Total Beauty. They could have tightened up some jokes, and improved the lineup of performances, but everything went off satisfactory. Who knows if Chris Rock will be invited back as host, but it was definitely fitting this year since the Academy forgot to think with an open mind. Now, when can I start trying to get Deadpool to host the 89th Annual Oscars?


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