7 standout moments at the 88th Oscars

Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet posing on the red carpet.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet posing on the red carpet. PHOTO: REUTERS

The 88th annual Academy Awards promised much, and it certainly delivered as Hollywood's finest graced the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California.

From host Chris Rock tackling the #OscarsSoWhite controversy over the lack of black nominees to actor Leonardo DiCaprio reuniting with Titanic co-star Kate Winslet, the drama was not just confined to the Oscars stage.

Here are seven standout moments.

1. Host Chris Rock's opening monologue


Host Chris Rock entertaining the audience on stage. PHOTO: AFP

The advice for Rock prior to the show was to "address the elephant in the room", and boy, did the comedian nail it.

In what has already been described as one of the best opening speeches at the Oscars, Rock - who last hosted the glitzy ceremony in 2005 - was funny, frank and edgy all at the same time as he aimed perfectly-timed jabs straight into the eye of the #OscarsSoWhite storm.

Best quote from the 51-year-old? "I'm here at the Academy Awards, otherwise known as the White People's Choice Awards.

"You realise if they nominated hosts, I wouldn't even get this job. So y'all would be watching Neil Patrick Harris right now."

2. Joe Biden, Lady Gaga form hit duo


US Vice President Joe Biden's speech was followed by a performance from Lady Gaga. PHOTOS: AFP/REUTERS

The unlikely double act of US Vice-President Joe Biden and Lady Gaga provided what was perhaps the most socially powerful moment of the Oscars.

Biden had first appeared on stage to a standing ovation as he implored viewers to take a stand against sexual assault on campuses.

Dozens of rape survivors who then joined Lady Gaga - also a past victim of sexual abuse - in an emotionally-charged piano performance of her Oscar-nominated song Til It Happens To You.

3. Titanic reunion for Leo and Kate


Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet approaching each other on the red carpet. PHOTO: REUTERS

Nineteen years after they sent cinema audiences swooning as ill-fated lovers in the film Titanic, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet recreated the same magic on the red carpet.

Pictures of the duo reuniting and sharing a few words were splashed all over social media, whipping the Internet into a collective frenzy.

4. Mad Max dominates


Charlize Theron (right) starring as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road. PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES

Post apocalyptic film Mad Max: Fury Road's electrifying chase sequences, starring Charlize Theron, was the big winner, scooping up six Oscars in the technical categories: Costume Design, Production Design, Makeup and Hairstyling, Editing, Sound Editing, as well as Sound Mixing.

The Revenant came in second with three - Best Director, Best Actor and Best Cinematography.

5. Sixth time's the charm for Leo


Leonardo DiCaprio accepting his Best Actor Oscar on stage. PHOTO: AFP

Having fallen short on his previous five Oscar nominations - four for acting and one for producing - DiCaprio finally got his overdue reward for his role as a 19th century fur trapper in Alejandro Inarritu's The Revenant.

 

The night's loudest cheers were reserved for DiCaprio, 41, who spent an eternity on stage after receiving his Best Actor prize, thanking his loved ones and speaking on his pet cause - climate change.

But nobody was to begrudge him for the lengthy speech, not in the least a teary-eyed Winslet, who was reportedly overjoyed at her colleague's win.

6. Best action buddies


Sylvester Stallone and his wife Jennifer Flavin on the red carpet. PHOTO: REUTERS

He was widely tipped to win his first Oscar at the age of 69, but Sylvester Stallone ultimately fell short when he lost out to Mark Rylance for Best Supporting Actor.

The outpouring of sympathy on social media for Stallone, a sentimental favourite after returning to play Rocky Balboa in the boxing film Creed, was considerable.

But the best consolation came from fellow veteran action star Arnold Schwarzenegger, who swiftly tweeted his support: "To me, you are the best. You are the winner."

7. Plunging necklines and camera-ready pouts


Best Actress winners Alicia Vikander and Brie Larson enmbracing after the Oscars ceremony. PHOTO: REUTERS

 

As usual, the ladies were at their bedazzling best as they seized the spotlight on the world's most watched stretch of red carpet.

Actresses clad in luxurious gowns, glittering sequins, and daring necklines strutted and twirled their way into the ceremony; standouts included Alicia Vikander in a pale yellow Louis Vuitton gown adorned with silver paillettes and Brie Larson in a royal blue silk Gucci with cascading ruffles - fitting attire as they ascended the stage to claim their respective Best Actress awards.

Repeat telecasts of the 88th Annual Academy Awards will air on HBO (StarHub TV Channel 601) on March 2 (9pm), March 4 (10.30pm) and March 6 (4pm).