The 89th Annual Academy Awards in Review

The Oscars have come and gone, and after having a few days to think about the ceremony, it’s time to discuss, and talk about what was good and what can be improved.

In case you’d like to refresh your memory, I made some predictions a couple of weeks ago about the big winners of the night. I’m happy to say that I successfully predicted the main seven correctly (okay, so I predicted La La Land with Moonlight as a “second-chance” winner. Hey…maybe my article caused the…never mind, we’ll get to it later). To refresh your memory, here were some of the big winners:

Best Picture: Moonlight

Best Director: Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Best Actor: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

Best Actress: Emma Stone, La La Land

Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis, Fences

Best Original Screenplay: Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea

Best Cinematography: Linus Sandgren, La La Land

The show was hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, fresh off his gig hosting the Emmys last fall. He was hilarious, and a lot of his routine relied on the ongoing feud between him and Matt Damon. Whether it be jabs at him during the monologue, an entire scene attacking Damon’s film We Bought A Zoo, or introducing him with co-presenter Ben Affleck as, “Ben Affleck and guest” (side note: seeing Matt and Ben present the award they won 20 years after winning it was an emotional moment), the feud was alive and well.

Other than these Damon moments, Kimmel relied on his deadpan sense of humor and a lot of bits, surprisingly. He got a group of people on a Hollywood tour bus into the Dolby Theater as a surprise. They got to run around taking selfies with the A-List celebrities for a bit. The best part was the Mean Tweets: Oscars Edition. Nothing, to me, is better than when a well-known host uses his best comedy moments on a bigger stage. 

Last year, the Oscars were ridiculous for one reason: they changed the order of the awards. They started with Best Screenplay to “signify the moviemaking process,” which is ridiculous. This year, I felt such relief when they announced Best Supporting Actor first. That is where it belongs and it will stay there. 

Some new additions to the theme of Inspiration (I think that’s what it was. Kimmel dropped it in there in one line and it got lost) were the montages of past winner speeches before every acting category. They were a nice reminder of some of the most inspiring speeches we have seen in the past.

My favorite additions were the Seth Rogen/Michael J. Fox and Charlize Theron/Shirley MacLaine segments. These pre-recorded moments featured both Rogen and Theron in an empty movie theater watching performers that inspired them when they were young. After having our hearts significantly warmed, we got to see Rogen and Fox, and Theron and MacLaine, present awards together. 

The thing is, with everything mentioned above, the broadcast was crowded. I didn’t know if they wanted me to laugh my head off, or feel incredible sentimentality and emotion. But can’t it be both? No, not in a 4-hour broadcast, in between speeches and awards and commercials. Regardless, it was a fun night.

Okay, so I have saved the worst for last, the elephant in the room. And yes, by now we all know that La La Land was mistakenly given the Best Picture award, but in my mind only one thing is true: Moonlight won best picture. This isn’t a story about La La Land’s grace at giving up an award that was never theirs to begin with. Yes, I hope Jordan Horowitz and Barry Jenkins run away together and make a billion films, but that’s about it. 

Next year, they need to keep true on certain promises. The producers (eye roll) Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd, made a huge deal about it being a shorter broadcast, but it ran very long. They’re also going to need another safe host (think back to those Ellen Degeneres and Neil Patrick Harris years), since Kimmel set a very particular, slightly jumbled tone for the entire evening.

Regardless, none of us can wait until March 4, 2018!