Barry Jenkins’ coming-of-age drama “Moonlight” walked away with the top award at the Oscars but its victory thunder was stolen by a bizarre announcement mix-up that initially declared “La La Land” as the best picture winner.
The final moment of the ceremony was full of confusion as Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway mistakenly announced the name of “La La Land”. Apparently, they had the wrong envelope.
The producers of “La La Land” were almost through their acceptance speech when the error was detected and Jordon Horowitz graciously called the team of “Moonlight” to accept the trophy.
“There’s been a mistake. ‘Moonlight’, you guys won. This is not a joke,” Horowitz declared.
A shocked Jenkins said, “Even in my dreams, this cannot be true.” He later told reporters that it was unfortunate that things happened the way they did but he was happy that they won best picture.
Host Jimmy Kimmel also called it “unfortunate” while a flustered Beatty clarified that when he opened the envelope and “it said Emma Stone, La La Land. I wasn’t trying to be funny.” The small budget “Moonlight”, Jenkins’ second film, was critically loved for its tender portrayal of a young black man grappling with his sexuality while growing in a rough Miami neighbourhood.
Jenkins and McCraney also won the best adapted screenplay while Mahershala Ali walked away with best supporting actor trophy.
“La La Land”, a clear front-runner thanks to its winning momentum award-after-award, entered the race with record 14 nominations out of which it managed to win six in total including its score and theme song ‘City of Stars’.
Its director Damien Chazelle, 32, who has been called a Hollywood ‘wunderkind’ for his visionary style of story-telling, became the youngest director ever to win while film’s leading star, Emma Stone took home the best actress trophy.
“I realize at a moment like this is a huge confluence of luck and opportunity,” Stone said in her speech.
“I want to thank Damien Chazelle for giving me the opportunity to be part of the project that was so special and once in a life time. I am so grateful to be involved in this film and thank you for your patience,” Stone said as she thanked co-star Ryan Gosling and her family.
“I still have a lot of growing and learning and work to do, and this guy is a really beautiful symbol to continue on that journey.”
“Manchester by the Sea” star Casey Affleck, actor Ben Affleck’s younger brother, won the best actor trophy for his portrayal of a grief-struck man.
“Man, I wish I had something better and more meaningful to say… I’m just dumbfounded that I am included,” said Affleck.
It was a close call for the actor as in the final days, he got a lot of negative press for 2010 sexual harassment allegations and many thought Denzel Washington may triumph over Affleck.
Washington may have lost but his “Fences” co-star Viola Davis predictably walked away with a trophy in the best supporting actress category.
In an eloquent speech, Davis, 51, highlighted the importance of telling diverse stories.
“People ask me all the time, ‘What kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola?’ And I say, exhume those bodies. Exhume those stories. The stories of the people who dreamed big and never saw those dreams to fruition. People who fell in love and lost,” Davis said.
She hailed her co-star and director Washington as ‘O Captain! My Captain’ and paid tribute to August Wilson for inspiring the movie with his play.
Dev Patel lost out in Oscars!
British-Indian Dev Patel lost out in the best supporting actor category in Oscar Awards but his “Lion” co-star Sunny Pawar had an adorable moment with Kimmel, who recreated the signature lift from “Lion King” with the child.
President Donald Trump, predictably, was the running theme of the night with Kimmel throwing the first barb in his monologue.
“I want to say thank you to President Trump. 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,” he said.
Kimmel also asked the audience to give “a totally undeserved round of applause” to Meryl Streep, who was called overrated by Trump after she criticised him at the Golden Globes.
Later in the show, Kimmel trolled Trump by tweeting at him: “U up?” and “Meryl says hi.” The messages to @realDonaldTrump were displayed on the big screen on the Dolby stage, to much audience laughter.
Many of the celebrities sported blue ribbons as a sign of protest against Trump’s travel ban.The Academy used the best foreign language film Oscar category to hit at Trump’s travel ban by giving it to Iranian director Asghar Farhadi for “The Salesman”.Farhadi, a previous Oscar winner for “A Separation”, had declined to travel to LA for the ceremony to protest Trump’s travel ban against seven Muslim countries, including Iran. In a written statement that was read out onstage, Farhadi said, “My absence is out of respect for the people of my country, and those of the other six nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans the entry of immigrants to the US.”Makeup artist Alessandro Bertolazzi, co-winner of the Oscar for best makeup and hairstyling for “Suicide Squad”, said, “This is for all the immigrants.”Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal also criticised the immigration policy, saying, “As Mexican, Latin-American migrant worker and as a human being I am against any kind of wall that wants to separate us.”Best adapted screenplay winners, “Moonlight” director Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney, also reflected on diversity.”…all you people out there who feel like there’s no mirror for you, that your life is not reflected, the Academy has your back, the ACLU has your back, we have your back.”
McCraney dedicated the award to “all those black and brown boys and girls and non-gender conforming.” Original screenplay award went to Kenneth Lonergan for “Manchester by the Sea” for his moving portrayal of grief.”Zootopia”, an allegorical story about celebrating equality, won best animated feature.”La La Land” also won best cinematography and production design.Mel Gibson’s World War II drama “Hacksaw Ridge” won two trophies — for best film editing and sound mixing.”Arrival”, which had entered the competition with eight nominations, won just one trophy for sound editing.”The Jungle Book”, starring Indian-American Neel Sethi, won an Oscar for visual effects while “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” bagged best costume design.Documentary feature went to “OJ: Made in America” while documentary short went to “The White Helmets”, about Syrian volunteers of the same name.The group, however, had to skip the ceremony due to Trump’s travel ban.Live action short and animated short went to “Sing” and “Piper”, respectively.