The Best and Funniest Moments From the 2024 Oscars

The 96th Academy Awards saw some of Hollywood’s best, most beloved, most talented artists recognized for their work. Christopher Nolan, Robert Downey, Jr., and Cillian Murphy all took home their first-ever Oscars for Best Picture winner Oppenheimer. Odds-on-favorite Da’Vine Joy Randolph also won her first for The Holdovers, and Emma Stone edged out Lily Gladstone in Lead Actress to win her second career win. But even if Hollywood’s big night didn’t feature many big surprises, it did provide a whole lot of reasons for movie fans to celebrate. From funny reunions and memorable performances, to well-earned wins and union solidarity, these were the best moments of the 2024 Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars.

Three images from the 2024 Oscars: Da'Vine Joy Randolph accepting her award whole crying, Ryan Gosling in a pinck suit singing with Slash on guitar, and a naked John Cena at the mic holding an envelope to cover himself up

Recognizing Hollywood’s Behind-the-Scene Workers

Host Jimmy Kimmel’s opening monologue had some hits and some misses, but the way he ended it was a homerun. He recognized the behind-the-scenes workers who supported the actors and writers by not crossing picket lines during last year’s strikes. The host then had some of those people come out on stage where they received a standing ovation. They also got a promise they will receive the same kind of support in their own upcoming quests for fair contracts.

Messi the Dog Is the Best Boy

A wide dog with black ears wearing a black bowtie at the Oscars

If you don’t know who Messi is and why his surprise appearance was one of the best moments of the night go see Anatomy of a Fall immediately. It doesn’t feature a good boy. It features the best boy, yes it does, doesn’t it.

Hayao Miyazaki Wins Another Oscar

The Boy and the Heron - Mahito and Heron
Studio Ghibli

Anytime a true living legend wins an Oscar it’s one of the best moments of the night. But considering the great Hayao Miyazaki came out of retirement to make The Boy and the Heron the iconic filmmaker’s victory for Best Animated Film was especially sweet (even if he once again wasn’t on hand to accept).

John Cena Honors Costumes By Not Wearing One

This year marked the 50th anniversary of when a streaker hit the Oscars stage. To commemorate that infamous moment John Cena came out (essentially) naked to hand out the award for Best Costume Design. It was an easy addition to our best Academy Awards moments list because it’s an absolutely incredible bit that had the whole theater laughing. And to top it off after he left the stage cameras caught a sheepish Cena shaking hands with fellow (fully dressed) WWE star Dwyane Johnson.

Past Acting Winners Come Together to Celebrate the Nominees

The Oscars brought back an old way of handing out its acting awards by having five former winners onstage to celebrate each of the nominees. That led to a whole lot of extra star power that not only celebrated the new members of each group, it also led to a celebration of cinema’s past. Some of the best Oscars moments truly come from creatives celebrating each other.

Emily Blunt and Ryan Gosling Continue the Barbenheimer Feud

Upcoming The Fall Guy co-stars Emily Blunt and Ryan Gosling took the stage together to honor Hollywood’s stunt performers. Before they did though, the two ramped up the “Barbenheimer” feud with some trash talk. Their hilarious exchange showed why they’re two of Hollywood’s best.

(This tribute will also hopefully end up being more than just a great promotion for their film. It will hopefully serve as prelude to the Oscars introducing a long, long, long overdue stunt award.)

A Twins Reunion Renews an Old Batman Feud

If Twins stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito simply reunited to give out an award they’d have earned a spot on this list. But they truly earned a spot when the former Batman villains turned their appearance into a tirade against the Caped Crusader. That included DeVito calling out his own Batman, Michael Keaton, who was more than happy to gloat about defeating the Penguin years ago.

Godzilla Minus One Wins Best VFX

Godzilla Minus One getting rewarded was a high point for more than just genre or even Godzilla fans. It was more than a high point for people hoping to see the Academy reward a wide range of films, too. It was a high point for people who know it was one of 2023’s best films period.

Kate McKinnon Learns Jurassic Park Isn’t a Documentary

Honestly, we’re not surprised to learn Jeff Goldblum isn’t actually real. But it does make us wonder what other secrets Dr. Spielberg has been keeping from us.

Wes Anderson Wins His First Oscar

Benedict Cumberbatch holding a book

The eighth time was the charm for Wes Anderson, who finally took home an Oscar for his short film “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar.” The only downside was that Anderson wasn’t present to accept his award, but hopefully he will be there when he gets his second someday.

John Mulaney’s Field of Dreams Rant

John Mulaney came out to present Best Sound and somehow ended up going on a fantastic rant about the rules of Ghost Baseball in Field of Dreams. It, well, ruled. That is unless you’re a ghost who gave up his ghost baseball dream to save a choking child. Weird rule, but at least it led to a great bit.

Two (TWO!!) Madame Web Jokes

Mulaney’s mini routine also marked the second time someone made a Madame Web joke. Kimmel also joked about the already notorious superhero movie during his opening monologue. Anyone who bet Madame Web would get referenced even once at the Oscars is now very rich. Anyone who bet it would get referenced twice now owns an entire continent.

I’m Just Ken” (with SLASH!)

“I’m Just Ken” lost Best Original Song to fellow Barbie nominee “What Was I Made For?,” but it won the night. Gosling and his fellow Kens, including his actual co-stars, brought down the house with a grand performance. It was full of Kenough Kenergy to power all of Hollywood. And that was before Slash showed up for a surprise guitar solo. As far as we’re concerned that now canonically makes him a Ken, too. This will certainly go down in history as one of the best Academy Awards moments ever.

A Star Wars Alum Wins Another Oscar

The Mandalorian composer Ludwig Göransson won his second career Oscar. His first was for Black Panther, and this time he took home an Academy Award for Oppenheimer. We always love seeing a Star Wars alum taking home a gold statue.

Oppenheimer Joins Hollywood’s Most Prestigious Club

It might have been what most people expected, but that didn’t make Oppenheimer‘s win for Best Picture any less special. The movie is a masterpiece , and it has now officially taken its rightful place in the annals of movie history.

That’s a truly great moment.

Mikey Walsh is a staff writer at Nerdist. You can follow him on  Twitter and  Bluesky at @burgermike. And also anywhere someone is ranking the Targaryen kings.

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