The 91st Academy Awards went hostless, but people still managed to crack some jokes. The presenters had to step up their game, and the comedians among them delivered. Here are the highlights.
Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler opened the show proper after Queen's performance (a joke in its own way) and reminded everyone at home that they're not the hosts, just presenters. But then they fired off some rapid-fire jokes they would have told if they were the hosts, like "Buster Scruggs? I hardly know her!"; "Roma's on Netflix — what's next, my microwave makes a movie?"; "Everyone look under your seats, you're getting those cheese sandwiches from the Fyre Festival!" Next year they legitimately should host. Pay them a million dollars each if you have to, Academy! We know you have the money!
Melissa McCarthy and Brian Tyree Henry did an amazing visual gag while presenting Best Costume Design. They came out in elaborate, ridiculous gowns that looked like what Lewis Carroll would have come up with had he eaten the brown acid. Henry talked mock-self-seriously about "The rakish tilt of a hat, a piece of fabric draped just so" while Melissa McCarthy twitched her bunny puppet. Did I mention that Melissa McCarthy's dress was festooned with about 50 bunny stuffed animals? Because it was. It was hilarious. She tried to open the envelope with a bunny puppet. BTH and McCarthy kinda seem like an odd couple at first glance, but no one commits harder to a bit than those two.
Keegan-Michael Key dropping from the rafters like Mary Poppins made me laugh. This will be a good gif for when you butt into a conversation with an unpopular opinion.
While introducing Black Panther's Best Picture clip, Trevor Noah had an excellent joke that white people (and anyone who doesn't speak Xhosa) didn't get until the next day when it was explained. "Growing up as a young boy in Wakanda, I would see T'Challa flying over our village, and he would remind me of a great Xhosa phrase," Noah said. "He says 'Abelungu abazi uba ndiyaxoka' — which means, 'In times like these, we are stronger when we fight together than when we try to fight apart.'" It actually means "white people don't know I'm lying."
Awkafina and John Mulaney joking about how weird it was to be at their first Oscars was completely charming. "I want these people to like me to a degree I find embarrassing," Mulaney said. They talked about who they were most surprised to see. "Jordan Peele," Mulaney said. "Don't you know him?"Awkwafina asked. "That's why it was weird," Mulaney said. But none of that was as funny as Spike Lee's face when Awkwafina said she was starstruck when she saw him.
Barbra Streisand shouting out her and Spike Lee's shared love of hats was great. Spike really owned the whole show. Samuel L. Jackson gave him a report on the Knicks and the director wrapped his legs around the actor when when Jackson presented him with the first(!) Oscar of his illustrious career for BlacKkKlansman's screenplay. He gave an incredible acceptance speech that made Jordan Peele weep and got Kanye mad when Green Book won Best Picture. He just generally killed it all night.
And Olivia Colman, genuinely surprised to win for The Favourite over Glenn Close, gave a wonderfully thrilled speech that was off-the-cuff hilarious. Imagine being that witty when you're that overwhelmed. She just ended her speech by looking at Lady Gaga and saying "Lady Gaga."
(Updated to include Trevor Noah's joke, which I didn't get because I'm white.)
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