Who would have thought that the 2017 Oscars would have given us one of the most controversial moments of the year? The Academy Awards were in full swing on Feb. 26. Hosted by late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, the awards were a mixture of joy, sorrow, confusion and controversy. Let me also say that Black History Month started off with Beyoncé pregnant with twins and ended with “Moonlight,” a queer African-American film, winning Best Picture at the Oscars. Could this be a sign that change is finally happening?
The show started out fine; Justin Timberlake opened with his hit song that I won’t even waste my time discussing. Jimmy Kimmel opened with several “jokes,” ranging from Isabelle Huppert getting past Homeland Security to calling out Meryl Streep for being overrated. (In all honesty, she stole Amy Adams’ nomination, so the criticism, joking or otherwise, is perfectly valid. Meryl could have a kidney removed, and she would still get nominated.)
My favorite outfits of the night belonged to the stars of “Hidden Figures”: Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monáe and Octavia Spencer. The three presented alongside one of the real-life women portrayed in the film, 98-year-old NASA physicist Katherine Johnson.
There was a (questionably) staged moment with “unsuspecting” tourists who clearly were so “unaware” that they were not actually visiting a museum of Oscar gowns, but rather the actual ceremony. Bags of candy also launched down from the sky several times, and Ryan Gosling gave his bag to one of the tourists.
Nicole Kidman was as radiant as always, and she ended up clapping like the Grinch. “Nicole’s Grinchhands” was trending on Twitter as a result, forcing the lovely Aussie to give a literal clapback in response: “you try to clap when you’re wearing half-a-million dollars worth of jewels.” She was very excited when doughnuts floated down from the sky in mini-parachutes toward the end of the show.
Casey Affleck won for his boring film produced by Matt Damon, and I honestly expected Brie Larson to drop the award on his foot. This begs the question: should Hollywood be glorifying those accused of sexual assault, like Affleck? Emma Stone, Viola Davis and Mahershala Ali won for Best Actress, Supporting Actress and Supporting Actor, respectively. Ali is the first Muslim man to win an Oscar, and, according to theGrio, this year’s Academy Awards “marked the most African-American actors to win in a single night since 2007.” However, Davis and Ali, both people of color, won for supporting roles rather than lead roles. Is Hollywood still biased?
Emma Stone won for “La La Land,” and while I detest the film, I liked her speech. She at least mentioned Isabelle Huppert, the lovely French goddess who should have won over her. “Suicide Squad” and “Hacksaw Ridge” combined won more awards than there are Oscar-winning female directors. Is this lack of Oscar-winning female directors a problem? However, this means that since “Suicide Squad” won an Oscar, you can accomplish anything in your life, so go get that job promotion/ring/man.
The most talked-about and most controversial moment in Oscars history occurred that evening, when Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty presented the award for Best Picture. One of the Academy’s accountants accidentally gave Beatty a copy of the Best Actress envelope instead of the Best Picture envelope. Beatty looked confused as he silently read the award and showed it to Dunaway, who assumed it meant “La La Land” won Best Picture, but, in actuality, “Moonlight” was the winner. It was an awkward moment when the “La La Land” team up on stage had to give their award away to the cast and crew of “Moonlight” instead.
Watching Ryan Gosling’s face, I could tell he only did “La La Land” for a paycheck. Warren Beatty looked confused. One could only guess what was going through Faye Dunaway’s mind, but I am sure Bette Davis is up in heaven laughing hysterically at her second female nemesis’ flub, though in the end it all worked out. “La La Land” losing Best Picture is a milestone in history, and, as Alphonse Elric puts it, “humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost. That is alchemy’s first law of equivalent exchange.”
In spite of the horrendous mix-up, I loved the outfits, I didn’t mind the humor and I was glad to have witnessed the powerful “Moonlight,” a film about black queer love and relationships, win Best Picture. The only other question I have is how the Academy is going to outdo themselves next year.
Sources: theGrio, Twitter, Vanity Fair, YouTube