Whenever a film unites critics like Damien Chazelle’s La La Land did, we know we’re usually going to be in for routine Oscars night. That is, until Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway get on stage and announce the wrong winner for the Best Picture Academy Award. From now on, this will be remembered as the defining moment of the 2017 ceremony, and will surely top every list of the biggest blunders that took place at the Oscars.
However, before we talk about Beatty’s big mistake (Steve Harvey’s probably feeling pretty good now), let’s take a look at the various winners from last night and celebrate a year where the Academy thankfully didn’t serve us a second unwanted helping of #OscarsSoWhite.
La La Land, the heavyweight contender, went home with six awards. Emma Stone won Best Actress (robbing our beloved Isabelle Huppert), Damien Chazelle won Best Director (which he deserved for Whiplash), and La La Land clinched Best Cinematography, Best Score, Best Production Design and Best Original Song (for “City of Stars”).
Best Actor went to Casey Affleck for his powerful turn in Manchester by the Sea (no big surprise), while the Best Supporting Actress went to Viola Davis for her role in Fences and Best Supporting Actor was awarded to Mahershala Ali for Luke Cage…we mean Moonlight. Not only was the award well deserved, but it also sent a needed message considering the current American political climate, as Ali is the first Muslim to win an acting Oscar.
The Best Adapted Screenplay category saw Moonlight win, and Kenneth Lonergan took home Best Original Screenplay for Manchester by the Sea. They were great choices even if we’d have loved to see Taylor Sheridan win it for Hell or High Water.
OJ: Made in America won Best Documentary Feature, an amazing feat considering the film was originally destined for television. This proves once more just how good ESPN are at producing compelling and engaging documentaries that transcend the subject of “sports.” The Oscar-winning documentary takes a fascinating look at modern racial history in America through the lens OJ Simpson’s career and subsequent criminal trial.
Iranian director Asghar Farhadi's The Salesman won the award for Best Foreign Language Film . While Farhadi boycotted the ceremony, he sent Firouz Naderi (a former NASA director) in his place to read a statement denouncing President Trump and the “inhumane law that bans immigrants entry from the US.”
While all the awards were well deserved, none of them came as a shock, which is probably why no one was surprised when Warren Beatty announced La La Land as the Best Picture winner. The cast and crew took the stage to receive the prestigious award, only to amazingly be told during producer Jordan Horowitz’s acceptance speech that there had been a mistake, and that Moonlight had in fact won Best Picture. To put it mildly, it was fucking surreal.
Sadly, with the Academy Awards grabbing the headlines, many probably didn’t take much note of the passing of Bill Paxton, a very fine actor and director who sadly left us yesterday. He was left out of the In-Memoriam clip, but did get a shout-out from a teary-eyed Jennifer Aniston.
Just as his character, Private Hudson, said in Aliens: “Game over man, game over”.