Academy Awards take on issues beyond #OscarsSoWhite

Leonardo DiCaprio accepts the award for best actor in a leading role for “The Revenant” at the Oscars on Sunday at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

Associated Press

Even with all the #OscarsSoWhite controversy surrounding the 88th Academy Awards for the past month or so, Sunday's ceremony was certainly interesting.

Host Chris Rock wasted no time in tackling the quarrel between the Academy with its lack of diversity and the boycotting Hollywood bigheads. He poked fun at both multiple times and in different forms during the broadcast. His opening monologue was funny yet honest and the skits were on point. Just what you'd want from a successful Oscars ceremony.

Though probably the greatest segment was when Rock visited a Compton movie theater and questioned the black filmgoers about the aforementioned controversy as well as their knowledge about the Best Picture nominees. Most of them had not even heard of films like "Bridge of Spies" and "Brooklyn." It was a simple, tongue-in-cheek break from all the awards guff.

So much happened this year. Ratings determined Sunday's show had the lowest viewership since 2008 -- the year "No Country For Old Men" beat out "There Will Be Blood." But if you're one of those people who skipped the Oscars, here's what you missed:


He finally did it. Leonardo DiCaprio won his first Academy Award: Best Actor for "The Revenant." The man can rest easy now, and -- more important -- so can the Internet. Seriously, the DiCaprio memes were getting old.


Vice President Joe Biden paid a surprise visit to the ceremony, introducing Lady Gaga before the pop star performed her Oscar-nominated song "Til It Happens to You." It was a nice presentation, but it caught me off guard.


Speaking of Gaga. The singer-songwriter had the best live performance between her, Sam Smith and The Weeknd. She's been on a roll since she sang the National Anthem at this year's Super Bowl. And let's not forget her amazing medley of "Sound of Music" songs from last year's Academy Awards. Go, go Gaga!


The Academy president brought the ceremony to a screeching halt with an almost forced apology about the lack of diversity in this year's (and by extension, last year's) nominations. It wasn't needed. Rock had it handled.


The Oscar ceremony didn't finish until after 11 p.m. Time was definitely mishandled this year. Many sketches could have been ditched and the Girl Scout cookie thing was out of place. Although the shot of "Suge Knight" surrounded by endless boxes of cookies was kind of worth it.


Rock did an incredible job when compared to last year's host Neil Patrick Harris. Rock's material was met with laughs (for the most part) and he did a good job of keeping the running #OscarsSoWhite joke from getting old. There were no awkward music numbers or weird gaps between jokes. It was like a grandiose stand-up routine.


After “The Revenant” was successful in taking home Oscars in the Best Actor, Director and Cinematography categories, some people (including myself) were predicting the epic survival film would score a Best Picture win. But in a surprise turn of events, “Spotlight” was able to take the top prize, having only won Best Original Screenplay near the beginning of the broadcast.


The technical awards were announced early in the show and "Mad Max: Fury Road" was on a winning streak. The film eventually won six awards that night, missing out on Best Director and Best Picture. Even comedian Louis CK jokingly awarded the film another honor when unveiling the winner of a documentary Oscar.


In the past, awards have been scattered. A Best Supporting Actor honor would be given out early in the show followed by sound and writing and so on. This time, the Academy organized the show by the natural process of moviemaking. Which meant the writing Oscars were awarded early on. It was smart.


Nearly every award winner had some sort of political or social issue to address in their acceptance speeches. To save time, some winners were able to thank people via scrolling text near the bottom of the screen. The best speech of the night came from Italian composer Ennio Morricone, who brought an interpreter and read from a crumpled piece of paper while holding back tears.


Weekender reporter

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