What a night! The ceremony opened with a lively performance of “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” by Justin Timberlake along with some backup dancers. It set the tone for an upbeat and fun show. Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue was surprisingly funny; I was pleased with his jokes and surprises. The bus full of tourists was definitely one of my favorite parts of the night because (as far as we know) it was honest. Kimmel’s famous “Mean Tweets” segment, which is celebrities reading mean tweets about themselves, added his personal touch to the night. My other favorite bit was when Kimmel was talking to Sunny Pawar, the 8 year-old star of the first half of Lion. He didn’t win anything but it was apparent that he was psyched to just be there.
I did end up seeing all but one of the movies nominated for Best Picture (I didn’t see Hell or High Water). I am upset that Hidden Figures and Lion didn’t win anything because they both told such incredible and true stories.
However, I can honestly say that all the awards that won were well deserved. I am especially thrilled that La La Land won for cinematography and the soundtrack/song. I still listen to that soundtrack everyday and it is breathtaking. Emma Stone’s performance was so raw and heartfelt (as I describe in another post about the film) and I am so happy she won Best Actress in a Leading Role! John Legend performed a medley consisting of “Audition and “City of Stars,” which were both nominated for Original Song (“City of Stars” won in that category). Damien Chazelle is now the youngest to take home the award for Directing. This honor opens a whole new world for him as a director because he has now earned the trust of producers and executives. I am excited to see what he creates in the future!
ESPN’s 8-hour special entitled OJ: Made in America won for Documentary Feature. Yes, I did watch all 8 hours of it (and it was worth it). It didn’t just go through the trial; it went all the way back to the LA riots and gave background information on all those events, which is important to know in the context of OJ’s trial. Netflix’s The White Helmets won for Documentary Short. The 40-minute documentary is about a group in Syria called The White Helmets who are the first on site right after a bombing to save innocent lives and help those who are stuck under rubble. It’s fast-paced and informative that’s worth the watch.
Viola Davis received the award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Fences. Her speech was elegant and sincere (not to mention that she looked absolutely stunning in her red gown). Mahershala Ali won in the male category for the same award. He is the first Muslim to win an Oscar, which is groundbreaking especially because of the current political climate and the discrimination against Muslims. Though he doesn’t have a lot of screen time in Moonlight, his character is very important and plays a huge role in shaping the main character, Chiron.
Another actress who looked beautiful in a red gown was 16-year-old Auli’i Cravalho (above), who is the voice of Moana. She sang “How Far I’ll Go,” which was nominated for Original Song, with an original prologue by Lin-Manuel Miranda. During her performance, she unfortunately got hit in the head with a flag that one of the backup dancers were holding, but she kept going like a professional and she made it look like it didn’t even happen! Zootopia won for Best Animated Feature, which I was so excited about because it was such an amazing movie that everyone should watch, not just kids! There are messages in the film about discrimination and friendship that are so important for children to see and understand. It’s currently streaming on Netflix so if you don’t know what to watch, definitely give it a shot (I promise you’ll be crying at the end).
Of course, one of the most talked about moments of the night was when La La Land was mistakenly announced for winner of Best Picture. It was just a bad situation because they were halfway through their acceptance speeches when they realized they didn’t win! It took away from the excitement for Moonlight. Nevertheless, I am glad that Moonlight ended up winning Best Picture because the film tells a story that might be uncomfortable for some but it’s a conversation that needs to happen and shouldn’t be ignored.
I can’t end this blog post without mentioning that Taraji P. Henson and Janelle Monae looked AMAZING. They were without a doubt my two favorites on the Red Carpet last night. Just see for yourselves.