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10 electrifying moments from a somewhat anticlimactic Oscars

Lupita Nyong'o and Kumail Nanjiani at the 90th Oscars
Lupita Nyong'o and Kumail Nanjiani at the 90th Oscars

Nothing will ever compare with last year's colossal mixup, the botched Best Picture presentation that added "EnvelopeGate" to our cultural lexicon and sent Hollywood reeling. But if tonight's 90th Oscars saw no calamities—perhaps it was too predictable—it still contained plenty of cheer-worthy moments, mostly related to the seismic vibrations still emanating out of #MeToo, #TimesUp and the industry-wide ramifications of Harvey Weinstein's downfall. Here's a complete list of winners from the ceremony, and here are the ten moments we'll be talking about tomorrow:

1. "This is for my old buddy Phil Hoffman," said Three Bilboards' Sam Rockwell, the music already swelling as he finished up his speech for Best Supporting Actor. It was so fast, you could have missed it, but the shout-out was meaningful: We're still mourning the performances that might have been from Hoffman, gone way too soon.

2. "Representation matters," said Coco director Lee Unkrich after winning the award for Best Animated Feature. Cool-headed at the podium (he's been there before with Toy Story 3), he thanked the people of Mexico and their "endlessly beautiful culture and traditions." Pointedly, his message included no references to a "big, beautiful wall" or who would pay for it.

3. Kumail Nanjiani, star of The Big Sick, landed two huge political moments, the first with co-presenter Lupita Nyong'o when he declared, "To all the Dreamers out there, we stand with you." Later, Nanjiani crushed it in a montage celebrating diversity, promising white viewers that it wouldn't be so difficult to cross-identify with his films: "It’s not that hard—I’ve done it all my life."

4. "I did it all by myself!" said Allison Janney at the podium, taking home Oscar gold for her supporting turn in I, Tonya and poking a self-deprecating jab at the mom-manager-monster she portrayed. Janney's victory was long predicted; she was the front-runner for many months (as were the eventual victors of all four acting categories).

5. Maya Rudolph, never one to be outsassed, assured telecast audiences, "Don’t worry—there are so many more white people to come." Rudolph's offscreen partner, the filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson, could go home beaming about his film's win for Best Costume Design (and clothier Mark Bridges's win of a Jimmy Kimmel-promised jet ski for the shortest speech).

6. Matt Damon dependably came in for teasing by his longtime nemesis Kimmel, who apologized to the crowd after a montage of war-related movies that included the star of Saving Private Ryan. "You deserve better than that," Kimmel said solemnly. Is this long-running feud funnier than anything in Downsizing? Assuredly.

7. Genius cinematographer Roger Deakins (Skyfall, Fargo, Sicario) finally triumphed on his 14th nomination in the category, for Blade Runner 2049. You could hear the audience's sigh of relief; it's rare when a talent as gifted as Deakins has had to be graceful in loss for so long. Onstage, he celebrated the team he's worked with for 30 years.

8. Emma Stone, last year's Best Actress winner for La La Land, presented the category of Best Director. Flashing her radiant smile, she introduced the nominees as "these four men and Greta Gerwig," triggering a wave of applause for the director of Lady Bird. Although Gerwig would go home empty-handed, her presence was gratifying.

9. "If I may be so honored," said Best Actress winner Frances McDormand, placing the Oscar at her feet with a little pat, "as to have all the female nominees nominated in every category stand with me in this room tonight." It was a stirring moment of solidarity, with McDormand thrilled and laughing in her moment of triumph.

10. Jordan Peele's Get Out became the first horror film to win for Original Screenplay—a huge moment for the genre. And when Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water went all the way to win Best Picture, the director italicized the point, encouraging those who are "using genre and fantasy to tell stories about things that are real" to keep at it. "This is the door. Kick it open and come in."


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