This year’s three-plus-hour Oscars may have been a snooze, but there’s no denying that the last half hour of the ceremony was action-packed. Frances McDormand howled like a wolf, Bo Burnham drank Carey Mulligan’s spit in the Promising Young Woman clip, Best Picture preceded Best Actor and Actress, and the Academy snubbed Chadwick Boseman. But that wasn’t all. At a certain point, the actor Lil Rey Howery hosted a trivia segment of the show. And while one of his victims, Glenn Close, has never won an Oscar—despite being nominated no less than eight times, making her one of the top nominees in history—the 74-year-old Hillbilly Elegy star certainly won the evening.
Listening closely to the song the DJ, Questlove, played through the speakers, Close’s ears suddenly perked up. “Wait a second, it’s Da Butt! I know that!,” she said. “It was a classic song by the great Washington, D.C. band go-go band E.U. Shout out to Suga Bear and the Backyard Band, the whole DMV.” That wasn’t all; “Spike Lee had it written for his brilliant movie School Daze, and my friends at the Oscars missed it,” Close continued, stunning the audience. “It wasn’t nominated, so it couldn’t have won, which I think is [censored].”
Describing the moment as “dope and uncomfortable,” Howery then took things a bit further: He asked Close if she knew how to do Da Butt dance. It turned out she does. The actor then proceeded to stand up and twerk. “This is the Blackest Oscars of all time y’all, Howery said amid Close’s cackles.
It all seemed too good to be true, causing some to question whether Close had gotten a heads-up. The Los Angeles Times claims to have confirmed that it was “part of a coordinated bit designed for laughs,” but according to Close’s publicist, it wasn’t. “The quiz, as noted, was requested of the participants and partially scripted,” they said. “The dance was NOT scripted, [it] happened then and there. I was as surprised as everyone else in the known universe.” ABC executive Rob Mills echoed their sentiments, telling Variety that it “was not in any rehearsal of it or anything.” What’s more, he claims to have it “on good authority that Glenn and John Malkovich did ‘Da Butt’ all the time on the set of Dangerous Liaisons.”
In any case, Close gained Sugar Bear’s approval. “She did a great job,” E.U. frontman Sugar Bear told the Times. “A lady her age, doing Da Butt like that? Come on, man.”