clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Jamie Lee Curtis throws up her hands and basks in the Oscar glory at the 2023 Oscar acceptance speech Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Filed under:

The biggest moments from the 2023 Oscars

From Questlove’s Crocs to David Byrne’s hot-dog fingers, here are the night’s biggest (and weirdest) moments

The 2023 Oscars proceeded with the usual opening pomp and grand celebrity fashion show, as expected from Hollywood’s biggest night. The red carpet was full of wild questions, Jimmy Kimmel opened the night with expected slap jokes, then Ke Huy Quan and Jamie Lee Curtis won the audience’s heart with their moving, emotional acceptance speeches for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress. David Byrne donned a pair of hot-dog-finger gloves while performing an original song from Everything Everywhere All At Once, alongside Mitski. And Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava tore up the stage with their performance of “Naatu Naatu” from S. S. Rajamouli’s Oscar-nominated Indian action epic RRR.

If you didn’t catch the three-hour-plus broadcast — or just want to relive some of the night’s brightest and weirdest moments — we’ve rounded up the best, the funniest, the most touching, and most exhilarating moments from tonight’s Academy Awards ceremony.

Let’s get down to it!


Questlove shows off his diamond-encrusted Crocs

Close-up shot of Questlove’s diamond-encrusted Crocs Image: ABC

This year at the Oscars, plenty of attendees showed up in white or cream-accented outfits to complement the ceremony’s extravagant pale entranceway, nicknamed the “Champagne Carpet.” Not Questlove, though. The Oscar-winning director and iconic joint frontman of The Roots showed up in nothing short of diamond-encrusted Crocs, stating that he’s “just been choosing comfort for years now,” and he’s showing up to “shine his light.”

I just got one question, though: What are those?

Hugh Grant is here, and man, he is so over it

Did you know that Hugh Grant was in Rian Johnson’s Glass Onion? It’s true, he makes a brief (and I mean brief) appearance at the beginning, as Phillip, partner to detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig). He’s there for like, all of five seconds.

Anyway, Grant was asked what it was like to film the movie, and whether he had fun. His answer: Ehhh?

The Snyder bros are back, and they are being extremely normal

Remember when Zack Snyder’s Justice League (not to be confused with 2017’s Justice League) won the coveted #OscarsCheersMoment prize at last year’s Academy Awards ceremony? No? Well, the Snyder bros of the world sure do, and they’re clutching that “W” hard, like the prickly armored vice-grip of Steppenwolf. Somebody even went so far as to fly a plane trailing a banner over the Oscars red carpet, just to remind folks that it happened.

Jimmy Kimmel mocks the Nicole Kidman AMC ad

Nicole Kidman seated in her viral 2020 AMC ad Image: AMC

We come to the 95th Academy Awards ceremony for magic. We come to laugh, to cry, to care. That indescribable feeling we get when Jimmy Kimmel parachutes from the ceiling onto the stage and proceeds to riff on Nicole Kidman’s viral AMC ad, expressing gratitude that she’s free from that “abandoned theater she’s been trapped in for two years,” and snickering about how the ad urges people who are already in the theater to go to the theater. Because we need that — all of us.

Naatu Naatu dancers pulled Kimmel off stage

Getting played off by the Jaws theme song? Pssh, been there, done that. This year, Kimmel claimed, any Oscar winner who went overboard on their acceptance speech would get Naatu Naatu’d off the stage, which he promptly demonstrated.

Ke Huy Quan wins the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor

Ke Huy Quan accepted the Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance as Waymond Wang in the Daniels’ Everything Everywhere All at Once. Quan delivered a moving acceptance speech dedicated to his mother and his wife Echo, to roaring applause, recalling the story of his time in a refugee camp in Hong Kong as a child, and his arrival in America.

Jamie Lee Curtis dedicating her win to her parents — because Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh never won an Oscar

Jamie Lee Curtis accepted the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance as Deirdre Beaubeirdre in the Daniels’ Everything Everywhere All at Once — the first nomination and first win in her 46-year career. She dedicated her award to her father Tony Curtis and her mother Janet Leigh, who never won Oscars, but were nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role and Best Supporting Actress, respectively, for their performances in 1958’s The Defiant Ones and 1960’s Psycho.

The live-action-short winner sings “Happy birthday”

Tom Berkley and Ross White’s An Irish Goodbye won the award for Best Live Action Short at the 95th Academy Awards. Berkley took the opportunity to celebrate the birthday of the film’s co-star James Martin, by dedicating half his winner’s speech slot to a sing-along rendition of “Happy Birthday to You.”

David Byrne in hot-dog fingers

Stephanie Hsu and David Byrne took to the stage for a performance of “This Is A Life” from the Everything Everywhere All At Once soundtrack, with the latter donning a hot-dog-finger gloves to celebrate the occasion. That’s not all: Raccacoonie even made a surreal, glow-eyed appearance! Wow, all the stars really are out here tonight!

The donkey from Banshees of Inisherin hits the stage

Following a commercial break, Jimmy Kimmel brought out Jenny, the donkey that starred alongside Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson in Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin, describing Jenny as a “certified emotional support donkey” while encouraging her to thank Gleeson for letting her eat his finger. Awww!

[Ed. note: The donkey seen on stage is confirmed to not be Jenny the Donkey, but in fact an imposter! Booooo!]

Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava perform “Naatu Naatu,” confirmed as a “total banger”

Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava — the playback singers who performed “Naatu Naatu” in S.S. Rajamouli’s Indian action drama RRR in place of the film’s stars, N.T. Rama Rao Jr. and Ram Charan — took to the stage for a performance of the song, complete with all the exhausting-looking dance choreography from the movie itself. Naturally, this one later won the Best Song Oscar.

Cocaine Bear showed up

Elizabeth Banks and Cocaine Bear on the 2023 Oscars stage Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

There he is. Cocaine Bear.

Lady Gaga’s emotional performance of her Top Gun: Maverick song

Lady Gaga changed out of her champagne-carpet duds and into a plain black T-shirt and torn jeans for a passionate, intimate performance of her original song “Hold My Hand” from the Top Gun: Maverick soundtrack. Gaga’s performance was particularly striking for its otherwise sparse presentation and dynamic cinematography. The performance ended with a touching dedication to Top Gun director Tony Scott, who died in 2012.

Hugh Grant calls his face “basically a scrotum”

Hugh Grant certainly seem to lighten up as the night went along, joking with his speech partner Andie Macdowell about the importance of regularly applying moisturizer while presenting the award for Best Production Design. Grant went so far as to compare Macdowell as “still stunning” thanks to her regular skin routine, meanwhile comparing himself to “a scrotum.” Hey, if you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?

Malala declines to weigh in on Spitgate 2021

Midway through the show, Kimmel took to the aisles to ask “viewer-submitted questions” of some of the audience’s most distinguished guests, starting with Malala Yousafzai. The Pakistani education activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate was asked for her take on whether Harry Styles spat on Chris Pine while promoting Olivia Wilde’s 2022 psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling. Obviously taken aback by the brazen silliness of the question, Yousafzai curtly yet politely replied, “I only talk about peace.” Now that is what we should expect from a Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

The Daniels deliver a frantic top-speed double speech

Directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (aka the Daniels) accepted the award for Best Original Screenplay for Everything Everywhere All At Once by trading turns at the mic and trying to cram in as much speech as possible. Scheinert pretended he was about to call out all the mean teachers who gave him detention, then thanked the ones who changed his life instead. Kwan professed his love of storytelling amid a touching admission of imposter syndrome. The speech read as if they were afraid — like so many nominees before them — that they might be overlooked in the other categories, and wouldn’t get a chance back onstage, so they had to make the most of their moment. Little did they know.

Sarah Polley wins, Frances McDormand looms

A spectre is haunting Sarah Polley — the spectre of Francis McDormand. The director took to the stage to accept the award for Best Adapted Screenplay on behalf of her 2022 film Women Talking.

Polley delivered a moving speech about the film’s message about people’s power to disagree while still coming together to build a better future. But she wasn’t the only center of attention. A gigantic screenshot of Frances McDormand, who starred in the film, loomed over Polley’s shoulder with an expression that bore a striking resemblance to Death from Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal by way of the Engineer from Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. Beautiful speech, but seriously, WTF was that about?

RRR composer gives his winner’s speech in song

RRR composer M. M. Keeravani and lyricist Chandrabose took to the stage to accept the award for Best Original Song for “Naatu Naatu.” Keeravaani, who professed his love for The Carpenters, sung his acceptance speech to the tune of their 1972 song “Top of the World.”

The Daniels return and win Best Director

The Daniels took to the Oscars stage to receive yet another award, this time for Best Director. Scheinert took the opportunity to thank his parents for encouraging his creativity, while Kwan delivered a passionate speech on the collaborative nature of genius and the inherent greatness within every person.

Brendan Fraser mixes whale metaphors in his Best Actor speech

Brendan Fraser accepted the award for Best Actor for his starring role in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale. Through tears, Fraser thanked Aronofsky for “throwing him a creative lifeline” and praised the cast and crew of The Whale alongside the other nominees, all via a series of extended whale metaphors. Fraser’s victory was the brightest spot in a controversial film, marking the end of a very long and difficult comeback for the actor.

Michelle Yeoh wins Best Actress

Everything Everywhere All At Once continued its sweep, with Michelle Yeoh winning the award for Best Actress. (Which puts Everything Everywhere All At Once at three out of four of the acting awards — something that’s only happened two other times in Oscar history.)

Yeoh is the first Asian actor to win the Best Actress Oscar. She began her speech saying, “For all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibilities. This is proof that dreams come true. And ladies… never let anybody tell you that you are past your prime.”

Everything Everywhere All At Once wins Best Picture

After sweeping the major categories all night, it wasn’t so much a surprise that the A24 multiverse dramedy picked up the top prize of the night. Victories are rarely this sweet.

“This is for my dad,” said producer Jonathan Wang, “who like so many immigrant parents, died young. He is so proud of me… not because of this, but because we made this movie with what he taught me to do: That no person is no important than profits, and no one is more important than anyone else.”

Harrison Ford gives Ke Huy Quan a big Temple of Doom hug

The producers of the 2023 Oscars knew what they were doing when they asked Ford to present the Best Picture Oscar — Everything Everywhere All at Once was the clear favorite for the win, and putting the legend on stage meant the potential for an adorable reunion with his former Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom co-star Ke Huy Quan. And that’s exactly what happened, minutes after the EEAAO cast took the stage for the Best Picture win. I mean, c’mon, this echo of their long-ago movie is a great moment in award-show history.

Indiana Jones hugs Short Round in Temple of Doom Image: Paramount Pictures
Harrison Ford hugs Ke Huy Quan shortly after Everything Everywhere All At Once wins Best Picture at the 2023 Oscars Photo: Variety/Getty Images

Correction: A previous version of this article misattributed Stephanie Hsu as Mitski, who sang “This Is A Life” alongside David Byrne for Everything Everywhere All At Once’s soundtrack. Hsu performed with Byrne at the Oscars. We’ve edited the article to reflect this.