By Joshua Lockwood
And the Oscar goes too…….
Last night was, once again, my favorite night of a celebration of arts. The Oscars. The Academy Awards. The 89th Annual Awards started at 7:30 on Sunday, February 26th. Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. Buzz surrounded the night. Does “La La Land” jazz its way to gold? Or does “Moonlight” shine brighter? Here’s a recap of what flubs, fun, and upsets happened on Sunday night.
The occasion, hosted at the Dolby Theater, started with Justin Timberlake performing his “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from the hit animated film “Trolls.” After a brilliant showcase of song and dance, JT introduced us to our host Jimmy Kimmel. The laughs immediately started from there on. Kimmel showed he was ready for the promotion from just a regular night talk show host.
As always, the Best Supporting Actor category was first. I predicted that Mahershala Ali from “Moonlight” was to win with absolutely no question. I was right.
From there it went into the inner workings of filmmaking all together. “Suicide Squad” was the next win for Make Up. Yes, I did just say that “Suicide Squad” won an Oscar.
Next was Costume Design, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” won.
Throughout the night, of course, controversy surrounded the presidency of Donald Trump. Jimmy Kimmel brought up how the President didn’t tweet him at all and he even tweeted the prez to make sure he was ok.
Next up was Documentary. I had predicted that “13th” would run away with Oscar gold. I was wrong. “OJ: Made in America” had won. The ladies from “Hidden Figures” presented the award and even brought out the real Katherine Johnston, the inspiration behind “Hidden Figures.”
The best songs were performed first starting with Sting and his song for the documentary “The Empty Chair,” Then followed by the showcase from “Moana.” Then John Legend performed a medley of songs from “La La Land.”
“Zootopia” won Best Animated feature. I predicted that “Kubo and the Two Strings” would win.
“The Salesman” won for best foreign film. The director wasn’t present but he had an Iranian astronaut read a letter he wrote regarding the Muslim Ban.
Best Visual Effects went to “Jungle Book.”
Gael Garcia Bernal was presenting Animated Short and Short Documentary. “Piper” won animated short and “The White Helmets” and Short Documentary. During the two awards, Bernal took time to comment on the border wall that Donald Trump is planning on building. “A lot of actors are migrant workers. We travel all over the world, we construct stories, we build life but cannot be divided.” Bernal continued, “As a Mexican, as a human being, as a migrant worker, I’m against any form of wall that separates us.”
A standing ovation met half the room.
Production Design went to “La La Land.”
Sound Mixing went to “Hacksaw Ridge.”
Sound Editing went to “Arrival.”
Best Score went to “La La Land.”
Original Screenplay was next. I had predicted that “La La Land” would win. By surprise, “Manchester By the Sea” won.
Adapted screenplay was no doubt going to be “Moonlight” by Berry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney – being the first LGTBQ film to do so.
Best Supporting Actress was next. I favored Viola Davis because of her strong performance in “Fences.” Plus, she never received her much deserved win for “The Help.” I was right. She ran off with her second Oscar with an emotional speech and praise to Denzel Washington.
“City of Stars” from “La La Land” won for Best Song.
Best Director was next. I predicted that Damien Chazzelle would win for “La La Land.” This was his sophomore film after “Whiplash” which was praised heavily at the Oscars in 2014. Chazzelle won becoming the youngest director ever to win the award.
Best Actor was next. It was a deadringer for Denzel Washington or Andrew Garfield. Both had displayed wonderful range and originality for both their films. Brie Larson from her last year’s win for “Room” presented. A surprise turn of events had Casey Affleck win amongst rape allegations and controversy. Brie Larson did not applaud the winner, who seemed surprised as well. Denzel Washington was in tears later on camera.
Leonardo DiCaprio came out next to give us the Best Actress award. Emma Stone, who graciously earned her award for her performance in “La La Land,” showed us the humble woman she truly is and was moved by her win. In my opinion, no one else could have won that award at that moment.
The big one was next. Best Picture. Jimmy Kimmel welcomed Warren Beatty and Faye – celebrating the 50th anniversary of “Bonnie and Clyde” – Dunaway to the Dolby Theater Stage to present the award. What happened next was like nothing that has ever happened in Oscar history. Eighty-nine years the Oscars go without a flub like what we saw Sunday night. Warren Beatty announced “La La Land” the winner. With excitement, the cast and crew went on stage. All seemed well, until a producer for “La La Land” saw what had actually happened. An envelope incident had caused Beatty to announce the wrong winner. In fact, “Moonlight” had won the big award that evening. Beatty apologized and explained himself. “La La Land” cast and crew were very empathetic to the “Moonlight” cast and crew.
The trend of Oscar bait films beating real human drama stories had been broken. “Moonlight” being the first film to in Best Picture that represents the LGBTQ community. I was left shocked and excited. I predicted “Moonlight” since the moment I saw it.
It was a glamorous night. Now, we sit and wait for Oscar season again. Until then, make sure to see all the films nominated. Wonderful stories of the human spirit and will. You, yourself, might even make a best picture mistake.