So, last night was the 89th Academy Awards – & what a night it was. History was made in so many ways, & it was definitely worth staying up till 5.30am to see it all unfold through various internet lifestreams that kept crashing.
Here’s the best moments from last ceremonies, taken from notes I was deliriously making as it happened in the wee hours of the morning UK time.
First up – the red carpet. I know this is an event to celebrate the films & the people who made them but oh my, the red carpet is one of my favourite bits about it. The glitz, the glamour, the interviews & how much fun everyone seems to be having has filled me with joy my entire life, from watching it all live last night all the way back to being tiny & furious that I wasn’t allowed to stay up to watch it. I’m going to do a separate blog post about about all my favourite outfits from the entire awards season, but I do want to talk here about how many people were wearing American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) & planned parenthood pins on their gowns & tuxedos – BRILLIANT. It was a silent way to not stay silent on President Trump’s policy’s which are basically affecting everyone who isn’t a white American male.
Late night talkshow host Jimmy Kimmel was hosting the ceremony, which is something I was originally apprehensive about. But as soon as he started his opening monologue I knew he was going to be great.
In those eight minutes he covered everything from the #OscarsSoWhite controversy of last year to President Trump, without getting overly political or controversial & keeping it fun & lighthearted too. It’s a tough feat but he really aced that opening.
I want to say thank you to President Trump. I mean remember last year when it seemed like the Oscars were racist? It has been an amazing year for movies. Black people saved NASA and white people saved jazz. That’s what you call progress.
One of the more lighthearted highlights of that was a joke about Meryl Streep (who was there with her 20th nomination), & a standing ovation was paid to her as Kimmel teased that she was uninspiring & mediocre – a reference to a tweet by Donald Trump after Streep spoke out about him at the Golden Globes in January where he called her “over-rated”. I just think it’s so incredible that the idea that Meryl Streep isn’t an incredible actor is a hilarious joke.
The first award was for Best Supporting Actor. All of the nominees were incredible this year, but I was so so so unbelievably happy that it went to Mahershala Ali for Moonlight. He got up on stage, joked about how he should button up his jacket for his grandma & then gave a beautiful speech where he thanked his wife & his four day old daughter. Him winning is a massive deal as believe it or not, he’s the first muslim actor to ever win an Oscar. It was so important to see that right away with its first award, this year’s Academy Awards were making history.
The award for Documentary (Feature) was presented by Janelle Monae, Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer – the three women from Best Picture nominee Hidden Figures. Their film told the hidden story of the black women who worked uncredited at NASA & helped get America into space in the 60s. Before the actresses presented the award, they brought the real NASA physicist Katherine Johnson out onto the stage to join them & it was AMAZING.
Can we talk about Auli’i Cravalho’s amazing performance of the Best Original Song How Far I’ll Go? She’s incredible! The girl is only sixteen & has the most amazing voice, & an amazing stage presence too – something that wasn’t seen in her lead role voicing Moana in last year’s Disney’s animated film. She was also at one point hit in the head with a prop one of the dancers but carried on like she didn’t even notice – this girl is going places for sure.
Also, quick shoutout to Jackie Chan who was there after receiving an honorary lifetime achievement Oscar at the Governor’s Awards back in November of last year. It fifty six years of working in the film industry & over 200 films work to finally get this recognition & I am so happy!
Best Supporting Actress went to… Viola Davis!! Finally!! The three time nominee won for her incredible performance in Fences, & also won best speech too for sure as she tried to hold it together. It was a huge huge moment for her, someone who has been deserving of it forever; & also a huge moment in history as she become the second black recipient of an acting award from The Academy. Viola’s speech was surprising in that instead of being political or just sticking to thanking people, she simply talked about art & what it meant to so many. She is incredible.
I became an artist—and thank God I did—because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.
Best Foreign Film went to Afghan Farhadi for his Iranian film, The Salesman. Now this was amazing because he actually didn’t attend, & instead of an acceptance speech a statement by him was read by Iranian engineering genius & space traveller Anousheh Ansarx, in which he claimed he was boycotting the event due to Trump’s recent travel bans. It was an amazing move that really used the platform for good, & received standing ovation & cheers from people there & at home.
Zootopia (or Zootropolis to us UK people) won Best Animated film which made me SO HAPPY. It was massively tough competition in this category this year but it was Zootropolis’s message which pushed it ahead of the rest & I’m so glad it was recognised.
And omg the prank on the tourists. Basically, Jimmy organised a Hollywood tour bus to bring it’s oblivious passengers into the Dolby Theatre & into the show – & I loved it. The looks on their faces, especially Gary from Chicago & his wife-to-be, was amazing, & all the stars in the front couple of rows came up to greet them – Jennifer Aniston even gave over her sunglasses as a souvenir (on Kimmel’s urging).
Some people thought this prank was inhumane & highlighted the difference between these groups of people, made the celebrities look like zoo animals & the people like ‘commoners’ but come on – it was light hearted & amazing & we should celebrate the fact that these people got to have that experience as a total surprise.
The theme of this year’s awards was “Inspiration”, which was demonstrated perfectly. It started with a video shown between awards of all these great influential people from cinema talking about their fave films, with the occasional clip of said films (Young Frankenstien got a massive laugh which filled me with joy).
This was followed up with videos of casual interviews with actors discussing their favourite actor in their favourite role. They did this in sevrions, each culminating in the pair of actors coming on stage together to present an award. Charlize Theron & Shirley MacLaine were first, then later Seth Rogan & Michael J Fox came or in a Delorian wearing self lacing sneakers from Back to the Future, before singing a bit of Hamilton to the crowd (which made Lin-Manuel Miranda VERY happy).
I loved this idea!! It felt so harmonious & the very essence of why actors become actors & I wish it happened every year.
Another moment to make an audience member very happy was Jimmy Kimmel recreating a moment from The Lion King with star of nominated film Lion, Sunny Pawar.
Just look at the pure joy in Dev Patel’s face.
Another entertainment segment came in the form of a regular on Kimmel’s own show – Mean Tweets. It’s a regular segment where celebrities read out mean tweets written about them, but this time it was an Oscars special. It was short, but it was brilliant & I will never think of Miles Teller in another way.
Then it was time for John Legend, who was performing a medley of the two Original Song nominees from La La Land. I loved his take on it – it was beautiful yet respectful to the originals, & featured him sat on stage surrounded by pairs of dancers dancing which was so beautiful. It made me very happy.
Speaking of which; of course La La Land won Original Song. It won for City of Stars, which I was a little disappointed by – not only would it have been amazing for Lin-Manuel Miranda to win for Moana & become the third person in history to have a PEGOT, but I also think that Audition (Fools Who Dream) from La La Land was better. However, the acceptance speech by by Benji Pasek (who co-wrote the lyrics to the winning song) was wonderful, & gave one of the best thanks that actors everywhere will adore forever; thanking their mothers for letting them follow their dreams.
After Charlize Theron & Seth Rogan’s earlier appearances with their idols, there was a finale with the host himself Jimmy Kimmel watching the 2011 film We Bought a Zoo. This makes sense if you’re aware of the decade long “feud” between Kimmel & Matt Damon (the star of the film). There’s been a massive joke since 2005 I think that the two hate each other, which for people who weren’t aware of, was teased earlier in the ceremony when Matt tripped Jimmy up when he was walking by in the stalls. This video of Jimmy was a build up to Damon & Ben Affleck entering the stage to present, where the announcer introduced them as “Ben Affleck & Guest”, & then the music usually played at the end of acceptance speeches to usher winners off the stage was played whenever Matt started talking. It was hilarious & playful & I LIVE FOR IT.
Best Actor. Right.
While I do think Casey Affleck gave an incredible performance in Manchester by the Sea, & it was adorable seeing Ben Affleck crying at his little brother winning we can’t ignore the fact that Casey succeeded with major harassment allegations in his past.
I’m not saying he shouldn’t have won it, I’m saying that if the allegations are true, then his career should never have even developed to this point. As soon as the accusations were made public back in 2010 Casey should have been investigated & the fate his career should have rested on the result of that outcome. It’s utterly shocking that a sexual abuse allegation can just be a footnote in an actor’s career & have no impact in his success, & this win just makes it clear that it desperately needs to stop.
And of course, Emma Stone. She deserved that Oscar for her performance of Audition alone, & I was so emotional for her. That woman deserved it more than anything.
If you somehow missed it, presenters Faye Dunaway & Warren Beatty announced La La Land the winner of Best Picture. The whole cast & crew got on stage & started making speeches, only to be interrupted by their producer Jordan Horowitz one minute in with the news that it was actually Moonlight who was the recipient of the most prestigious award.
Basically what happened was the presenters were given the wrong envelope: the one that announced Emma Stone’s Best Actress award. Accounting company PricewaterhouseCoopers, which has been in charge of keeping the Academy Award winners secret until the ceremony for the past 83 years, released this statement today:
We sincerely apologize to Moonlight, La La Land, Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, and Oscar viewers for the error that was made during the award announcement for best picture. The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered, was immediately corrected. We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred. We appreciate the grace with which the nominees, the Academy, ABC, and Jimmy Kimmel handled the situation.
It’s a first in Oscar history, & a massive scandal. Fortunately La La Land were very gracious about the mix up but wow. What a way to end the show.
So that’s my Oscar round up! It was the first year I’ve been able to watch the ceremony live in full & I’m so glad I did because parts of it really felt like historic moments, & I now feel like I was part of it.
What were your favourite moments from one of the most iconic Oscars ever? Tweet me & let me know!