The much-awaited 2023 Oscars ceremony has taken place! There was no slapping this year — probably for the best — but there was a lot of excitement and definitely some moments that will go down in Academy Awards history. Check them out! There was a donkey, a bear, some amazing dresses — and some very awkward moments. In fact, there was basically Everything Everywhere All at Once!
For the first time in Oscars history, the color of the carpet was changed. Instead of it being red, stars walked down a Champagne-colored one. Jimmy Kimmel unveiled it to the press on the Wednesday before the ceremony and referenced the infamous Will Smith slap when he joked, "I think the decision to go with a Champagne carpet over a red carpet shows how confident we are that no blood will be shed.”
One winner gets a singalong
It was a tremendous night for James Martin, the star of Best Live-Action Short winner An Irish Goodbye. When the cast and crew were on stage the short’s producer Tom Berkeley announced, “This award is actually the second most important thing about today, because it's this man's birthday. He's out here in Hollywood, wearing a leopard-print suit jacket. We'd love to use the rest of our time up here to sing to James.” And the whole auditorium did. It was magical.
Janelle Monae stands out
Janelle Monae never puts a foot wrong on the red carpet...or Champagne carpet in this case. At the 2023 Oscars ceremony she wore bright colors that popped out against the light ones, and it was an excellent choice. She was photobombed by her Glass Onion co-star Kate Hudson while posing for the cameras, and still looked like a goddess in the shot.
Andrea Riseborough partied away the controversy
When Andrea Riseborough was nominated for her movie To Leslie, it caused a minor scandal. Her team had skipped the usual “for your consideration” rounds and instead encouraged other celebrities to hype up Riseborough’s performance on social media. In the end the Academy ended up reviewing her nomination to make sure no rules had been broken. But despite all that, Riseborough partied with her fellow celebrities and had a good time.
Dodgy donkey dealings
The audience were delighted when Jenny the donkey, the real star of The Banshees of Inisherin, was brought on stage. Colin Farrell looked like he was in love. But — big spoiler alert — that wasn’t Jenny! It was an impostor! Jenny is currently living her best life in a donkey sanctuary and now Kimmel looks like, we’re sorry for this joke, an ass.
Michelle Yeoh is the big winner
Michelle Yeoh is indisputably the queen of this awards season. Her performance as Evelyn in Everything Everywhere All at Once won her a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild award, and finally that much-coveted Best Actress Oscar. Believe it or not, she’s the first Asian to win it. And, even more eyebrow-raisingly, only the second woman of color overall.
Angela Bassett is a queen in purple
Angela Bassett, nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Queen Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, arrived wearing regal purple. The dress was by Moschino, the necklace was by Bulgari; she looked stunning. Her stylist Jennifer Austin spoke for everyone when she wrote on Instagram, “Here comes the Queen Mother... in the color of ROYALTY!!”
Pedro Pascal had the best night ever
Pedro Pascal is the internet’s boyfriend now, so his surprise appearance at the Oscars alongside his award-nominated sister was greeted with squeals of delight across the world. He may not have been nominated for any Academy Awards himself, but arguably it was his night, seeing as how the season finale of smash-hit TV drama The Last of Us was airing at the same time as the Oscars.
Halle Berry shows everyone how it’s done
Halle Berry posted pics of her make-up process on Instagram, alongside the caption, “Living for this @charlottetilbury glam for #Oscars95.” It was make-up artist Jorge Monroy who put the look together, and he told news website The Independent, “We wanted the eyes to be the focal point with a harsh crease, but added some fun with a sparkling eyelid. The rest of the face came together seamlessly with bronze, dewy skin, berry blush, and a nude lip.”
James Hong attends his first Oscars
Veteran actor James Hong attended his first Oscars ceremony at the grand old age of 94! He told reporters, "It shows if you wait long enough, you'll make it. I’m very happy my mother fed me those bitter herbs. It carried me to 94 and 1 month — I've got to count it by month now. This movie, Everything Everywhere All at Once, gave me the chance to be here today." And he wore a bow-tie with googly eyes on it as a tribute to the movie.
Lady Gaga loses her makeup
Lady Gaga underwent a big transformation at the 2023 Oscars. First, she worked the press pack in the sort of glamor we’ve come to expect from her: a spectacular black Versace dress, shining Tiffany & Co. jewelry, and bright-red lipstick. But when she took the stage to perform “Hold My Hand” she was in jeans, T-shirt, and no make-up at all.
Four weddings and a moisturizer
There was an unexpected Four Weddings and a Funeral reunion! Hugh Grant and Andie McDowell traded jokes, and Grant took the opportunity for some humorous self-deprecation. He said, “We’re actually here to do two things. The first is to raise awareness about the vital importance of using a good moisturizer. Andie has been wearing one every day for the last 29 years, while I have never used one in my life.” He then compared his face to an unmentionable, wrinkly part of male anatomy.
Jessica Chastain sparkles
Jessica Chastain won Best Actress in 2022 and was back to party the following year. She opted for Charlotte Tilbury make-up and it was applied by make-up artist Kristofer Buckle. The bright red perfectly complimented her shimmering gown. Buckle proudly told The Independent later that Chastain’s make-up was inspired by “classic sirens of cinema’s golden era” and celebrated the actress’ ability to channel “a woman’s power of seduction.”
Stephanie Hsu gets very excited
No-one was more excited about Everything Everywhere All at Once’s success than Stephanie Hsu, who herself was nominated for Best Supporting Actress. While she ultimately lost out to co-star Jamie Lee Curtis, she kept smiling all night. One person tweeted, “If you’re not trying to give me that Stephanie Hsu energy when I get my wins then I don’t want it.”
Rihanna’s unborn baby is already a star
In May 2022 Rihanna told Vogue magazine, “When I found out I was pregnant, I thought to myself, ‘There's no way I'm going to go shopping in no maternity aisle.’ I’m sorry — it's too much fun to get dressed up.” And she stuck by that principle when carrying her second child: she wore a sheer black dress that showed off the baby bump.
Jamie Lee Curtis did not approve of the carpet
Jamie Lee Curtis made the slight fashion faux pas of wearing a Champagne dress on a Champagne-colored carpet. She lamented on Twitter, “Apparently… their carpet is going to match my drapes,” and posted an emoji of herself face-palming. The BBC described her as “the first fashion victim of the carpet,” but the Best Supporting Actress winner took it all in stride.
Ruth E. Carter breaks boundaries
Costume designer Ruth E. Carter made history at the 2023 Oscars by becoming the first black woman to win two Academy Awards. She won for Black Panther in 2019 and four years later took the prize for its sequel. She said to reporters on the night, “I studied, I scraped, I dealt with adversity in the industry that sometimes didn’t look like me. I endured.”
A bear was there
The 2023 Academy Awards were rather animal-heavy. When director-actress Elizabeth Banks got on stage to present the Best Visual Effects Oscar, she announced, “I recently directed the film Cocaine Bear. And without visual effects, this is what the bear would look like.” Yep, it was a man in a bear suit. Was it funny or cringeworthy? You be the judge.
If you were watching the Oscars carefully, you might have noticed many of the stars were wearing little blue ribbons on their outfits. They were doing so in order to show solidarity with Ukrainian refugees. All Quiet on the Western Front writer Lesley Paterson told newspaper USA Today the Friday before the Oscars, “Obviously our film is anti-war in sentiment, so we’re very closely connected with what's’ going on.”
One film wins Everything, Everywhere, All at Once
There was one film that stood above all others at the Academy Awards: Everything Everywhere All at Once. It took home a whopping seven Oscars in total, including Best Picture, Best Actress for Michelle Yeoh, Best Supporting Actor for Ke Huy Quan and Best Supporting Actress for Jamie Lee Curtis. It’s the first time for almost half a century that one film has scooped three of the main acting awards.
Cara Delevingne upstages the red carpet
No red carpet? Then wear one! That’s what Cara Delevingne did anyway, and she looked great. It was an Elie Saab dress that showed off all her best features and it even had pockets, great for storing away free Oscars goodies. It was Delevingne’s first public appearance since she’d revealed she’d been to rehab; it seemed to mark a whole new lease of life for her.
Diane Warren breaks her own record
Poor Diane Warren holds an Oscars record she’d probably rather not have. The songwriter has been nominated for a Best Original Song Academy Award 14 times — and lost 14 times. She joked on Twitter, referencing the Sunday clock change, “I lost an hour and an Oscar the same day!” But she did look absolutely fantastic walking the Champagne carpet with Sofia Carson.
An emotional reunion
Ke Huy Quan was a child star before he was an Oscar-winner, and one of his biggest roles was opposite Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. And at the Oscars ceremony it was none other than Ford who presented him with the award. The audience were in bits. One person tweeted, “Low-key crying over the full-circle moment of Harrison Ford giving an Oscar to Ke Huy Quan.”
Jamie Lee Curtis becomes a controversial winner
Jamie Lee Curtis won her first Oscar in 2023: Best Supporting Actress for Everything Everywhere All at Once. It was a great moment for her, but it sparked a bit of controversy across the internet. Many people pointed out that she didn’t have much screen time compared to her co-star Stephanie Hsu, while plenty also noticed Angela Bassett’s look of disappointment when she was snubbed for the same award.
Lady Gaga saves a photographer
Lady Gaga won herself even more fans at the 2023 Oscars. The Best Original Song nominee stopped to help a photographer who had fallen over on the Champagne carpet, which audiences thought was very sweet of her. One Twitter user wrote, “Notice how she didn’t even think about it, it was in her reflex to help him, she’s just genuinely sweet and kind.”
Jimmy Kimmel questions an unflappable Malala
None other than Malala Yousafzai attended the Oscars this year, seeing as how she was an executive producer of the documentary Stranger at the Gate. Kimmel was delighted and took the opportunity to ask her, “As the youngest Nobel Prize-winner in history, I was wondering, do you think Harry Styles spit on Chris Pine?” She calmly answered, “I only talk about peace.”
Ashley Graham takes viewers behind the scenes
Putting together the Academy Awards is a big undertaking, as Ashley Graham demonstrated with these behind-the-scenes photos. Right up until the very last minute, people are practicing their lines, performing for cardboard cut-outs, and running around in the highest of heels to make sure they don’t slip on the big day. But as we know, there can still be disasters on the night even after all that planning.
Salma Hayek and her daughter wear matching dresses
The Academy Awards sometimes function as a “bring your child to work” day for big celebrities! This year Salma Hayek took her teenage daughter Valentina Paloma Pinault with her, and both ladies wore bright-red dresses on the not-red carpet. But honestly, Hayek has aged so well you’d be forgiven for thinking she was Valentina’s sister rather than her mother.
Gaga kisses Gleeson
One of the more unexpected kisses of the night took place between Lady Gaga and Banshees of Inisherin star Brendan Gleeson. They shared a cute moment on the Champagne carpet, although Gleeson did keep his eyes open while kissing her, it seems. And if you liked that, bear in mind that the pair will be starring together in Joker: Folie à Deux soon!
Brendan Fraser completes his comeback
Everyone was rooting for Brendan Fraser after learning just how difficult life had been for him when he was a star in the ’90s. And all that faith paid off. Upon winning Best Actor for his performance in The Whale, Fraser cried openly on stage while thanking everybody and then said backstage, “I hope that I live up to this.”