HOLLYWOOD HILLS—Well it is officially over people. Awards Season as we know it, ended on Sunday, March 10, as the 96th annual Academy Awards better known as the Oscars were held. The biggest A-listers in Hollywood and some not so A-list stars walked the red carpet as the highest accolade in the entertainment industry was handed out.

I had to be reminded that the ceremony was airing at 7 p.m. EST nearly an hour earlier than what the ceremony has done for decades starting at 8 or 8:30 p.m. EST and stretching until 12 or 12:30 a.m. in years past. The ceremony kicked off a few minutes late, as celebs were still being interviewed and arriving to the red carpet. I like the earlier time because the ceremony wrapped in just under three and a half hours. Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel returned to host the ceremony and poked fun of some of the biggest flicks of 2023 including “Barbie.”

Would Kimmel deliver the laughs? That is the question we all wanted to know, and he kept things light, joking about the earlier time, the actors and writers strike and the snub towards director Greta Gerwig, Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling. Wow, I cannot believe that Kimmel went there with Robert Downey Jr. and his past that has been quite controversial to say the least, but it landed. I will admit, the jokes were ok, but did not have me falling out of my seat. The joke involving Steven Spielberg was hilarious and I did laugh.

The first award of the night for Actress in a Supporting Role was presented by five previous winners, Mary Steenburgen, Lupita N’yongo, Jamie Lee Curtis, Regina King and Rita Moreno. I love the idea of iconic winners presenting the award to the next person who is joining the exclusive group. Which was done first in 2010 and nearly 14 years later it occurred yet again. This needs to be done moving forward people, it is great to see.

When the envelope was opened it was “The Holdovers” star Da’Vine Joy Randolph who took the win and she was quite emotional giving her speech about not being different, but just being herself. The Oscars for Animated Feature and Animated Short were given to “War is Over” and “The Boy and the Heron.” That win for Best Animated Film to “The Boy and the Heron” over “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” did indeed surprise me a bit.

Best Original and Best Adapted Screenplay Oscars were the next awards of the night and these are indeed interesting races because the scripts this year were fantastic so picking just one is not easy. For Original Screenplay, it was Justine Triet and Arthur Harari who took the prize for “Anatomy of a Fall.” I’m so happy for that flick because it is something amazing. For Best Adapted Screenplay, it was Cord Jefferson who won the Oscar for “American Fiction.” I loved Cord’s speech about taking a risk on the smaller pictures and not always the big budget movies.

Ryan Gosling performing “I’m Just Ken” at the 96th Academy Awards.
Photo courtesy of LaDale Anderson.

Billie Eilish performed her hit from “Barbie,” “What Was I Made For?” It was a very mellow and subdued, but powerful performance from Billie. “Poor Things” walked away with the Academy Award for Best Make-Up and Hairstyling, as well as Production Design.

Yeah, the pacing on the 2024 Academy Awards is moving at a very steady pace, faster than I have ever seen in recent years people and we’re talking about 20 plus categories being handed out. Take note other award shows. Really they’re doing this bit with John Cena who is expected to run across the stage nude. Cena really goes for it when it comes to committing to something as he presented the Oscar for Best Costume Design to “Poor Things.” Ok, that’s three Oscars for “Poor Things” in a matter of 10 minutes or so. Cena’s bit was a highlight of the night.

Best International Feature was a win for “The Zone of Interest.” That bit between Emily Blunt and Ryan Gosling was quite fun and these two should be doing more comedic roles. Nice to see a bit love for the stunt coordinators and stunt performers that don’t always receive the love they should receive in the cinematic universe.

Actors Key Hu Quan, Sam Rockwell, Tim Robbins, Christoph Waltz and Mahershala Ali, all presented the prize for actor in a Supporting Role. Very interesting that Waltz and Ali have both won the award for Supporting Actor two-times. How ironic is that? With all the great praise, it was no secret that Robert Downey Jr. won his first Oscar after three nominations for his role in “Oppenheimer.” I love that Downey never takes things too seriously; he is a hoot to watch.

It was a moment seeing “Twins” stars Danny DeVito and Arnold presenting the Oscar for Best Visual Effects and with Michael Keaton in the audience the bit was hilarious. “Godzilla Minus One” walked away with the trophy, I wouldn’t say it was a surprise because the competition was not all that great this year. At last, some love finally for “Oppenheimer” which won the prize for Best Film Editing. That is a strong sign for where things are headed for Best Picture. I was really impressed to see a woman win for editing because it is something that rarely happens in the Academy’s history.

Best Documentary Short and Best Documentary Feature were Oscars presented by Kate McKinnon and America Ferrera to “The Last Repair Shop” and “20 Days in Mariupol.” I have never seen so many standing ovations at the Oscars ceremony in decades. That was a very powerful speech from the filmmaker behind “Mariupol.” Yeah, the ceremony will NOT be ending in three hours, as we still have nine categories to present trophies for in addition to at least two more musical performances. “Oppenheimer” added to its win count with a win for Best Cinematography for Hoyte Van Hoytema.

Best Live Action Short was an Oscar victory for “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar,” just as Becky G took to the Oscar stage to perform “The Fire Inside” written by the Susan Lucci of the Oscars, Diane Warren. John Mulaney’s skit for Best Sound was a bit much, however, somewhat impressive considering all he knew about “Field of Dreams.” Surprise, “The Zone of Interest” won for Best Sound. I thought that might be a shoo-in for “Oppenheimer.” There is a little bit of love for everyone tonight, the one flick that has yet to see much love is “Barbie.”

Emma Stone won her second Oscar for Best Actress for her role in “Poor Things.”
Photo courtesy of LaDale Anderson.

I was truly dying to see this performance by Ryan Gosling as he sang, “I’m Just Ken.” Gosling can really sing and it was a spectacle to watch that entertained the entire crowd inside the Dolby Theatre and at home. “Wicked” stars Cynthia Enrivo and Ariana Grande presented the Oscars for Best Original Score and Original Song to Ludwig Goransoon for “Oppenheimer” and Billie Eilish and Finneas for “What Was I Made For?” Wow, Billie has two Oscars and she’s only 21. They might be for songwriting, but that is still damn impressive.

For Best Actor, we saw acting legends Brendan Fraser, Ben Kingsley, Nicholas Cage, Matthew McConaughey and Forest Whitaker. After all the dust settled, it was “Oppenheimer” star Cillian Murphy who walked away with the prize. I was indeed hoping Paul Giamatti captured that trophy because he delivered a very nuanced performance in “The Holdovers.”

Film titan Steven Spielberg presented the Oscar for Best Director to the iconic Christopher Nolan, who after being overlooked one too many times, finally captured that illustrious prize for his fantastic “Oppenheimer.” Nolan was quite gracious in his acceptance speech.

For Best Actress we witnessed Jessica Lange, Jennifer Lawrence, Sally Field, Michelle Yeoh and Charlize Theron take the stage. Wow, these are indeed some acting legends here I mean Sally, and Jessica, bravo. This one was a nail biter, but it was Emma Stone who won the Oscar in a bit of an upset over Lily Gladstone for “Killers of the Flower Moon.” Yeah, I think so many were expecting Lily to win, but Emma was super emotional as she took the stage.

Kimmel read an honest review of how someone perceived his hosting duties at the ceremony and joked that the posting might have been courtesy of Presidential Candidate Donald Trump and damn was that a stinger people.

The final prize of the night for Best Picture was presented by acting legend Al Pacino, I did not expect Pacino to take the stage and deliver the Oscar to “Oppenheimer.” The movie dominated the night earning a total of seven Oscars including Actor, Supporting Actor, Director and Best Picture. With that said, the 2024 Oscars are in the history books. The question that now remains is what can we expect for 2025? It’s early in the year, but I’m sure the buzz will start very soon. Until next year Oscar lovers!