Speaking of the five-presenter format and when it works, here is an example of when it DOESN’T work—the actresses. The matchups were much more awkward, the intros, more stilted, and even when real-life friendship does exist, they didn’t take advantage of it. 


Let’s start with the supporting actresses. Jamie Lee Curtis and Jodie Foster actually are friends—good enough that Curtis would call Foster in the event of an emergency—and between Lupita Nyong’o and Da’Vine Joy Randolph you can feel the understanding and respect, no one knows better what Da’Vine is about to experience than Lupita. (Speaking of Lupita, she showed up with her A Quiet Place: Day One co-star Joseph Quinn and they already seem friendly.) The best moment came from Rita Moreno, though, when she serenaded America Ferrera (which unfortunately we can't include because of geoblocking. Nothing says “global sensation” like not letting anyone watch your videos! Here it is if you're in the US).

The Best Actress category, however, revealed the inherent weakness of the five-presenter format, and that is when you have nothing to work with. Let’s be clear, this is NOT the fault of any of the ladies on stage. It’s just that when watching this grouping, it’s clear that the kind of pre-existing relationships that bolstered the dude side of the aisle didn’t exist here. The only one with an excuse is Sandra Hüller, who was new to everyone in Hollywood this year, and having Michelle Yeoh introduce her made sense, as she is also an “outsider” to Hollywood, so at least they have that in common. 


Charlize Theron probably has the best claim to the kind of casual acquaintanceship born of passing through events like these over the years, like I believe she’s met Annette Bening before. It goes to something Duana brought up in our planning session, though, the “missing generation” on that stage, like Julia Roberts, who at least can fake knowing a person well enough to sell the moment. For sure they asked Julia, and equally surely, she said no, and this whole exercise depends on people saying “yes”, but how many people could you pull to intro RDJ? Like if Sam Rockwell couldn’t make it, how many other Best Supporting Actor winners could you call that know RDJ? 3? At least?


On the dude side, we had friends, co-workers, peers who have met each other repeatedly at industry events over the years. On the ladies’ side, though, it’s a different story, mainly, I think, because women simply don’t get to work together that much, especially when you have a split between older and younger actresses. Who’s working together across that generational divide? 


That’s part of what made Barbie so revolutionary, all these women making a movie together is still the exception, not the rule. Certainly, these women run into each other at events, but looking at both lineups, there are no former co-stars, no one who can speak to actually working with a nominee, like Forest Whitaker or Sam Rockwell could. It’s notable, because this format relies on those personal connections. They could have let JLaw introduce her friend Emma, but that probably would have made it even more sharply clear that these are not people who know each other, even in passing. Instead, they chose to have everyone do an awkward intro.


Speaking of Emma, we must first acknowledge our dearest Kathleen, who took this viral video of Emma when the Poor Things team won Best Hair and Makeup:


She is literally me. 😫✨ #EmmaStone #Oscars2024 #PoorThings #Oscars

♬ original sound - Refinery29

Someone then remixed it with Emma on an episode of iCarly:

But I was seeing Squidward:

It’s just the color and the hemline, it screams “who lives in a pineapple under the sea”. 


But Emma won Best Actress over Lily Gladstone, which wasn’t entirely unexpected. We knew it would be close going into the night, and Emma looked legit surprised to win (the BAFTA/SAG break went for Cillian Murphy, but not Lily). It must be an overwhelming moment, so I don’t want to attribute her flustered speech entirely to this, but it DID look a little bit like Emma had immediate buyer’s remorse, knowing she won’t be remembered as a winner, she’ll be remembered as a white woman who stopped a Native woman’s historic moment from happening. Like her level of flustered was different from when she noticed the hair and makeup team winning.

I might be projecting a little, but I legit think this WILL become a moment similar to Emma audibly apologizing for Aloha, a movie in which she played an Asian woman, but it also wasn’t a done deal for her, so her surprise was, undoubtedly, real. Still, it sucks we didn’t get the historic win for Lily, whose argument for substance over screentime in the lead acting category ultimately fell on deaf ears within the Academy. They will always find a way to disappoint!