Sunday, February 26, 2017

"Moonlight" Emerges Victorious Over Frontrunner "La La Land," Winning Best Picture At 89th Academy Awards


The 89th Academy Awards just took place and it was a VERY interesting turn of events. For starters, it was "A Lovely Night" for La La Land which took home 6 Academy Awards, including Director for Damien Chazelle and Actress for Emma Stone. But the top prize ended up going to critical underdog Moonlight which also won Adapted Screenplay and Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali. It was such a shocker that when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced La La Land as the winner, it turns out they mistakenly read from Emma Stone's envelope for Best Actress and the true winner was Moonlight. Both a surprising and historic moment in Oscar history. Surprising because Moonlight emerged a dark horse for Best Picture and historic because of how it is a small film by a smaller distributor depicting both the African-American and LGBTQ+ experience that stars relativeky unknown talent up against a safer mainstream crowdpleaser featuring reliable star power.

Honestly, the fact that La La Land had lost categories like Original Screenplay, Film Editing, and the two Sound categories was an indication that it wasn't as strong amongst voters as I thought it was. Hacksaw Ridge winning Film Editing over La La Land is probably one of the few shocks of the night along with Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them winning Costume Design, making it the first film in the Harry Potter universe to ever win an Oscar. Also, even though he had the precursors on his side, Casey Affleck winning Best Actor over Denzel Washington was a slight surprise given the understated nature of his performance, his lack of enthusiasm in his speeches, and the sexual harassment allegations that clouded his awards campaign. But Affleck managed to overcome all of that to pull out the win.

As for the ceremony itself, I thought Jimmy Kimmel did a very nice job hosting. He was a step above both Neil Patrick Harris and Chris Rock and even though the show got political at times, it didn't go as overboard as I thought it would go. There was a skit involving tourists meeting the celebrities that I thought dragged on for too long but other than that, I thought Jimmy Kimmel managed to deliver as a host.

The only other egregious negative regarding the ceremony I can think of is this: Academy Award Winner Suicide Squad. Granted its Oscar was for Makeup & Hairstyling. But still. It was an embarassing win.

But on a lighter note, I will say that I am so glad that we can say these words: Academy Award Winner Viola Davis. She finally claimed her overdue trophy and as always, delivered in her powerful speech. Other highlights include Arrival winning Sound Editing, Manchester By The Sea winning Original Screenplay, and Zootopia winning Animated Feature as expected.

Here are the full list of winners down below:

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 Adapted Screenplay: Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney, Moonlight

Best Documentary Feature: O.J.: Made In America

Best Foreign Language Film: The Salesman

Best Animated Feature: Zootopia

Best Film Editing: Hacksaw Ridge

Best Cinematography: La La Land

Best Original Score: La La Land

Best Original Song: "City Of Stars" from La La Land

Best Costume Design:  Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them

Best Sound Editing: Arrival

Best Sound Mixing: Hacksaw Ridge

Best Production Design: La La Land

Best Visual Effects: The Jungle Book

Best Makeup & Hairstyling: Suicide Squad

Best Live Action Short: Sing

Best Documentary Short: The White Helmets

Best Animated Short:
 Piper