How are you doing, just hours after that whole Stacey Dash thing? We know, it was rough.
But a whole show unfolded before and after that epic miscalculation of how much the 2016 Oscars audience wanted Twitter craziness to appear in person at their big show, and the revenant, er, the rest is what we're here to examine.
If you were wondering what sort of awards show climate could exist in which the 2016 presidential race doesn't even merit a mention in Chris Rock's monologue...it was this one. The evening's host had a whole Academy to save from ignominious distinction, millions of people to represent and an audience to entertain. So it's understandable that he threw a lot of different things against the wall to see what stuck.
But here's what stuck for us:
1. No Seriously, That Was a Fail: We get what Rock was going for by introducing Dash, a vocal critic of Black History Month and BET, as the director of the Academy's new "Minority Outreach Program"; but the audience sounded—judging by the tepid applause—more confused and uncomfortable than anything else. Dash herself (and maybe Rock too) had severely underestimated either just how much A-listers don't pay attention to her Fox News commentary or how weirded out by her opinions they are, because we're hard-pressed to remember another Oscars moment that reached such peak awkwardness.
And look what they did to the The Weeknd!
2. Chris Rock Otherwise Nails It: We knew he would, however he chose to go about it, and Stacey Dash fail notwithstanding, this year's Oscars host got the wry tone just about right. And this time around, unlike the year he thoroughly insulted Sean Penn by making a joke about Jude Law, the rest of the attendees were in on it with him. There was something in the air that wasn't quite as self-congratulatory as usual: Maybe it was the absurdity of 41-year-old Leo being due for an Oscar that's "eluded him" his whole career (like he won't be nominated for 10 more); the still unfortunately topical topics taken on by Spotlight and The Big Short; the fact that it's hard to applaud a Hollywood institution that was forced to admit it needs to gets its act together, and fast... But Rock's tongue-in-cheek yet pointed approach, from the "Black History Month Minute" spoof with Angela Bassett honoring Jack Black to having African-American men and women give Oscar speeches outside a movie theater in Compton, both put the controversy in perspective and fit the bill that the Academy unwittingly offered up in 2016.
Not to mention, he sold $65,243 worth of Girl Scout Cookies!
3. Survival of the Fittest: In the end, eating that bison liver (but no one talks about the raw fish!), grappling with a bear, braving freezing temperatures, being rerouted by climate change and being the subject of one of the most ridiculous rumors ever was worth it. Leonardo DiCaprio is finally an Academy Award winner, Alejandro G. Iñárritu won his second consecutive Oscar for Achievement in Directing, cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki won his third straight Oscar in the category, and we felt every minute of their endurance test. Well done, Leo. You're a brilliant actor and we can't wait to see how you manage to top Hugh Glass in your portfolio of compelling characters.
4. Stealing the Spotlight: The Revenant led all comers with 12 nominations, but in the end it was the tense drama about investigative journalism at its finest that scored the Best Picture win. Simply, they had a story to tell and they told it right. And with Michael Keaton at the head of the pack for the second year in a row, it was Oscar night déjà vu all over again.
5. Knocked Out in the 12th Round: No offense to the masterful Mark Rylance, the British stage and screen star whose turn as a Russian bargaining chip in Bridge of Spies was one of the most virtuoso performances of the season. He certainly deserved an Oscar, technically, and he gave a delightful speech...but what a moment it would have been if sentimental favorite Sylvester Stallone had won.
5.5. Napalm in the Evening: A dishonorable mention goes to the brutal close-out music. After 30 seconds, with not everyone taking producers up on that terrible "the winner would like to thank [insert 80 names here]" ticker that ran before some acceptance speeches, the orchestra tried to play off nearly all the winners, including Iñárritu. He powered through, but almost every second or third member of a winning team got the shaft to the tune of "Ride of the Valkyries." We had no idea Coppola was producing this year.