The 88th annual Academy Awards aired Sunday, hosted by Chris Rock, who kept quiet over the last few months about what he had planned to do or say during the show.
The night began with a montage of 2015 films, but wasted no time attacking the elephant in the room.
“I counted at least 15 black people in that montage,” he said, kicking off his burning monologue.
It covered all degrees of racism and inequality, even joking that the Academy Awards is the “White People’s Choice Awards.” Rock had no shortage of controversial jokes, but he did mention that there are “real things to protest other than not having black nominees.” Rock received a roaring applause was given to the host after he explained that “we all just want opportunity.”
The first half of the night seemed to be dedicated to “Mad Max: Fury Road,” with six wins including Best Sound Editing, Best Production Design and Best Makeup and Hairstyling.
“Inside Out,” the popular 2015 Pixar film, won Best Animated Feature Film.
To keep the audience laughing, Rock came out later in the show and helped his daughter by selling Girl Scout cookies, raising $65,243 in the process.
Sam Smith and The Weeknd were among the big-name artists to perform, as both sung their award-nominated songs. Smith won Best Original Song for his contribution to “Spectre,” the latest James Bond film.
Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl also delivered an emotional performance to the Beatles’ “Blackbird,” set to a montage in honor of late actors. Vice President Joe Biden also appeared on stage and spoke about sexual abuse, explaining that it is time to take a stand against sexual assault by intervening whenever possible.
He also introduced Lady Gaga on stage to perform her nominated song, “Til It Happens to You.”
That led to victims of sexual abuse joining her on stage with hands conjoined, “Not your fault” branded on their forearms.
Alejandro González Iñárritu received the Oscar for Best Director for “The Revenant,” and Brie Larson, winner of the Academy Award for Best Actress, took home her first Oscar for her performance in “Room.”
As the end of the event approached, the big question of the night lingered: Would Leonardo DiCaprio finally take home the gold for the first time?
Well, he did just that for his performance in “The Revenant,” and he received a standing ovation as he walked on stage.
DiCaprio said he would not take the win for granted.
Perhaps more importantly, he took a majority of the time to advocate for action against climate change.
The night concluded with “Spotlight,” a movie based on the efforts of The Boston Globe to unveil the sexual exploitation of young boys in the Catholic Church, taking home the big prize for Best Picture.