The Watchers

The Watchers

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Awards Season 2017: The 89th Annual Academy Awards

Well, that was quite something. 

There's several things for which this Oscars ceremony will be remembered for, but giving the biggest award of the night to the wrong film will be right up there for years to come. Due to some form of cock-up, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway mistakenly named La La Land as the Best Picture winner, only to then find out that Moonlight had won it instead! Cue a lot of embarrassment and a very gracious deferral from the producers of La La Land. 

This was the first time in a few years that I was actually able to watch the broadcast live (via Sky Cinema). I thought Jimmy Kimmel was an affable host. Despite his very self-effacing demeanour, the vast majority of his jokes hit (and he was able to admit the ones that didn't). His opening monologue was political without being tubthumping, and I did particularly enjoy his banter with Meryl Streep and the comment that, given the Trump administration, at least the Oscars don't look so racist now. I quite liked the mean tweets section and the stunt with the tour bus mostly worked, if it did drag on a little. 

As you can imagine, several of the speeches were political in nature, some more subtle than others. The most pointed came when the Best Foreign Language Film of the Year was announced. Iranian director Asghar Farhadi (who directed The Salesman) was initially unable to attend the event due to the imposed travel ban. When the ban was lifted, he chose to boycott the event and instead sent Iranian engineer Anousheh Ansari to represent him. When The Salesman won, Ansari read a politically charged statement on Farhadi's behalf. 

Other noteworthy happenings from the ceremony: sound mixer Kevin O'Connell won his first Oscar (for Hacksaw Ridge) on his twenty-first nomination; Best Documentary Feature winner O.J.: Made In America is now officially the longest film to win an Oscar (coming in at an impressive 7hrs 47mins); Damien Chazelle is now the youngest Best Director winner at the tender age of 32. 

I wasn't surprised by 'City Of Stars' winning Best Original Song, although I think of the two songs nominated from La La Land I actually prefer 'Audition'. The musical numbers were scattered nicely through the evening, with Justin Timberlake kicking the evening off with a performance of 'Can't Stop The Feeling' then a wonderfully assured performance of 'How Far I'll Go' from Moana, sung by 16-year old Auli'i Cravalho. There was also a very moving In Memoriam section, beautifully accompanied by Sara Bareilles singing 'Both Sides Now' by Joni Mitchell. 

I was also really pleased by the Best Costume Design win for Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, although it still feels very wrong that you can now call Suicide Squad an Oscar-winning film (picking up Best Make-Up and Hairstyling)

As for my predictions... well, 5 out of 6 is alright (especially given the Best Picture farrago). As I said in my predictions, if any film was going to usurp La La Land from Best Picture, it would be Moonlight. All other predictions were correct and I thought Mahershala Ali, Viola Davis and Emma Stone all gave very lovely acceptance speeches. 

Despite the mistake at the end, La La Land was still the runaway winner of the night with six Oscars to its name. Moonlight had three, with Manchester By The Sea and Hacksaw Ridge both winning two. Despite multiple nominations, there was nothing for Lion, Hell Or High Water, Hidden Figures or Jackie

Below is the full list of winners at the 89th Annual Academy Awards:

Best Motion Picture of the Year: Moonlight

Best Actor: Casey Affleck (Manchester By The Sea)

Best Actress: Emma Stone (La La Land)

Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)

Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis (Fences)

Best Director: Damien Chazelle (La La Land)

Best Original Screenplay: Manchester By The Sea

Best Adapted Screenplay: Moonlight

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year: Zootopia

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year: The Salesman

Best Cinematography: La La Land

Best Editing: Hacksaw Ridge

Best Production Design: La La Land

Best Costume Design: Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Suicide Squad

Best Original Score: La La Land

Best Original Song: 'City Of Stars' (La La Land)

Best Sound Mixing: Hacksaw Ridge

Best Sound Editing: Arrival

Best Visual Effects: The Jungle Book

Best Documentary (Feature): O.J.: Made In America

Best Documentary (Short Subject): The White Helmets

Best Animated Short Film: Piper

Best Live Action Short Film: Sing

Congratulations to all winners!

So that's it. Awards season is over for another year (and what a way to end it too!). As William Makepeace Thackeray says at the very end of Vanity Fair: 'Come children, let us shut up the box and the puppets, for our play is played out.'

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to bed. It's been something of a long night.


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