Top Eight Moments from Oscars 2024: Asian Edition

The 96th Academy Awards took place last night, with critics’ favorites “Oppenheimer” and “Poor Things” taking home top prizes. And though some believe that Asian creatives were snubbed this time around, there were still many moments that made us smile.

From the “Godzilla Minus One” team’s matching outfits to Hayao Miyazaki’s historic win, here are eight of our favorite Asian-centric moments from this year’s Oscars (in no particular order).

1. “Godzilla Minus One” wins Best Visual Effects

“Godzilla Minus One” made franchise history Sunday night, taking home the 70-year-old series’ first Academy Award. Japanese filmmakers Takashi Yamazaki, Kiyoko Shibuya, Masaki Takahashi and Tatsuji Nojima accepted the trophies — their Godzilla-themed toys and footwear taking center stage. 

“So far from Hollywood, even the possibility of standing on this stage seemed out of reach,” Yamazaki said in his acceptance speech. “The moment we were nominated, we felt like Rocky Balboa welcomed into the ring as equals by our biggest rivals, which was already a miracle. But, here we stand.”

2. “The Boy and the Heron” wins Best Animated Feature Film

Japanese film “The Boy and the Heron” topped this year’s Animated Features category, awarding famed director Hayao Miyazaki his second Oscar. At 83 years old, the Studio Ghibli founder is now the oldest director to win this category in over two decades, and he remains the only Asian director to take the prize. He won his first Oscar for “Spirited Away” in 2003. 

Though Miyazaki and producer Toshio Suzuki were unable to attend the ceremony, presenters Chris Hemsworth and Anya Taylor-Joy accepted the award on their behalf. 

3. Michelle Yeoh presents Actress in a Leading Role

One year after her historic Best Actress win for “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” Michelle Yeoh returned to Dolby Theater to present this year’s award. Alongside other past winners Sally Fields, Jennifer Lawrence, Charlize Theron and Jessica Lange, Yeoh recognized nominees Annette Bening (“Nyad”), Sandra Hüller (“Anatomy of a Fall”), Lily Gladstone (“Killers of the Flower Moon”) and Carey Mulligan (“Maestro”) before presenting the trophy to Emma Stone (“Poor Things”).

4. Ke Huy Quan presents Actor in a Supporting Role

“Everything Everywhere All At Once” Best Supporting Actor-winner Ke Huy Quan also presented an award to his successor. Taking the stage with past honorees Sam Rockwell, Tim Robbins, Christoph Waltz and Mahershala Ali, Quan helped celebrate Robert Downey Jr. for his performance in “Oppenheimer.” Other nominees included Sterling K. Brown (“American Fiction”), Robert De Niro (“Killers of the Flower Moon”), Ryan Gosling (“Barbie”) and Mark Ruffalo (“Poor Things”).

“Sterling, I know yours has been a long journey to get to this night,” Quan said in his heartfelt introduction of the “American Fiction” nominee. “I can relate. And I’m so, so happy that you’re finally being recognized by your peers.”

5. Simu Liu dances in Ryan Gosling’s “I’m Just Ken” performance 

Can you feel the Kenergy? In one of the most highly-anticipated performances of the night, “Barbie”’s Ryan Gosling took to the stage to sing the film’s famed number “I’m Just Ken.” A vision in pink, he was joined by fellow Ken actors Kingsley Ben-Adir, Scott Evans, Ncuti Gatwa and Simu Liu, as well as rock-n-roll guitarist Slash. 

Their performance was one of two representing the “Barbie” movie, with Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell performing an orchestral version of “What Was I Made For?” earlier in the program. The songwriting siblings ultimately took home the Oscar for Best Original Song

6. Janet Yang runs into Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande, Cynthia Erivo and Finneas O’Connell backstage

Fresh off their Best Original Song win, musical duo Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell and presenters Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo bumped into Academy President Janet Yang backstage. Though Yang was onscreen teasing the night’s coming awards, the gang enjoyed a funny and endearing reunion before the show cut to commercial. 

7. “War Is Over!” creators wish Yoko Ono a “Happy Mother’s Day”

“War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko” took home the Oscar for Best Animated Short. Joining filmmakers Dave Mullins and Brad Booker onstage, Sean Lennon, John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s son, capped off their acceptance speeches by wishing his mother a “Happy [U.K.] Mother’s Day.”

8. Sean Wang’s Nai Nai and Wài Pó turn heads on the red carpet

Sean Wang may not have won Best Documentary Short, but he and his grandmothers definitely won best dressed of the night. The titular subjects of Wang’s film, his Nai Nai and Wài Pó (otherwise known as 94-year-old Yi Yan Fuei and 83-year-old Chang Li Hua) took command of the carpet in custom Rodarte. They were styled by Shirley Kurata, the Oscar-nominated costume designer for “Everything Everywhere All At Once.”

Honorable Mentions

  • Red carpet host Vanessa Hudgens reveals her pregnancy by arriving with a baby bump.
  • 2023 Best Actress-winner Michelle Yeoh surprises “Wicked” costar Ariana Grande while she’s being interviewed by Hudgens on the red carpet.
  • “Past Lives” actor Teo Yoo commemorates his late pet turtle Momo with his red carpet ensemble.
  • “Past Lives” star Greta Lee stuns in her GlamBot motion portrait.
  • “Never Have I Ever” lead Maitreyi Ramakrishnan goes viral for her hilarious red carpet interview.

It's "Never Have I Ever" star Maitreyi Ramakrishnan's first time at the Oscars! "I'm giving tourist," she says.

♬ original sound – Variety
  • 2023 Best Supporting Actor-winner Ke Huy Quan breaks out into song with Cynthia Erivo and Amelia Dimoldenberg on the red carpet.
@ameliadimz Karaoke with Ke Huy Quan and Cynthia Erivo 🎤 @The Oscars #Oscars #AcademyPartner ♬ original sound – ameliadimz