Cocaine Bear, Champagne Carpet And Ke Huy Quan’s Heartfelt Speech


Sunday’s 95th Academy Awards may have lacked the shock value to rival last year’s infamous “slap heard around the world,” yet it delivered multiple comedic moments, questionable decor choices and heartfelt speeches.

Key Facts

Host Jimmy Kimmel did not hold back in his opening monologue, poking fun at Will Smith slapping Chris Rock last year and joking that if someone commits an act of violence “you will be given the Oscar for best actor and be permitted to give a 19 minute speech.”

In a nod to the Irish-film Banshees of Inisherin—which received multiple nominations—Kimmel brought out one of the film’s stars, Jenny the miniature donkey, on stage to massive applause.

Jenny wasn’t the only animal to hit the Oscars stage: “Cocaine Bear” later joined Elizabeth Banks and featured in jokes throughout the evening—even accosting Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai at one point.

Kimmel was eager to get Yousafzai’s take on whether Harry Styles did or did not spit on Chris Pine during the premiere of their film Don’t Worry, Darling, with the Nobel laureate swiftly staying out of the fray: “I only talk about peace,” she responded, winning her plaudits on social media.

The Best Supporting Actress award went to Jamie Lee Curtis who reminisced about her mother Janet Leigh and father Tony Curtis’ Oscar nominations, before looking up and saying “I just won an Oscar!”

A notable absentee at Sunday’s Oscar ceremony was the red carpet, which the Academy replaced with a champagne–hued runner that got a mixed reaction.

The carpet was the backdrop for one topsy-turvy moment, when Lady Gaga rushed to help a photographer who fell while trying to take a photo of her.


One of the most heartfelt moments of the night came from Best Supporting Actor winner, Ke Huy Quan, who gave a teary-eyed speech that alluded to his journey as a refugee, then a child actor and now an Oscar winner. “I cannot believe it’s happening to me. This is the American dream,” Quan said. “Dreams are something you have to believe in. I almost gave up on mine. To all of you out there: please keep your dreams alive.” In a full-circle moment, Harrison Ford presented the Best Picture Award for Everything Everywhere All at Once, for which Quan, who starred in 1984’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, joined his castmates on stage and hugged Ford. Quan was 12 when he debuted on screen as a child actor playing Ford’s sidekick in the film.

Key Background

Sunday‘s awards were dominated by the fantasy film Everywhere Everything All At Once which took home seven trophies—including all the major awards except Best Actor in a Leading Role. The film’s leading star Michelle Yeoh made history by becoming the first Asian woman to win Best Actress and she was handed her trophy by Halle Berry—the first Black woman and only other person of color to win the award. Brendan Fraser took home the Best Actor award for his performance in The Whale and like Yeoh he was also a first time winner. Angela Bassett—who was a Best Supporting Actress nominee for her role in Black Panther: Wakanda Foreverappeared visibly disappointed after missing out on the award prompting many of her fans to tweet out that she was “robbed.”Ruth E. Carter, who won the award for Best Costume Design for Wakanda Forever, became the first Black woman to win two Oscars. She won the same award in 2018 for her costume design on the first Black Panther film.

Further Reading

Academy Awards 2023: ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ Dominates Oscars (Forbes)

How The 2023 Oscars Addressed Will Smith’s Chris Rock Slap—One Year Later (Forbes)