What a show and what a night! We got what will most likely go down as the craziest moment in Oscar history, some great speeches, a great host and a whole gaggle of comedic bits in the nearly 4 hour telecast last night. La La Land came away with the most wins last night with 6 and Moonlight was close behind with 3 including the most talked about award of the night Best Picture. Let’s take a minute to talk about all of that insanity.
It all started when Warren Beatty was handed the wrong envelope. He was handed the envelope for Best Actress in a Leading Role and its at this point you might be asking how that is possible because the envelope had just left with Emma Stone. Well the accounting firm that tallies the results, PricewaterhouseCoopers, has doubles of every envelope just in case of an emergency. Somehow someone ended up handing Beatty the wrong envelope and from the moment he opened it you could tell something was wrong. Most viewers, and even Faye Dunaway has co-presenter, thought he was just goofing around and pretending he could not read it, but he really was confused because he was reading Emma Stone’s name. He then gave the card to Dunaway, who tried to keep the show moving and just saw La La Land and read it. By the time the speeches were being given the accountants realized something was terribly wrong and hustled to fix it. Eventually La La Land producer Justin Horowitz took the reigns and correctly gave the awards to Moonlight.
Despite this being a madhouse of an ending I have to commend all involved for how they handled it. Horowitz was the epitome of class and grace as he handed off the award to “his friends from Moonlight”. His voice did not shake and he did not sound mad. He was a fantastic sport about it considering his dreams had just been crushed. I also have to give props to Jimmy Kimmel who really played the whole thing off well and kept things light despite such a grievous mistake. The whole thing really lead to some great reactions and facial expressions. The LA Times captured the wonderful image below with great reactions from Meryl Streep, Matt Damon, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Salma Hayek.
You really have to feel bad for the people from La La Land. Their dreams of winning best picture seemed to have been realized, but then they are crushed. Damien Chazelle’s face in the below photo says it all. On the other hand like I said many of the team handled the whole thing with grace. Horowitz was the star of this and even Gosling was captured in photos laughing the whole thing off. I also have to give props to a few people on Twitter who pointed out that this is rather fitting for a movie like La La Land whose main characters get a glimpse of what could have been only for reality to come crashing in, just like this Best Picture race.
Despite all of this the most tragic thing is that Moonlight’ monumental win is getting overlooked. Moonlight is a small movie with a powerful and moving message. It is far from an undeserving winner and should be getting its due. Unfortunately it is getting glossed over in favor of the controversy. It more than deserves the Best Picture trophy and we should be celebrating that such a special movie won. It also scooped up Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali as well as Best Adapted screenplay. Ali’s speech was one of the best of the night and this award could not have gone to a better guy. It is also notable as he is the first Muslim to win an acting award from the Academy. Overall a great night for this movie.
La La Land like I said before had the most wins of the night winning for Best Actress (Emma Stone), Best Director (Damien Chazelle), Best Score, Best Song (City of Stars), Best Cinematography, and Best Production Design. I was most happy for Stone and Chazelle as they really deserved these awards. La La Land, besides being a fantastic movie, is a technical marvel and an achievement in directing. The camera movement and shots that Chazelle obtained were awe inspiring and mesmerizing. Stone also pulled off the performance of her career as she made each inch of that character her own.
Manchester By the Sea and Hacksaw Ridge both pulled off two wins on the night. Manchester got awards for Best Actor (Casey Affleck) and Best Original Screenplay. Both great choices as Affleck’s performance was one of the most nuanced of the year and that screenplay was fascinating to watch unfold. Hacksaw’s wins came in technical categories as it won Best Editing and Best Sound Mixing. Both wins are notable for different reasons. Hacksaw was the longest movie in the Best Editing category this year and the longest movie never usually wins because that means the movie could have been tighter in some aspect. This was one of the few awards I had a problem with on the night as I felt the high octane flow of La La Land deserved this award. The Best Sound Mixing win for Hacksaw Ridge is notable because that means Kevin O’Connell’s streak of 20 nominations without a win is broken. He was the person still active in movie making who had been nominated the most times without a win, but he gets it on his 21st try.
Otherwise the Oscars spread the love as no other movie had more than one win. Fences only win came in the Best Supporting Actress category for Viola Davis. Davis is long overdue for recognition as she has been doing great work for so long. Her speech was also fantastic. Arrival’s only win came as a surprise in the Sound Editing category. The Harry Potter franchise took home its first Oscar by winning Best Costume Design for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them while DC Comics got its first Oscar as well because Suicide Squad won first Best Makeup and Hairstyling. This sucks on multiple levels because now we have to call the god awful Suicide Squad and Oscar winner and now the supremely inferior DC universe has one Oscar while Marvel has none. Disney did win the final technical category as its marvel of visual effects, The Jungle Book, won the Best Visual Effects category.
The Best Animated Feature went to Zootopia. Of the animated movies I saw in 2016 this was my favorite so I am glad it won out. Best Documentary went to the nearly 8 hour long O.J. Made in America. While that is a marvel of filmmaking I felt that the more culturally relevant and impactful 13th should have won. Finally Asghar Farhadi’s The Salesman won Best Foreign Film and provided us with one of the best moments of the night as Farhadi sent a spokesperson with a prewritten statement to the show. It was a beautiful statement and a stand out moment for the night.
As for the show itself, it was long as usual but I think it was one of the best in years. Kimmel kept it entertaining throughout with some good bits and some ok ones. The tour bus gag started out funny, but took way too long. The continuing feud with Matt Damon provided some of the best moments of the night including introducing him as he was presenting as Ben Affleck’s guest as well as playing him off while he was reading the nominees. The opening musical number was also a great way to start of the show and the inspiration segments were cool. My personal favorite was the pairing of Michael J. Fox and Seth Rogen.
Unfortunately these Oscars are going to be remembered as mired in controversy. The Best Picture debacle was not the only gaffe of the night. During the In Memoriam segment the correct name and profession of costume designer Janet Patterson was used, but the correct picture was not. Instead a picture of fellow Australian Jan Chapman, a producer, who is very much still alive, was used. The segment was also mired by the fact that well know actors Alexis Arquette, Doris Roberts, Garry Shandling, Jon Polito and Robert Vaughn were all not included. I know the academy cannot include everybody from the industry who passed away, but these are some huge names to leave out. It was a nice touch though to mention Bill Paxton before the montage so that he was not overlooked despite passing away just one day before the show.
Overall it was a fantastic show and one that is sure to be talked about for years to come. Now we begin the push to next year’s awards! Cannot wait for this year in movies and once again congratulations to Moonlight. Let’s make sure it does not get lost in the shuffle.