Oscars 2017: Humor, Politics & a (La La) Land of Confusion

oscar 2017 highlights

Well there’s that. The Oscars are finally here bringing an end to the fervent speculation and dozens of predictions (including ours) we’ve all been spectators to.

Here’s a quick look at the highlights that involved La La Land‘s big wins, Kimmel playing the orchestra, Streep’s choice of attire, Netflix bagging its first Oscar and a gaffe that rivaled the Miss Universe in the not-so-white Oscars!

First up, La La Land swept away 7 Academy Awards including the best Original Song (City of Stars), best director (Damien Chazelle) and best actress (Emma Stone). No real surprises there considering the film was heavily tipped with 14 nominations.

oscars 2017 winners highlights

At 32, Chazelle became the youngest recipient of the Best Director Award in Oscar’s history, breaking Norman Taurog’s record held for 86 years. Emma Stone’s victory in the Best Actress category is her first Oscar, a win that was almost a surety after winning at BAFTAS and Golden Globes. The actress has reason to be proud, nominated alongside Natalie Portman (Jackie), Isabelle Huppert (Elle), Ruth Negga (Loving) and the lovely Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins).

oscar winners 2017
While Emma’s win was pretty much sealed prior to the ceremony, the best actor award had been divided between Casey Affleck’s riveting performance in Manchester by the Sea, and Denzel Washington’s powerful portrayal of a sanitation worker in Fences.

Affleck, who seemed visibly moved, thanked Denzel Washington, Matt Damon and older brother Ben Affleck in his acceptance speech:

“I wish I had something bigger and more meaningful to say, but I’m just glad to be a part of this community. I’m dumbfounded to be included.”

This is Affleck’s second Oscar nomination and first victory.

Viola Davis won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress as Rose Maxson in Fences. Davis reprised the role from the 2010 Broadway revival of the play. She’s the first African-American woman with three Oscar nominations in the Acting category. In her powerful speech, she said:

“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.”

The deserving Mahershala Ali won the Best Supporting Actor award for his portrayal of a sensitive drug dealer in Moonlight. Although he appears for a limited screen time, his character had enough of an impact swinging major sentiment his way. A good year to him, having become a father recently as well. It’s also apparently the first time a Muslim actor has won an Academy Award. Considering the current political climate under Trump, this is a big statement.

oscar best picture confusion
The Oscars also gave us ample room for confusion, providing a heyday for twitterati, in a reminder of the Miss Universe 2015 mix-up. La La Land held the Best Picture Award before their producers gracefully announced they’d indeed lost to Moonlight.

A raw, sometimes uncomfortable, portrayal of a black gay boy growing up amid drug-infested neighbourhoods in the 80s, Moonlight is visually splendid and emotionally stirring. A worthy winner. Director Barry Jenkins obviously hasn’t recovered.

His twitter handle reads “Still Speechless.”

The ongoing political scenario presented enough opportunity to hear political statements at this year’s show. Foreign Language Film’s winner (The Salesman) director Asghar Farhadi boycotted the event in protest of Trump’s now stayed travel ban. The Iranian filmmaker previously won an Oscar in the same category for his film A Separation in 2012. His powerful acceptance speech read:

“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 entry of immigrants to the U.S.”

Netflix won its first Oscar with The White Helmets, awarded the Best Short Documentary. There is some ambiguity on why the documentary’s cinematographer did not travel to the US. Some reports say US immigration denied him entry or his passport wasn’t available. But his twitter handle attributes his absence to “intensity of work.” More enlightening, though, were his comments before the ceremony.

“If we win this award, it will show people across Syria that people around the world support them, it will give courage to every volunteer who wakes up every morning to run towards bombs.”

VIDEO: DENZEL WASHINGTON MARRIES A COUPLE AT OSCARS 2017

Jimmy Kimmel roused his rivalry with Matt Damon as he heckled the star for giving up Manchester by the Sea and making a movie about “Chinese ponytails instead.” And then played him off as he joined buddy Ben Affleck on stage to announce the Best Original Screenplay.

Denzel Washington officiated a marriage between two unsuspecting individuals to Jimmy Kimmel’s prank. Any doubt you may have on the legitimacy of the marriage was quickly put to bed by Kimmel. “He’s Denzel. So it’s legal”. And if you’re wondering what Meryl Streep finally wore after that tiff with Karl Lagerfield, it was Elie Saab. Nope, no idea either.

On an evening that dazzled with performances from John Legend and Justin Timberlake, one of the most stirring moments came when Katherine Johnson, real-life subject of Hidden Figures, was honored with a standing ovation.

Hidden Figures is a biographical drama on the work of female African-American mathematicians who served at the NASA.

VIDEO: KATHERINE JOHNSON HONOURED AT THE OSCARS

The 98-year-old Johnson’s work was critical to the success of NASA’s space missions at the time. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contributions.

If that welled you up, we’re leaving you with an adorable moment of Kimmel enacting a pose from The Lion King with the Lion’s 8-year-old Indian actor Sunny Pawar. Oh, and Suicide Squad won an Oscar too. For Makeup and Hair. Duh.

You can find the complete list of Oscar 2017 winners here

oscars sunny pawar jimmy kimmel

Recommended: Oscar Best Picture Snubs: 10 Biggest Omissions of All Time


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