2017: An Oscar Commentary
Oscar night and I’m feeling less prepared than I have in about a decade. I just squeaked the last Best Picture nominee I hadn’t seen (Fences) in under the wire, and I feel like I’ve seen fewer of the films I should have seen than in a long time. But that’s okay, I’ll be able to relate more with most of the TV audience this way! Or something! I’m kind of looking forward to Kimmel’s take on the show . . . And here we go!
First thought: Is this the Oscars, or a middle school dance? What does this have to do with the movies at all? Oh, I guess this is from Trolls . . . Blech. I guess we might as well get this out of the way right off the bat.
Best Supporting Actor: Alicia Vikander is announcing. I think and hope Mahershala Ali will win, but I’d be happy to see a win for Dev Patel or Jeff Bridges . . . Really Michael Shannon, too, I guess. But it does go to Ali! Hooray! Good way to start off the evening.
Best Make-up: Kate McKinnon and Jason Bateman present. Really hoping Star Trek Beyond wins this. Or at least not Suicide Squad. But my hopes are dashed . . . I can’t believe that movie picked up an Oscar win.
Best Costumes: McKinnon and Bateman are presenting this one as well. I think this should go to Jackie, but it could very well be La La Land‘s first win of the night . . . but it, surprisingly, goes to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I’m a bit confused that, out of 3 awards so far, 2 have gone to Suicide Squad and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them . . . Would never have called that a few months ago.
Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae, looking amazing, are welcoming Katherine Johnson to the stage . . . Which is so awesome and amazing.
Best Documentary: Henson, Spencer, and Monae are still up there to announce this. The award goes to O.J.: Made in America, which I am very anxious to see. I’ve heard it’s really great, though I was hoping this would go to 13th or I Am Not Your Negro (the latter of which I am extremely anxious to see).
Dwayne Johnson introduces the performance of the song from Moana, with a cool prologue by Lin-Manuel Miranda. But the real star, of course, is Auli’i Cravalho, who absolutely crushed that performance. I expect to be seeing a lot more of her in the future.
Best Sound Editing and Sound Mixing: Chris Evans and Sofia Boutella are presenting. I’m hoping for an early win for Arrival here, since I don’t think it has a chance at much tonight. And it wins! Yes! Let’s hope that’s a good sign for what’s to come. I’m hoping it will pick up Sound Mixing as well, though I’d take a win for Rogue One. But the award goes to Hacksaw Ridge, which . . . meh. At least it didn’t go to 13 Hours, I guess.
Vince Vaughn is talking about the presentations of Lifetime Achievement Award, which went to 3 industry people and Jackie Chan.
Best Supporting Actress: Mark Rylance announces. I’ll be really surprised if this doesn’t go to Viola Davis, but if it weren’t for her, I’d give it to Michelle Williams. Viola Davis wins! Very exciting! Very cool! Very deserved!
Best Foreign Film: Charlize Theron and Shirley MacLaine are presenting. I haven’t seen any of these, but hopefully the film from Iran will win so we can talk more about Trump’s grotesque travel ban . . . Okay, maybe that’s a bad reason, but I hear it’s also a really great film. And it does win, and we did talk about it, so yay! Looking forward to seeing this film!
Dev Patel is introducing the song from Jim: The James Foley Story, which I have not actually listened to yet. Not bad. Can’t see it winning, but I’d like to see the film.
Best Animated Short: Hailee Steinfeld and Gael Garcia Bernal are presenting. This is Pixar’s one shot at a win this year . . . and they get it! Hooray! Not that I saw any of the other shorts, and I’m bummed about that, but I did really like “Piper.”
Best Animated Film: Steinfeld and Bernal are announcing this as well. I’m really rooting for a Kubo win here, but I expect to be disappointed. Yep, it went to Zootopia, as expected. It really shouldn’t have, but whatever. The Oscars are frequently wrong.
Best Production Design: Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson are presenting, which is lame, because it’s a shout-out to a crappy franchise. Anyway, La La Land scores its first win of the night, which is not surprising. I was kind of hoping for Arrival or Hail, Caesar!, but this is fine.
Best Visual Effects: Felicity Jones and Riz Ahmed (from a vastly, infinitely superior franchise) are announcing this. I’m hoping it goes to Kubo or Rogue One or Doctor Strange, but for some incomprehensible reason it goes to The Jungle Book. Okay, not incomprehensible, because those effects were really impressive . . . Just absolutely not what I would have given it to. Blerg.
Best Editing: Seth Rogen and Michael J. Fox emerge from the freaking Back to the Future DeLorean to announce this award. As always, I want this to go to Arrival, although this could be a nice lone win for Hell or High Water . . . but I expect it will go to La La Land or Moonlight, which would also be fine. But it ends up going to Hacksaw Ridge, which was the last thing I expected, and I have no idea why that film merited this award. I guess I just don’t understand editing . . . Well, actually, I know I don’t, but still this is weird.
Best Documentary Short and Live-Action Short: Salma Hayek and David Oyelowo present. The awards go to The White Helmets and Sing, but I haven’t seen any of the nominees.
John Cho and Leslie Mann are talking about the Science & Technology Awards. Cool stuff, but as usual, we don’t hear a lot about it. And that’s fine, because it’s getting on towards time for this thing to be getting to the point.
Best Cinematography: Meryl Streep and Javier Bardem announce. Really hoping this goes to not La La Land, although it’s overdue for more wins at this point. I’d be happiest about a win for Silence, of course, but it won’t win. Arrival and Lion, though, are equally deserving. Seems that everyone else felt La La Land was overdue as well. I liked this movie, but I’m not seeing why it won this award.
Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are introducing the performance, by John Legend (?), of the nominated songs from La La Land.
Best Original Score: Samuel L. Jackson is the presenter. I always hope for a Thomas Newman win here, but it’d be kind of odd if he finally won for Passengers. I actually think I like La La Land best here, and it wins! I like the overall score better than most of the individual songs. I’m still carrying that torch for Thomas Newman, though. Dude has been nominated 14 times with no win, and he’s the best movie composer working today.
Best Original Song: Scarlett Johansson is announcing. Really really really hoping for Moana to win here. C’mon La La Land vote split! But the award goes to “City of Stars” from La La Land. Lin-Manuel Miranda will have to wait another year before he conquers the entire entertainment universe. This was at least the better of the two nominated songs from La La Land.
Jennifer Aniston is introducing the In Memoriam bit, with a touching mention for Bill Paxton, who just passed this morning.
Best Original Screenplay: Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are presenting. I’d be most happy with a Hell or High Water win here, but I’m not expecting it. This is a category that almost always disappoints me. The win goes to Manchester by the Sea, which is actually a really solid pick. Cool.
Best Adapted Screenplay: Amy Adams is announcing. I really would like to see Arrival take this one, but not really expecting it. Honestly, almost any of these would be great picks, except for Lion, which I don’t think was very well adapted, and probably Fences, which could have done more to adapt its source. The award goes to Moonlight! Okay, I can get behind that!
Best Director: Halle Berry is the presenter. I really want to see this go to Arrival, again, but I’m expecting it to go to La La Land. Yes, it did. That’s okay, I’m fine with a win by Damien Chazelle, not only because La La Land is a fine film and a solid directorial achievement, but also on the strength of the excellent Whiplash.
Best Actor: Brie Larson announcing. I hope and believe that this will go to Denzel Washington, but won’t be surprised or disappointed to see it go to Casey Affleck. Well, I take that back now that it’s happened. I’m a little surprised and a little disappointed, but not much. He was really really good, just not as good as Denzel.
Best Actress: Leonardo DiCaprio presenting. I hope this award goes to Ruth Negga, but I won’t be sad if it goes to Emma Stone. I’d really like to see it go to Natalie Portman, but I don’t think that’s even a possibility, and she’s not even there. Emma Stone gets it! I think I’d be really thrilled about it if this was for anything other than La La Land, because backlash. I’ve been an Emma Stone fan since Zombieland. I think she’s one of the funniest, sharpest leading actresses working today, and it’s great to see her win.
Best Picture: Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway are announcing this award (because it’s the 50th anniversary of Bonnie and Clyde, which is crazy). La La Land feels like a shoe-in at this point, but I’ll say again, I’d pick both Hell or High Water and Arrival over it. Also, Moonlight has some momentum at this point, and I think that’d be a really interesting pick. It wouldn’t be my pick, but it would be kind of exciting to see a film like that win. As far as I know, nothing else is on the radar.
Okay, that was literally the craziest thing I’ve ever seen happen in an Oscar broadcast. Apparently they handed Warren Beatty the wrong envelope, with a repeat copy of Emma Stone’s win for Best Actress, which let them to announce that La La Land had won the award. But in the middle of the acceptance speeches for La La Land, various people rushed on the stage and corrected the error: Moonlight wins Best Picture.
What else is there even to say after that? I’m going to bed.