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Watch the 7 must-see moments from the 2020 Oscars

Maya Rudolph, left, and Kristen Wiig
Maya Rudolph, left, and Kristen Wiig proved their acting chops at Sunday’s Oscars.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The 2020 Oscars are in the can — but what if you didn’t have 3½ hours to watch the entire ceremony? Or maybe you just didn’t realize how early the show started on the West Coast? It happens.

Don’t stress: Here’s a roundup of seven must-see moments that will bring you up to speed on what happened at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Sunday.

Janelle Monáe’s killer opening number

Monáe opened the 92nd Academy Awards in style Sunday, with an assist from Billy Porter. After crooning the theme from “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” she launched into “Come Alive (The War of the Roses),” with the song’s lyrics modified to fit Hollywood circa 2020. Dancers dressed to resemble characters from a host of the past year’s movies backed her up. “I’m proud to be standing here as a black queer artist,” Monáe said right before bringing the number to a close.

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Documentary winner quotes Karl Marx

The audience got a little history lesson Sunday night from documentary feature co-winner Julia Reichert, who finished her remarks by quoting the Communist Manifesto. “We believe things will get better when workers of the world unite,” Reichert said while accepting with Steven Bognar and Jeff Reichert for “American Factory.” It was likely the first time the 1848 text by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels has been quoted at the Oscars.

Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph’s grand acting skills

Were they angry? Were they seeing red? Or were they just ... acting? Of course it was the latter when funny ladies Wiig and Rudolph took the stage to present the awards for production design and costume design. “We just know there are a lot of directors here tonight,” Wiig said. Rudolph added, “We just wanted them to know we do more than comedy.” Hmm. After that performance, we’re not sure they know.

Eminem performs Oscar-winning song 17 years late

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Eminem received a standing ovation for his surprise performance of “8 Mile”'s “Lose Yourself,” which won the Academy Award for best original song in 2003.

The performance of “Lose Yourself” was a crowd pleaser, but why on Earth was Eminem onstage at the Oscars? Because the aspirational song, from director Curtis Hanson’s sort-of-biopic “8 Mile,” won the original song Academy Award in 2003. Backstage, producers were wildly happy that they had pulled off the surprise. Waiting 17 years is one way to fool the audience.

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James Corden and Rebel Wilson mock ‘Cats’

Corden and Wilson came out on stage dressed to kill — kill the much-mocked movie “Cats,” that is. Clad as felines, the two of them said in unison, “As cast members of the motion picture ‘Cats,’ nobody more than us understands the importance of good visual effects.” Once they presented that Oscar, they spent a little while batting the mic around with their paws before going on to the next.

Joaquin Phoenix and Laura Dern honor family

Their speeches had little in common except for showing respect for family members. “You know, some say, never meet your heroes,” said Dern, who had her mother and kids in tow at the awards show. “I say if you’re really blessed, you get them as you parents. I share this with my acting heroes, my legends, Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern.” Phoenix quoted a lyric written at age 17 by his late brother River Phoenix. “He said, ‘Run to the rescue with love, and peace will follow,’” the lead actor winner said after choking up in a major way.

‘Parasite’ wins best picture — and the audience

“Parasite” and director Bong Joon Ho had moment after moment as the Oscars rolled in, but none matched what happened after the film won best picture. The Oscars telecast team turned the spotlight off before the speeches were done. As the picture shifted to Jane Fonda, a sound of disappointment welled up and then, from the front row to the back, people were lifting their arms, some were crying, and others were chanting “up, up” as they willed the lights back on. The audience won, and executive producer Miky Lee got to speak.

Read all of The Times’ Oscars coverage here.


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