The 89th Academy Award Winners….
Well, the most interesting, surprising and potentially disappointing event that occurred at the 89th Academy Awards telecast tonight at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles was when the Best Picture winner was announced. Holy cow! Details are still coming in, but when “Bonnie and Clyde” actors Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced the winner as “La La Land”, it turns out the actual winner was “Moonlight”. Both films deserved it, but the most awkward and bizarre win took place after the makers of “La La Land” were on stage and made their acceptance speech…and then, that was interrupted by a “La La Land” producer announcing “Moonlight”, while holding up the card that clearly listed the movie directed by Barry Jenkins. Beatty apologized and host Jimmy Kimmel openly blamed himself, but regardless, it will go down as one of the more memorable moments in Oscar history. But, what else happened?
Out of the fourteen nominations it earned, “La La Land” only won six awards, while “Moonlight” won three (out of eight) and “Manchester by the Sea” received two awards, out of the six it was nominated for. Somewhat of a surprise was “Hacksaw Ridge” winning two awards of the six it was nominated for. There were some other surprises tonight in a show which found Jimmy Kimmel shoehorning his television bits into the telecast – some of which worked, like when supposedly unsuspecting passengers on a local tour bus were guided into the theater where they got to mingle with actors, and some were kind of a waste of time, like when he had celebs reading “Mean Tweets” about them.
I get wanting to stamp your own personality on the hosting gig, but it’s still a job and bringing anything you’re already known for into the show seems like you’re not sticking to what you were hired to do. Overall, Kimmel was fine. The text to Trump only perpetuates narcissism and celebrity, but what prevent that at this point. Sometimes the long-standing “Kimmel v Damon” thing was overkill, but it did mix things up a bit.
The show opened with a fantastic song-and-dance number by Justin Timberlake and company for his infectious Oscar-nominated song, “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from “Trolls”. Thankfully, we didn’t have to endure our host being injected into scenes from the nominated films, which has been repeated ad nauseum.
As for the overall production of the show, there were some things I’m glad they did without and one new addition that I really liked. I’m glad they did without introducing each Best Picture nominees throughout the evening, since that’s a redundant element that slows down the show. There was a bit that was repeated a couple of times where an actor came out with a veteran actor they look up to, which found Charlize Theron walking out with Shirley MacLaine, Seth Rogen standing next to Michael J. Fox and Javier Bardem sharing the stage with Meryl Streep. Those were moments that broke down the celebrity aura, making actors more relatable to viewers.
So, who was snubbed? Coen Brothers regular, actor Joe Polito, was unfortunately left out of the “In Memorium” segment, which was accompanied by a beautiful performance of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides, Now” by Sara Bareilles. Some may feel that Denzel Washington was snubbed and if cameras (and body language) tell the truth, he might even say that as well.
The travel ban controversy was present and accounted for tonight too. A written statement from Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, who won for “The Salesman”, was read aloud by engineer Anousheh Ansari (known as the first female space tourist), stating, “I have decided to not attend the Academy Awards ceremony alongside my fellow members of the cinematic community….”, who was joined by Firouz Naderi, a former director of Solar Systems Exploration at NASA. The Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs reacted to the travel ban, saying, “America should always be not a barrier but a beacon and each and every one of us knows that there are some empty chairs in this room which has made academy artists into activists.”
The statement from Farhadi went on to say, “I’m sorry I’m not with you tonight. My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of the six other nations who have been disrespected by the unhuman law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S. Dividing the world into ‘us’ and ‘enemies’ categories creates fear. The movies create empathy between us and others. It s an empathy that we need today.”
Ironic, considering many of the Oscar-nominated films focused on empathy and compassion and an understanding of human pains and needs.
Actors John Cho and Leslie Mann had a funny bit where they reflected on their time hosting the Governer’s Awards on November 12th last year, where the Academy presented Honorary Awards to Jackie Chan (Hong Kong martial artist, actor, director, producer and singer), Anne V. Coates (British film editor), Lynn Stalmaster (American casting director) and Frederick Wiseman (American filmmaker, documentarian and theatrical director).
If you were following me on Facebook, you know more bout my feelings about the show. So, without further ado, below is a list of all the winners….
BEST PICTURE – Moonlight
BEST DIRECTOR – Damien Chazelle, La La Land
BEST ACTRESS – Emma Stone, La La Land
BEST ACTOR – Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – Viola Davis, Fences
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – Lenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY – Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney, Moonlight
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE – Zootopia
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM – The Salesman (Iran)
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE – O.J. Made in America
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – Justin Hurwitz, La La Land
BEST ORIGINAL SONG – “City of Stars”, La La Land
BEST SOUND EDITING – Arrival
BEST SOUND MIXING – Hacksaw Ridge
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN – La La Land
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY – Linus Sandgren, La La Land
BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING – Suicide Squad
BEST COSTUME DESIGN – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
BEST FILM EDITING – Hacksaw Ridge
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS – The Jungle Book
BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM – Piper
BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT FILM – Sing
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT – The White Helmets
Needless to say, this will be an awards presentation that will long be remembered. More info is still trickling in as I type this about the Best Picture announcement debacle and although you hope for something unexpected/unplanned to happen on live TV, what transpired tonight was still such a bizarre shock.
Like so many critics and viewers, I’m glad award season is now officially over. We can now thoroughly embrace 2017 at the movies. Let’s see what movies can do….