Another year, another Academy Awards right? Not this year, not 2017. The 89th Academy Awards’ lackluster proceedings were somewhat saved by the biggest Oscars gaffe in the history of the event when the award for best picture was initially given to “La La Land” instead of the actual winner, “Moonlight.”
By the time you read this, it will be almost a week after the Oscars and I’m sure that you’ve already read three to six articles on how such a snafu happened. PricewaterhouseCoopers, you are bad! Faye Dunaway, you are not great either! To all those people who hung out on the side of the stage and let the poor “La La Land” folks give acceptance speeches, shame on you!
I don’t know why people were so shocked the show ended in this fashion. Obviously, the stars of “Bonnie and Clyde” were going to steal the show.
Enough talk of the end of the Oscars, it’s time to talk about the rest of the night’s nearly four (but they felt like eight) hours of proceedings. Starting off with Justin Timberlake singing “Can’t Stop the Feeling” got my blood boiling early. I had no idea that the movie “Trolls” was responsible for me hearing that song seemingly five times a day for the last year or so.
Then, as if that wasn’t enough, Jimmy Kimmel stepped in to deliver one of the most plain vanilla monologues in award show history. I don’t use these yogurt adjectives lightly, believe me. Kimmel’s schtick throughout the night was to regurgitate bits from his late night show: trolling Matt Damon, having celebs read mean tweets and tricking unsuspecting tourists into wandering into Dolby Theatre. I wish I still had the sense of show biz wonder that newly unincarcerated Gary from Chicago displayed.
For the major awards, montages of previous winners and their acceptances were played. I still cannot believe that Jared Leto has an Oscar. Thankfully, this year the Oscar for supporting actor went to a deserving recipient in Mahershala Ali. If Ali was peeing in the ocean during that oft-shown seen from “Moonlight,” then truly he is the greatest.
The less important awards are always a pleasure to behold. The guy who won for sound mixing “Hacksaw Ridge” gave a really heartfelt speech that really touched me until I saw his soul patch. A lot of people on Twitter were appalled that“Suicide Squad” took home the award for best makeup and I couldn’t agree more. Jared Leto was in that movie! Give no more awards to that man!
Kimmel’s lackluster hosting made me seek solace in the award presenters. This year, it was a nice touch to have an actor or actress present with someone that they admired. Javier Bardem and Meryl Streep made a good pair. Another good one was Michael J. Fox and Seth Rogen. Fox’s glib remarks made Rogen’s presence palatable for a change! Then, old pals Matt Damon and Ben Affleck proved that friends that stick together, go gray together.
“La La Land” swept up seven of the lil’ gold dudes before losing out on Best Picture. Emma Stone won best actress in a leading role and Damien Chazelle won best director. At 32, he is the youngest ever to win the award. Chazelle is also the first person to win best director after meeting me so he’s got that going for him as well.
“Manchester by the Sea” became the first movie distributed by a streaming service (Amazon) to win an Academy Award and ended the night with two: best original screenplay and best actor. Writer and director Kenny Lonergan was awarded for his masterful use of sad movie tropes and utilization of Boston accents, while Casey Affleck waded through a storm of sexual harassment allegations to snatch up a victory. Shoutout to Brie Larson for looking mad as hell for having to award the jawn to Affleck. You go girl!
If the Best Picture gaffe had not happened, I doubt that anyone would have talked about these Academy Awards much at all. Sure “Moonlight” coming away with top honors is a tremendous achievement for African American culture in film, but successes like that are all too often swept under the rug in the grand scheme of Hollywood. Hopefully, in the coming years, the Oscars can step up their game in terms of racial equality despite America as a whole seeming poised to backslide in that regard.