My first sentence for this Oscar review began like this:
The 89th Academy Awards may not be remembered as particularly unique. Justin Timberlake’s knockout opening set the bar high, but the energy left the room quickly.
Check that. What happened at approximately 12:15am was an Oscar first.
The final award for Best Picture was announced. Except it was the wrong winner. A confused Warren Beatty passed the card to Faye Dunaway who read La La Land. As a producer was thanking his team, a man walked up to the mic saying that was incorrect. The Best Picture was actually Moonlight.
What just happened? Was it Kimmel’s last joke of the night?
As the confused audience rose to its collective feet, it became clear that it was not a joke. Moonlight was indeed the winner, and the only upset of the night. What a finale!
Jimmy Kimmel’s first stint as host was serviceable, gently noting the political elephant in the room, but more often closely mimicking the format of his late night TV show. Kimmel left it to the winners (and some presenters) to make the heavy political statements while he kept the evening light and goofy.
One bit involved following a tour bus and rerouting its unknowing passengers through the front row of the celeb-filled auditorium. Another bit involved dropping bags of sweets from the ceiling several times throughout the evening. Perhaps the funniest was an attempt to play Matt Damon off the stage – as a presenter.
The show was punctuated by short clips of actors sitting in a screening room talking about their favorite actor in performance. And two skits, Mean Tweets and live tweeting the President – both somewhat flopped.
Once again, Oscar love was spread around despite the 14 noms for La La Land. Six of the nine best picture nominees went home with at least one award:
- La La Land / 6
- Moonlight / 3
- Hacksaw Ridge / 2
- Manchester By The Sea / 2
- Fences / 1
- Arrival / 1
- Shocker: The wrong Best Picture winner was announced.
- Mahershala Ali became the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar.
- Damien Chazelle became the youngest person to win the Oscar for Best Director.
- Asghar Farhadi won for The Salesman, and in his absence sent a speech citing the ban on Iran, along with other countries.
- Accessory of the evening: #blueribbon #aclu
Elegance was the choice for many.
- Best of the Women: Viola Davis and Ruth Negga stunning in red, Naomie Harris glistening in a white short/long number with the best alternating-color shoes of the night; Emma Stone shimmering in champagne-fringe and Nicole Kidman in a nude embroidered column; Brie Larson sultry in black velvet; and Octavia Spencer shining in a silver-feathered number.
- Best of The Men: John Legend, smart in a classic black tuxedo; Dev Patel and David Oyelowo elegant in white tuxes with black bowties.
- Lowlights: Dakota Johnson in a super-complex gold mess; Scarlett Johansson in an oddly fitted belted froth; and was Ryan Gosling prom-bound? Ruffles?
The 89th Academy Awards is now history, and what an ending. As for my score: A dismal 14 out of 24. I’ll get ‘em next year.
Oscars image: Edible Oscars from Wolfgang Puck, at the Governors Ball 2017, frame capture