• The 96th Academy Awards illuminated the profound journeys of its winners, revealing not only their artistic prowess but also the singular, strict rule all Oscar recipients must adhere to post-victory.
  • Amidst heartfelt speeches and unexpected moments, the winners’ personal triumphs and professional accolades shone brightly, revealing the depth of talent and emotion that defines the film industry.
  • From Da’Vine Joy Randolph’s tear-filled acceptance to Robert Downey Jr.’s witty gratitude, the ceremony highlighted the delicate balance between celebrating individuality and honoring the traditions and regulations that safeguard the Oscars’ integrity.

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​​Since their inception in 1929, the Oscars have risen to global prominence, becoming one of the most esteemed accolades attainable. The prestige of the Oscars is not just acknowledged within the motion picture industry; it’s recognized worldwide as a symbol of supreme artistic and technical achievement.

This distinction is preserved through stringent adherence to a set of rules and regulations established by the Academy, ensuring the integrity of the Oscar symbol remains untarnished.

Robert Downey Jr., Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Emma Stone, and Cillian Murphy onstage in the press room at the 96th Annual Academy Awards on March 10, 2024, in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

Robert Downey Jr., Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Emma Stone, and Cillian Murphy onstage in the press room at the 96th Annual Academy Awards on March 10, 2024, in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

The 96th Academy Awards, held at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood on Sunday, March 10, 2024, celebrated the movies released in 2023. “Oppenheimer” stood out as the night’s most significant success, securing seven Oscars, including some of the most coveted awards such as Best Picture and Best Director, awarded to Christopher Nolan.

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Cillian Murphy received the Best Actor award for his compelling portrayal in “Oppenheimer,” demonstrating his profound ability to capture complex characters. Emma Stone was awarded Best Actress for her role in “Poor Things,” showcasing her versatile talent and commitment to her craft.

Cillian Murphy and Mstyslav Chernov at the 96th Annual Academy Awards Governor's Ball in Hollywood, California, on March 10, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

Cillian Murphy and Mstyslav Chernov at the 96th Annual Academy Awards Governor’s Ball in Hollywood, California, on March 10, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

In the supporting categories, Robert Downey Jr. and Da’Vine Joy Randolph were honored with the Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress awards for their roles in “Oppenheimer” and “The Holdovers,” respectively, each delivering performances that contributed significantly to their films’ overall impact and success.

Let’s take a look at the most prominent moments from the star-studded award night:

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Da’Vine Joy Randolph’s Unforgettable Oscar Speech

At the 96th Academy Awards, Da’Vine Joy Randolph’s journey from a hopeful singer to an acclaimed Oscar-winning actress culminated in a moment of pure emotion and triumph. The announcement of her win for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in “The Holdovers” was met with tears and a standing ovation.

US actress Da'Vine Joy Randolph onstage during the 96th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, on March 10, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

US actress Da’Vine Joy Randolph onstage during the 96th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, on March 10, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

Randolph, who portrayed the grief-stricken cafeteria manager, Mary, delivered a performance that resonated deeply, earning her the Oscar alongside sweeping victories at the BAFTA, Critics Choice, Independent Spirit, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild awards this season.

Standing on the prestigious Oscar stage, Randolph began her acceptance speech with a profound statement of gratitude and reflection on her unexpected path to acting. “God is so good,” she exclaimed, recalling the pivotal moment her mother directed her towards the theater department, marking the start of her remarkable journey in the arts.

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Da'Vine Joy Randolph breaks down onstage during Oscars 2024, as seen in a video posted on March 11, 2024 | Source: YouTube/NBCNews

Da’Vine Joy Randolph breaks down onstage during Oscars 2024, as seen in a video posted on March 11, 2024 | Source: YouTube/NBCNews

“I didn’t think I was supposed to be doing this as a career. I started off as a singer and my mother said to me, ‘Go across that street to that theater department, there’s something for you there,'” added Randolph.

Her speech was a heartfelt acknowledgment of the support and guidance she received throughout her career. “I thank you to all the people who have stepped in my path and have been there for me [sic],” Randolph said, expressing her gratitude towards her mentors, colleagues, and the audience that embraced her talent.

Da'Vine Joy Randolph during the 96th Annual Academy Awards on March 10, 2024, in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

Da’Vine Joy Randolph during the 96th Annual Academy Awards on March 10, 2024, in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

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Among those she thanked was Ron Van Lieu, who played a crucial role in her development as an actress, especially during the times she felt isolated and unsure of her place in the industry.

“When I was the only Black girl in that class, when you saw me and told me I was enough. When I told you, ‘I don’t see myself,’ and you said, ‘That’s fine, we’re going to forge our own path,'” she reminisced, highlighting the importance of representation and belief in oneself.

Furthermore, Randolph thanked her PR manager, underscoring the significance of the team behind her that contributed to her success and visibility throughout the awards season and her career.

Cillian Murphy’s Poignant Oscar Acceptance

Following Randolph’s heartfelt acceptance speech, the Oscar night continued to unfold moments of deep emotion and gratitude. Cillian Murphy left an indelible mark on the audience and viewers worldwide with his acceptance speech for Best Actor.

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Before he could take the stage to accept his award for his role in “Oppenheimer,” Murphy shared an intimate moment with his wife, Yvonne McGuinness, sealing his departure from his seat with a sweet kiss.

Winning the Best Actress award for her role in “Poor Things,” Stone faced a minor hiccup that became one of the evening’s most talked-about moments.

Cillian Murphy onstage in the press room at the 96th Annual Academy Awards on March 10, 2024, in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

Cillian Murphy onstage in the press room at the 96th Annual Academy Awards on March 10, 2024, in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

This gesture, coupled with a warm hug from his co-star Emily Blunt, perfectly captured the blend of personal and professional joy and gratitude that defined the night for him.

In his portrayal of Robert Oppenheimer, the theoretical physicist behind the atomic bomb, Murphy not only captivated audiences with his depth and intensity but also made history as the first Irish-born person to win the Best Actor Oscar.

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Cillian Murphy onstage at the 96th Annual Academy Awards on March 10, 2024, in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

Cillian Murphy onstage at the 96th Annual Academy Awards on March 10, 2024, in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

Upon reaching the stage, Murphy began his speech with a humbleness that has become characteristic of his public persona. “I’m a little overwhelmed,” he admitted, expressing sincere thanks to The Academy, Christopher Nolan, and his wife Emma Thomas for their unwavering support and the creative journey they have shared over two decades.

The first-time Oscar winner made it a point to recognize the collective effort that contributed to the film’s success and his performance, stating, “Every single crew member, every single cast member on ‘Oppenheimer,’ you guys carried me through.”

Cillian Murphy kissing his wife, Yvonne McGuinness, during the 96th Annual Academy Awards on March 10, 2024, in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

Cillian Murphy kissing his wife, Yvonne McGuinness, during the 96th Annual Academy Awards on March 10, 2024, in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

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The “Peaky Blinders” actor’s speech also shone a light on his roots and pride in his heritage, as he acknowledged his Irish identity on the global stage of the Oscars. “I’m a very proud Irish man standing here tonight,” Murphy remarked, a statement that resonated with both his compatriots and the international community.

He dedicated the award to “the peacemakers everywhere” and concluded his speech on a note of universal gratitude, with a nod to his heritage through the Irish phrase “Go raibh mile maith agat,” meaning “thanks a million.”

Emma Stone’s Graceful Triumph Amidst Wardrobe Malfunction

In a night filled with emotive speeches and memorable victories, Emma Stone’s moment of triumph at the 96th Academy Awards took an unexpected turn, adding a touch of human vulnerability to the glittering ceremony.

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Emma Stone onstage in the press room at the 96th Annual Academy Awards on March 10, 2024, in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

Emma Stone onstage in the press room at the 96th Annual Academy Awards on March 10, 2024, in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

Winning the Best Actress award for her role in “Poor Things,” Stone faced a minor hiccup that became one of the evening’s most talked-about moments.

Emma Stone and Dave McCary at the 96th Annual Oscars Governors Ball on March 10, 2024, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

Emma Stone and Dave McCary at the 96th Annual Oscars Governors Ball on March 10, 2024, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

As she made her way to the stage, her strapless Louis Vuitton gown gave way, leading to a wardrobe malfunction that could have flustered many. Yet, Stone handled the situation with the grace and humor that have endeared her to fans worldwide.

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US actress Emma Stone onstage during the 96th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, on March 10, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

US actress Emma Stone onstage during the 96th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, on March 10, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

Addressing the audience, she quipped, “Oh boy. My dress is broken. I think it happened during ‘I’m Just Ken.’ I’m pretty sure,” attributing the mishap to the dynamic performance by Ryan Gosling earlier in the show.

US actress Emma Stone onstage during the 96th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, on March 10, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

US actress Emma Stone onstage during the 96th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, on March 10, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

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Despite the wardrobe mishap, Stone’s elegance was undiminished, thanks in part to her stunning 30-carat yellow diamond choker, which remained impeccably in place throughout the ordeal.

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While concluding her emotional acceptance speech, Stone humorously cautioned the audience once more, “Don’t look at the back of my dress, thank you,” as she carefully made her exit.

Robert Downey Jr.’s Oscar Night: Humor, Gratitude, and Acknowledgment

Amidst a night filled with heartfelt revelations and graceful recoveries, Robert Downey Jr.’s acceptance speech for his Best Supporting Actor win provided a touch of humor that only he could deliver.

Robert Downey Jr. during the live telecast of the 96th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, on March 10, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

Robert Downey Jr. during the live telecast of the 96th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, on March 10, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

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From the moment he began his speech, Downey Jr. showcased the unique blend of humor and sincerity that has defined his career. “I’d like to thank my terrible childhood and the Academy, in that order,” he quipped, setting the tone for what was to be a memorable speech.

Robert Downey Jr. in the press room during the 96th Annual Academy Awards on March 10, 2024, in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

Robert Downey Jr. in the press room during the 96th Annual Academy Awards on March 10, 2024, in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

Yet, it was his next acknowledgment that captured the hearts of the audience. The “Sherlock Holmes” alum expressed, “I’d like to thank my veterinarian — I meant wife — Susan Downey over there. She found me, a snarling rescue pet, and loved me back to life. That’s why I am here. Thank you.”

Susan Downey and US actor Robert Downey Jr. attend the Vanity Fair Oscars Party in Beverly Hills, California, on March 10, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

Susan Downey and US actor Robert Downey Jr. attend the Vanity Fair Oscars Party in Beverly Hills, California, on March 10, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

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Downey Jr. extended his gratitude to the team behind “Oppenheimer,” including director Christopher Nolan, producer Emma Thomas, and his co-stars Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, and Matt Damon.

Robert Downey Jr. at the 96th Annual Oscars on March 10, 2024, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

Robert Downey Jr. at the 96th Annual Oscars on March 10, 2024, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

His acknowledgment of needing the job “more than it needed me” reflected a humbling self-awareness and appreciation for the collaborative effort that led to the film’s success and, by extension, his award.

Robert Downey Jr. onstage during the 96th Annual Academy Awards on March 10, 2024, in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

Robert Downey Jr. onstage during the 96th Annual Academy Awards on March 10, 2024, in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

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The “Iron Man” actor’s speech also offered a rare glimpse into the challenges he has overcome, humorously thanking his stylist, publicist, and particularly his entertainment lawyer of 40 years, Tom Hansen, who he joked spent half of that time “trying to get me insured and bailing me out.”

Closing his speech, Downey Jr. gave a heartfelt shoutout to his three children, Avri, Exton, and Indio, encapsulating the evening’s theme of personal triumphs, gratitude, and the impact of cinema.

The Oscar Statuette: A Symbol of Prestige Bound by Tradition and Rules

Following the personal victories and heartfelt speeches that defined the 96th Academy Awards, it’s important to reflect on the physical symbol of achievement bestowed upon the winners: the Oscar statuette itself.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences places a significant emphasis on the stewardship of the Oscar statuette. Winners of this esteemed award are bound by a specific rule that safeguards the statue’s status as a non-commercial symbol of achievement.

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Mstyslav Chernov, Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas at the 96th Annual Oscars Governors Ball on March 10, 2024, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

Mstyslav Chernov, Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas at the 96th Annual Oscars Governors Ball on March 10, 2024, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

According to the Academy’s regulations, “Academy Award winners have no rights whatsoever in the Academy copyright or goodwill in the Oscar statuette or in its trademark and service mark registrations. Award winners must comply with these rules and regulations.

Additionally, the award winners “shall not sell or otherwise dispose of the Oscar statuette, nor permit it to be sold or disposed of by operation of law, without first offering to sell it back to the Academy for the sum of $1.00.”

Irish actor Cillian Murphy looks at his Oscar while posing for photos in the press room at the 96th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California on March 10, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

Irish actor Cillian Murphy looks at his Oscar while posing for photos in the press room at the 96th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California on March 10, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

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Originally made of gold-plated bronze, the statuette experienced a temporary shift to painted plaster during the metal shortages of World War II, with winners later allowed to exchange these for the traditional models.

Since 1982, the core of the Oscar has been made from Britannia metal, a pewter-based alloy, enhancing the statuette’s durability while maintaining its iconic appearance.

A view of the Oscar Statuette as decoration at the 96th Oscars Governors Ball Preview held at Ovation Hollywood on March 5, 2024, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

A view of the Oscar Statuette as decoration at the 96th Oscars Governors Ball Preview held at Ovation Hollywood on March 5, 2024, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

Today, the Oscar statuette closely mirrors the original Art Deco sculpture designed by Cedric Gibbons and sculpted by George Stanley. Each statuette stands 13.5 inches tall and weighs 8.5 pounds, approximately the weight of a gallon of milk. The gold-plated bronze casting ensures that each Oscar is not only a symbol of cinematic excellence but also a work of art in its own right.

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Unforgettable Oscar Moments: From Missteps to Milestones

As we journey through the highlights of the 96th Academy Awards, we’re reminded that the Oscars, with all its glamor and gravitas, are not immune to human error and unexpected moments.

These incidents, while initially seen as mishaps, have become an indelible part of Oscar lore, demonstrating the event’s ability to navigate the unpredictable with grace and dignity.

The 2017 Oscars will forever be remembered for the unprecedented mix-up during the Best Picture announcement. In a moment that felt more like a scene from a movie than real life, “La La Land” was mistakenly announced as the winner, only for it to be revealed moments later that “Moonlight” was the actual recipient of the night’s highest honor.

The confusion on stage, followed by Jordan Horowitz’s gracious correction, showcased an incredible display of sportsmanship and professionalism. Director Barry Jenkins’ response, “Even in my dreams, this could not be true. But to hell with dreams,” captured the shock and elation of the moment, turning an awkward situation into a powerful testament to the unpredictable beauty of live events.

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Al Pacino at the 96th Annual Oscars on March 10, 2024, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

Al Pacino at the 96th Annual Oscars on March 10, 2024, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

Continuing in the vein of unexpected and awkward Oscar moments, Al Pacino’s presentation of the Best Picture award at the 2024 Oscars added another memorable chapter to the ceremony’s history.

Skipping the traditional roll call of nominees, Pacino went straight for the envelope, declaring “Oppenheimer” as the winner. This departure from protocol may have surprised viewers and nominees alike, yet it also highlighted the unpredictability that comes with live television, adding a touch of spontaneity to the ceremony.

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The 96th Academy Awards offered a rich tapestry of triumph, emotion, and the unexpected, all woven together by the talent and authenticity of its winners.

From the heartfelt acceptance speeches to the winners’ commitment to the strict rule surrounding the Oscar statuette, the evening highlighted the delicate balance between the celebration of individual achievements and the preservation of the awards’ longstanding prestige.

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