Gold Standard: The Oscars’ most memorable moments

Frances McDormand at the Academy Awards.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The Academy Awards are over and, for the first time in its 90-year history, a science-fiction movie has won the best picture Oscar.

Welcome to the Gold Standard, the newsletter from the Los Angeles Times that helps guide you through the ins and outs of the awards season. I’m Glenn Whipp, The Times’ awards columnist and your newsletter host.

This year’s ceremony had more field trips than surprises, but that doesn’t mean there still weren’t a handful of memorable moments: Best actress winner Frances McDormand asking all the female nominees in the theater to stand up and then ending her impassioned speech by saying: “I have two words for you: inclusion rider.” (Meaning, she wants women to achieve gender equity on sets by including clauses in their contracts.) Presenters Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph making a case for hosting next year’s Oscars. And Lakeith Stanfield shouting “get out!” reprising one of the great moments from Jordan Peele’s movie.

Peele won the Oscar for original screenplay, becoming the first black winner of that category. Times film writer Tre’vell Anderson reports on Peele’s jubilant mood backstage.


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Jordan Peele and Nicole Kidman backstage at the 90th Academy Awards.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times )

My colleague Josh Rottenberg ran down the evening’s winners and losers, while I looked at the reasons why “The Shape of Water” prevailed in the best picture category.

Film critic Justin Chang broke down the show, minute by minute, while Kenneth Turan asked a not-so-academic question: “What if they awarded the Oscars and not one of the winners was a real surprise, not a single solitary one?”

Plus: Here’s the full list of winners and nominees.


Times columnist Robin Abcarian was among this year’s contingent attending the awards ceremony, which she felt was too subdued given the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. “This was Hollywood at its sanitized best,” she writes. “After months of horrifying revelations about widespread sexual harassment and assault in the industry, the 90th Academy Awards presented a toothless, feel-good nod to the scandal.”


After a year that put a spotlight on sexism and sexual misconduct in the industry, the tenor on the red carpet often had a different tone.

Oscars presenter Ashley Judd brought Mira Sorvino to the ceremony, and the two women had much to say. “I want people to know that this movement isn’t stopping,” Sorvino said. “We’re going forward until we have an equitable and safe world for women.”

Ashley Judd, left, and Mira Sorvino on the Oscars red carpet.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times )

Meanwhile, Taraji P. Henson had an interesting exchange with Ryan Seacrest, who has denied accusations of sexual harassment made by his former stylist. “You know what, the universe has a way of taking care of the good people,” she said to him directly, flicking a finger under his chin. “You know what I mean?”

As for the usual fashion watch: This year’s awards season started out with the Golden Globes’ all-black dress code in support of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. But on Sunday it was a sea of white, with swaths of bright colors. See who made our best- and worst-dressed list and check out all the arrival photos.


So how did host Jimmy Kimmel fare during what could have been a very awkward night? His opening monologue (watch it here) had its share of zingers. As TV critic Robert Lloyd put it, “Kimmel, for his part, seems made for this job — a mainstream performer who is sensitive to the winds of change, he is equally adept calling out injustice and calling for a party.”

Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel, left, Oscar-winning director Guillermo Del Toro and producer J. Miles Dale of the film "The Shape of Water."
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times )


-- The Times’ Amy Kaufman captured the scene backstage with Faye Dunaway, Warren Beatty and this year’s PwC accountant before the Oscar’s best picture announcement.

-- In the winners’ room, Del Toro fielded questions about diversity and the significance of Mexican storytellers and stories.

-- Eva Marie Saint, who presented the award for costume design, remembers the man who cheered her own win 63 years ago.

-- Watch “Get Out’s” alternate ending, one of the great scenes cut from this year’s nominees.

-- If you didn’t have this pun-tastic menu for your viewing party, you really missed out.

-- Why the red carpet isn’t exactly red. Really.


I’d love to hear from you. Email me at and follow me @glennwhipp on Twitter.

Times staff writer Scott Sandell contributed to this newsletter.