Oscars 2017 Recap – Oh What A Night
By Stephanie Brandhuber
Wow. Just wow. What an incredibly strange and baffling Oscars ceremony we had last night . Jan Chapman, who is still very much alive, had her picture shown as one of the deceased in the In Memoriam tribute, Jimmy Kimmel attempted to be funny in a patronising and overly-long joke where unsuspecting tourists were brought into the Oscars, and of course, there was the Oscar history-making moment when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway read out the wrong winner for the Best Picture category.
What a night.
In a moment that will live on forever as one of the most shocking events in Oscar history, La La Land was incorrectly announced as this year’s winner for the biggest category in the Academy Awards. After getting up on stage and starting to give their heart-felt acceptance speeches, the La La Land cast and crew were interrupted by the news that it was in fact Moonlight that had won Best Picture. La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz acted quickly, taking to the mic and asking the Moonlight cast and crew to come on stage to receive their award. The audience in the Kodak auditorium was stunned into silence before erupting in applause for Moonlight’s surprise win.
The awkwardness of the situation sadly detracted slightly from Moonlight’s big moment, but both the La La Land cast and crew as well as the Moonlight team recovered the gaff as best they could. Audiences around the world were left reeling in shock and Jimmy Kimmel, the MC for the night, closed the night on a lackluster joke about probably not being invited back again to host the Academy Awards after such a huge blunder had taken place.
Explanations for the massive mistake are circulating around, and reasons as to how Beatty and Dunaway could have been handed the wrong envelope are still trying to be sussed out.
The rest of the night was pretty standard fare, with an unsurprising number of political references and mostly unsurprising results in the other Oscar categories.
Iranian director Asghar Farhadi won the award for best Foreign Language film The Salesman, and had an acceptance speech read out for him after deciding to not be present at the ceremony out of protest for President Trump’s now-frozen visa ban for travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries. The strongly worded condemnation of the “inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S.” was one the most powerful speeches in a night full of mostly muted political messages.
Viola Davis’ acceptance speech for her Best supporting Actress could have itself been nominated for an Oscar. Poetic, personal, and deeply powerful, she explained that stories need to be exhumed, saying, “There’s one place that all the people with the greatest potential are gathered. One place. And that’s the graveyard.”
Suicide Squad’s controversial win for Hair and Makeup had the Twittersphere in uproar, as many took to social media to jokingly point out that the mediocre Suicide Squad now has more Oscars than highly-acclaimed films such as Singin’ in the Rain, Shawshank Redemption or Dr. Strangelove.
A happy moment was Kevin O’Connell finally winning an Oscar for sound mixing on his 21st nomination. In his acceptance speech, her he made a point of mentioning his mother, Skippy O’Connell, who helped get him his first job in sound. He recalled: “When I asked her, ‘Ma, how can I ever thank you?’ she looked at me and she said, ‘You know, I’ll tell you how you can thank me: You can work hard, you can work really hard, and someday you can go win yourself an Oscar, and you can stand up on that stage and you can thank me in front of the whole world. Mom, I know you’re looking down on me tonight. So, thank you.”
It was unfortunate that the evening’s host, Jimmy Kimmel, didn’t seem to share the evening’s general spirit of humanity and humility. Kimmel heavy-handedly borrowed from other recent awards ceremonies, not seeming able to present any sort of innovative, or even funny, Oscar-host moments to call his own. His opening monologue hit similar beats to Jimmy Fallon’s Golden Globes speech earlier this year, as did his joke about winners for O.J. Simpson projects not thanking Simpson himself. Parachuted-in candy echoed Ellen DeGeneres’s Oscar pizza moment and Chris Rock’s girl scout cookies bit and the few original jokes he did manage to deliver tended towards a sense of obvious contempt for the evening. Kimmel’s jabs at the big egos of Hollywood mostly fell flat as he tirelessly repeated the same jokes and repeatedly teased that the movies and people being celebrated were essentially pointless. Kimmel insisted numerous times that no one had seen various nominated movies (Elle, Moonlight) and, oddly, that no one has any idea what movies really are.
Luckily for Kimmel, his disappointing stint as the Oscar host will not be the standout memory of this year’s ceremony. Sadly, what will remain in everyone’s collective memory is the terrible Best Picture blunder and the further disrepute the Academy is facing. This year’s Oscars may have been the most shocking and confusing yet, but it sure as hell made for some great T.V.
Here is the full list of the night’s winners: