On Sunday, amidst a sea of controversy, the 88th Academy Awards were held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The result? An awards show that wasn’t afraid to address the issues…consistently.
We used our media monitoring and analysis software to analyze five of the top Oscar moments mentioned the following day (February 29) in more than 200 of the top US print media outlets. The results are clear: host Chris Rock’s monologue was the top moment of the star-studded evening.
Five of the Top Moments
- Chris Rock Opening Monologue; mentioned in 85% of outlets
- Lady Gaga’s performance of ‘Till It Happens to You’; mentioned in 35% of outlets
- Interviews with moviegoers in Compton, California; mentioned in 23% of outlets
- US Vice President Joe Biden’s speech and intro to Lady Gaga’s song; mentioned in 20% of outlets
- Louis C.K. introduces Best Documentary Short; mentioned in 19% of outlets
The night started off strong with Chris Rock’s opening monologue, which directly addressed race and diversity issues surrounding the event since the nominee announcements. This was mentioned in 85 per cent of print media outlets and was heavily praised, including by the Chicago Tribune which called it the “loosest, sharpest opening monologue in years.”
At around 10:30 p.m. eastern time, continuing the above trend, Chris Rock was featured in a segment of himself interviewing people outside a movie theatre in Compton, California. This moment was mentioned in 23 per cent of print media outlets, while the New York Times poked fun at the relevance of the awards (no one Rock interviewed was aware of several of the films that had been nominated).
Just after 10:30, comedian and TV writer/actor Louis C.K. introduced the nominees for Best Documentary Short Film (the intro included a brief monologue on the category that this may be the only Oscar that really matters, since short films have impact but aren’t very lucrative). This was mentioned in 19 per cent of print media outlets analyzed.
Just after 11 p.m., US Vice President Joe Biden introduced Lady Gaga and her song written for a documentary film about sexual assault on US college campuses. This was mentioned in 20 per cent of print media outlets analyzed, with several publications like the Philadelphia Inquirer highlighting the powerful message behind Biden’s speech, the song, and the documentary itself.
Lady Gaga then performed while accompanied by 50 sexual assault survivors, bringing several audience members to tears. This moment was mentioned in 35 per cent of print media outlets analyzed, resonated particularly with university print publications (the majority of them, including the UC-Berkeley Daily Californian, addressed the issue of sexual assault on college campuses, the topic of the film in which the song was associated).
The majority of US print publications lauded the event, with the Los Angeles Times noting that by addressing the issues outright, the Oscars attempted to do something “other than hand out a bunch of golden statues.”