The Highs and Lows of the 2018 Oscars Ceremony

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Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph. Photo: Getty Images

Warren and Faye got it right this time! For their second time around, the Best Picture presenters were given the correct envelope and thus correctly named The Shape of Water the night’s big winner — congrats to fish men, hard-boiled eggs, and the hardworking Guillermo del Toro. Throughout the 90th Academy Awards, Hollywood handed out trophies to the night’s expected winners, including Allison Janney, Gary Oldman, and an impassioned Frances McDormand. The night offered up a range of bits, from the charming (Tiffany Haddish shouting out Meryl Streep), to the exhausting (a trip to the TCL Chinese Theater where people were watching A Wrinkle in Time). Vulture has gathered the highest highs, cringiest lows, and one bizarre whoa from Sunday night’s ceremony.

HIGH Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue: The host references last year’s Moonlight mix-up, joking that he turned down the suggestion of doing comedy with the accountants, so “the accountants did comedy on their own.” Later, Kimmel summarizes Hollywood’s blind spots: “We made a movie called What Women Want and it starred Mel Gibson.”

LOW All of the red-carpet coverage. E! worked hard to avoid any mention of the sexual-assault allegations hanging over Ryan Seacrest, which meant that the interviews the network got were painfully bland (with the exception of Taraji’s delicious “the universe has a way of taking care of the good people”) and the banter between the other hosts felt more forced. Few things are more painful than spending three hours with people who don’t want to be around each other, or talk about anything.

HIGH Kimmel offered a jet ski to whomever gave the shortest speech, prompting the world to wonder which nominee loves water sports more than the loved ones they wanted to thank from the stage. Helen Mirren showed off the jet ski with all the conviction of an Elsa understudy in Disney’s Frozen musical.

HIGH The ski, as it happens, went to Phantom Thread costume designer Mark Bridges, who rode it out in a life vest like he was rocking the finest couture from the House of Woodcock.

HIGH Gael García Bernal whisper-singing “Remember Me” with enough sweet conviction to make everyone both tear up and consider trying to watch Mozart in the Jungle.

WHOA Lakeith Stanfield ran onstage shouting “GET OUT” as part of a bit about what happens if people’s speeches run long. Later on Twitter, he provided all the commentary on the experience the world needs:

HIGH Sufjan Stevens performing “Mystery of Love” backed by St. Vincent, with a simple directness that undercut a lot of the overblown ceremony and in a Gucci jacket that made us long for him to star in a tender and queer take on Music Man.

HIGH This entrance from Rita Moreno.

The audience, of course, responded appropriately:

LOW Kobe Bryant wins Best Animated Short for the infuriatingly self-congratulatory Dear Basketball, a sign the Oscars really haven’t changed that much in the Time’s Up era — especially considering Bryant’s history.

HIGH Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph as the show’s best presenter duo. Tiffany: “We know what you’re thinking, are the Oscars too black now?” Maya: “Don’t worry. There are so many white people to come.” Give them a movie. Give them their own awards show. Give them whatever they want, really.

HIGH James Ivory honoring his late collaborators Ruth Jhabvala and Ismail Merchant while winning Best Adapted Screenplay, all while wearing a shirt emblazoned with Timothée Chalamet’s face. Total class, with just enough cheekiness.

HIGH Frances McDormand has all the female nominees in the room stand up, and then announces, “We all have stories to tell and need financed.” If those meetings don’t materialize, you just know McDormand is going to hunt down those executives one by one to make it happen. Oh, and they all better look up exactly what an inclusion rider is before then.

LOW In one super long, super random montage (it included clips from Shawshank Redemption to In the Heat of the Night to The Aviator to E.T. to Black Panther…?), the Academy thanked moviegoers for … movie-going? It’s a little unclear what the thinking was behind this lengthy supercut of every movie you’ve ever seen, but it ended with a slight explanation: “The Academy wishes to thank the audience for 90 years of going to the movies.” Sure!

LOW Your annual awkward bit involving Jimmy Kimmel’s obsession with embarrassing ordinary people: This time Kimmel and a band of misfits (including Ansel Elgort, Armie Hammer, Margot Robbie, and Guillermo del Toro) walked across the street to surprise an unsuspecting movie-theater audience watching A Wrinkle in Time.

The Highs and Lows of the 2018 Oscars Ceremony