Being the self-respecting movie addict that I am, I spent Sunday night in front of my television from 1am until 7am to watch my all-time favorite televised event: The Academy Awards. As usual lots of emotions were felt, tears were shed, words were shouted at the screen and many sugary snacks were eaten. Little did I know that by the time the show would end (just as the sun was about to come up, mind you) there would be such an insane plot twist that I actually would have trouble going to sleep after pulling an all-nighter like that. Here are my thoughts on the Horrible Mistake and on the show in general.
Allow me to start off by adding my two cents to the whole La La Land “versus” Moonlight debacle. It is almost painful to see how quickly people have turned against La La Land as it has become the victim of its own hype. I could not be happier that Moonlight won the Best Picture award, but the amount of ridicule and even blame people have been giving the La La Land team is honestly ridiculous. The Academy Awards are supposed to be a celebration of all things cinema and it should bring all people who share this intense passion for film together. All too often people try to make award shows about rivalry and I do not understand why. What I take away from the whole mishap at the end of the evening was the great sense of chivalry and mutual respect between the cast and crew of both Moonlight and La La Land. Producer Jordan Horowitz could not have handled the whole situation more graciously. Why then, is there this need, especially on social media, to take sides in this situation and to viciously mock the La La Land team for what happened? I obviously find it utterly heartbreaking that Moonlight did not get their moment of glory. The fact that a lot of people are mainly going to remember this movie because of what happened, instead of because of the stunning piece of art it is, is quite the tragedy.
When it comes to the winners of the night, I agree with the Academy on most of them. Suicide Squad winning the Best Makeup And Hairstyling Oscar however will never fail to baffle me. I also do not really know how to feel about Casey Affleck’s victory. It is painful to see bad people be rewarded but I cannot deny that he gave a very strong performance in Manchester By The Sea. I also personally would have preferred to see Damien Chazelle win the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, but I can understand why the award went to Kenneth Lonergan. Lastly, as much as I adore Emma Stone and as happy as I am that she won the Best Actress Oscar, I also wish it could have gone to Amy Adams. It is still so strange to me that she was not even nominated for her utterly incredible performance in Arrival. Such a shame.
The show itself was riddled with awkward moments and forced, at times very offensive humor on behalf of the host, Jimmy Kimmel. One of the things that annoyed me the most, besides his numerous digs at Mahershala Ali’s name, was that after the Best Picture moment he stepped up to the microphone and said ‘I knew I would mess this up’. Why on earth would you make this about you?? I would also like to point out that during the In Memoriam segment the Academy failed to pay tribute to Alexis Arquette, a transgendered actor who passed away last year. She had 70 credits to her name and still was not mentioned, which goes to show that the Academy still has a long way to go when it comes to inclusiveness.
I definitely do not want this blogpost to be entirely negative as I really did have a good time watching the show, so here are my favorite moments of the night.
- The fact that Mahershala Ali, Viola Davis, Emma Stone and Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney all won Oscars. I am a huge fan of their work and the amount of talent they possess is insane. I also really enjoyed their acceptance speeches.
- Auli’i Cravalho and Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s stunning performance of How Far I’ll Go from the movie Moana. Her voice gave me goosebumps from start to finish and it is such a beautiful song.
- When Katherine Johnson joined Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe and Taraji P. Henson on stage. I am so grateful to Hidden Figures for bringing her incredible contributions to science to light and seeing her receive the love and attention she deserves was truly heartwarming.
- Anousheh Ansari accepting the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for The Salesman on behalf of director Asghar Farhadi. His statement on why he decided not to attend was very powerful and sends a strong message.
- The fact that so many people were wearing an ACLU ribbon on their outfit.
- Kate McKinnon presenting two awards and just being her hilarious self.
- Meryl Streep receiving a standing ovation simply for being Meryl Streep. What an icon she is.
- And most importantly, seeing an LGBTQ+ movie featuring an all black cast win the award for Best Picture. The importance of this win should not be overlooked simply because of one huge mishap. I am really looking forward to seeing the change this win will bring to the movie business.
My hopes for next year are that the Academy will continue to work on diversity and inclusiveness, that they will find a better host, that they will prevent any more mistakes from happening and that they will continue to celebrate the art of cinema to the best of their capability. I cannot wait to see what this year in film will bring!
Oh, and I will be writing a LOT of reviews about the nominated movies throughout March so be sure to check back from time to time!