Justin Timberlake kicked off the 89th Annual Academy Awards with a rendition of “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” that ebullient Oscar-nominated summer dance anthem you probably wished would die from overexposure.
But the Oscars, as we recently pointed out, were bound to make political statements.
Jimmy Kimmel, who joked ahead of time that he would wing it, used his opening monologue to take a shot at #45.
Can you blame Kimmel, though? #45 makes it so easy.
“This broadcast is being watched live by millions of Americans, and around the world in more than 225 countries that now hate us. And I think that is an amazing thing,” he stated.
But he didn’t stop there.
ON UNITY: “I’m not the man to unite this country, but it can be done… if every one of you took a minute to reach out to one person you disagree with, someone you like, and have a positive, considerate conversation — not as liberals or conservatives, as Americans— if we could all do that, we can make America great again. We really could. It starts with us.”
ON #OscarsSoWhite: “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.”
But his comments on Meryl Streep, who came under fire by the president and his supporters alike after she denounced his incendiary behavior during last month’s Golden Globes telecast, brought the house down.
“We are here tonight to honor great actors but we’re also here to honor the actors who seem great, but actually really aren’t. And of all the “great actors” here in Hollywood, one in part has stood the test of time for her many uninspiring and overrated performances.
“May I say, from her mediocre early work in The Deer Hunter and Out of Africa to her underwhelming performances in Kramer vs. Kramer and Sophie’s Choice, Meryl Streep has phoned it in for over 50 films over the course of her lackluster career. This is Meryl’s 20th Oscar nomination.
"Maybe even more amazing, considering the fact that she wasn’t even in a movie this year, we just wrote her name down out of habit. Meryl, stand up, if you would. Everybody please join me in giving Meryl Streep a totally undeserved round of applause, will you? ... Nice dress by the way. Is that an Ivanka?”
BUT THEN WHAT HAPPENED?
Well, we watched the show so you wouldn’t have to. Some quick highlights:
1. Academy Award-winning film Suicide Squad. What an odd little sentence.
2. Katherine Johnson, one of the NASA research mathematicians portrayed in Hidden Figures, received a standing ovation during her appearance. Johnson, now 98, worked for NASA as a research mathematician for more than 30 years. #NeverthelessShePersisted
3. O.J.: Made in America, an 8-hour miniseries, won the Oscar for Best Documentary feature. After filmmaker Ezra Edelman accepted his award, Kimmel expressed his reservations that Simpson and the trial surrounding the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman has still captivated the public 20 years later.
“I didn’t know we’d be doing this in 2017 either, but we are. O.J., you get an extra slice of bologna on your sandwich tonight,” he said, referencing the fact that Simpson is currently in prison over kidnapping and armed robbery charges.
4. While singing the Oscar-nominated “How Far I’ll Go,” Auli’i Cravalho, the 16-year old star of Moana, got whacked in the head by a stage prop—and kept going.
5. In yet another sign the Oscars are incapable of shaking off the notion that they’re nothing more than a night for privileged people to congratulate themselves, Jimmy Kimmel showered the audience with bags of candy. Cue the jealousy felt around the world.
6. Amy Adams, who was snubbed for Arrival, arrived at the awards ceremony looking like a million bucks—and winning raves on the red carpet.
7. "Women," said Mark Rylance, last year’s Best Supporting Actor winner for his work in Bridge of Spies, "are better than men at opposing without hatred." He then awarded the Best Supporting Actress statuette to Viola Davis, an industry favorite for her work in Fences.
8. "Hacksaw Ridge is the story of a conscientious objector who decided to work with Mel Gibson anyway,” said Kimmel, a reference to Gibson’s past controversies, which include accusations of anti-Semitism.
9. The Salesman won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Iranian director Asghar Farhadi did not attend the ceremony. Accepting in his place was Anousheh Ansari, an engineer and astronaut who read a statement on his behalf.
"My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and the other six countries that have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S. dividing the world into the 'us' and 'our enemies' category creates fear,” she read.
10. We lost seemingly everyone we’ve ever loved in 2016– and the “In Memoriam” was so tragically short.
BUT ENOUGH ABOUT THAT.
The winners, ladies and gentlemen:
Moonlight: In a stunning upset, presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway read out the wrong winner.
The producers of La La Land were in the middle of their speeches when the mixup was announced. “Warren, what did you do?” Kimmel joked. Producer Jordan Horowitz graciously passed the statuette to the Moonlight team.
Damien Chazelle, La La Land: The industry favorite, nominated for 14 Academy Awards, walked away with 6. At 32 years of age, Chazelle is the youngest person to win in the category.
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea: Affleck won for his critically lauded turn in Kenneth Lonergan’s devastating drama despite speculation within the industry that he might lose the award to Denzel Washington (Fences) following sexual harassment allegations. The allegations, which date back to 2010, involve two women who worked with him on the experimental film I’m Still Here. Both claims were settled out of court (You can read the full complaints here and here).
Emma Stone, La La Land: No one was surprised, despite the strong support for Isabelle Huppert’s work in Elle, a French-language film which gave her the best reviews of her long and illustrious career.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight: Ali (you may know him as Remy Danton on Netflix’s House of Cards) became the first Muslim to win the Academy Award for Best Actor. His wife gave birth to their first child four days earlier.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Viola Davis, Fences: She knew she’d get it, and she didn’t disappoint with her speech either. Her Oscar win made her the latest performer to win the Triple Crown of Acting. (She won a Tony in 2001 for her work in King Hedley II, another in 2010 for the Broadway rendition of Fences, and an Emmy in 2015 for her work on How to Get Away with Murder. “I became an artist and thank God I did,” she said at the podium, “because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.”
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Moonlight, Barry Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney: “I tell my students that I teach sometimes, be in love with the process not the result, but I really wanted this result because a bajillion people are watching and all you people out there who feel like there’s no mirror for you, that your life is not reflected,” said Jenkins, who reassured viewers neither the Oscars nor organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union, “will not leave you alone, will not forget you.”
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Manchester by the Sea, Kenneth Lonergan: “This movie is about people trying to take care of each other in terrible diversity,” Lonergan said, thanking star Casey Affleck profusely. The director-writer won his first award; he had previously been nominated in 2000 for You Can Count on Me.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“City of Stars,” from La La Land, Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul: The winning trio took away Lin-Manuel Miranda’s shot at EGOT.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
La La Land, Justin Hurwitz: This dude was walking on air.
BEST ANIMATED FILM
Zootopia, Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Clark Spencer: Catch it on Netflix.
La La Land, Linus Sandgren: “This film was made with so much love and passion and struggles, and it was all thanks to you, Damien [Chazelle]. You’re a poetic genius and I’m so happy I met you. I really love you, man,” Sandgren said.
BEST FILM EDITING
Hacksaw Ridge, John Gilbert: "The story of Desmond Doss and his courage and selflessness was as good as you get," Gilbert said in his acceptance speech. "So that was a great start for me. I needed good material."
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
The Jungle Book, Dan Lemmon, Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones: Lemmon was the second New Zealander to win an award during the night. (Hacksaw Ridge’s John Gilbert was the other.)
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
La La Land, David Wasco, Sandy Reynolds-Wasco: It took a while for the musical smash to clean up, but few can dispute the merit of this win.
BEST SOUND MIXING
Hacksaw Ridge, Kevin O'Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie, Peter Grace: Always a bridesmaid, and finally a bride: Winner Kevin O’Connell won his award after 21 previous nominations in the category, making him the Susan Lucci of Sound Mixing.
BEST SOUND EDITING
Arrival, Sylvain Bellemare: The popular sci-fi flick’s only win of the night.
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
Mindenki, Kristóf Deák, Anna Udvardy: The film, wrote Peter Debruge for Variety, “captures the moment when a young person’s faith in the inherent fairness of authority ruptures.”
BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
Piper, Alan Barillaro, Marc Sondheimer: “My parents, my wife, Nancy, my three little pipers at home who inspired this story . . . I love you and may you always have the courage to face your fears,” Barillaro said in his speech.
BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Suicide Squad, Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini, Christopher Allen Nelson: The film beat out Star Trek Beyond and A Man Called Ove for the prize.
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Colleen Atwood: “Undeserved Oscars and Where to Find Them” were the sentiments of many on social media who felt the Jacqueline Kennedy biopic Jackie should have walked away with the award.
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
The White Helmets, Orlando von Einsiedel, Joanna Natasegara: The win marked the first Academy Award for distributor Netflix.
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
O.J.: Made in America, Ezra Edelman, Caroline Waterlow: One of the more involving films you’ll ever have the privilege of seeing.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Filmmaker Asghar Farhadi previously won in this same category for 2011’s A Separation.[Feature Image Courtesy vox.com]