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03 March 2017 @ 11:21 pm
When The Climax Involves Pulling A Steve Harvey - The 89th Academy Awards Recap  

The end of the 89th Academy Awards has marked the curtain's close for the Awards Season's movie chapter, and sure it was ended with a bang. At glance, I thought that a movie like La La Land, who has won a lot of awards right from the first time it's won Critics' Choice all the way to the Golden Globes, could seize the Best Picture as a way to conclude their Awards Season outing in a high note. However, the fate, precisely the people at the Academy, said otherwise: they pulled a Steve Harvey, and the surprise ensued.

While La La Land raked up six wins including for Best Directing (Damien Chazelle) and Best Lead Actress (Emma Stone), the Comedy-Musical, announcement aside, had to concede defeat to Moonlight, a drama of a young boy's life from his youth to the present time. Moonlight took two other wins, which are Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali) which marked the first time the Oscars has its Muslim winner, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Both have fared well in the Awards Season, with La La Land sweeping almost every trophy they are in throughout its campaign, and Mahershala Ali succeeded in achieving such a feat in his category.

All the moment, all the drama, all the tears, and of course all the reaction played a part in what could be the conclusion of the Movie chapter of the 2017 Awards Season. Hopefully you are prepared for a TL;DR ride with a barrage of GIFs and embed tweets!


The award kicks off with Justin Timberlake's performance of "Can't Stop the Feeling" from Trolls, one of the Oscars' nominees in the Best Song category, succeeded with Jimmy Kimmel's opening monologue. It started as a monologue that aims the president Trump (which has been a punching bag in almost award shows due to his erratic behavior), but turned serious as he urged to "took a minute to reach out to one person to have a positive, considerate conversation," and Meryl Streep was given a standing ovation as Kimmel closed the monologue by "giving Meryl Streep a totally undeserved round of applause," a nod to what happened during Golden Globes which resulted in the president himself calling her "one of the most overrated actresses in Hollywood." Meryl says hi, sir.

The prize-giving started with the Best Supporting Actor which Mahershala Ali won, earning him his four successive awards season wins in similar category since Critics' Choice Awards, as well as being the first Muslim to win an Oscar. Initially he was a Christian until at one point he converted to Islam, as he stated in his Golden Globes acceptance speech. Later on, Viola Davis would follow Mahershala's footsteps in winning consecutive awards season wins after winning the Best Supporting Actress category, and her history was in fact being the 23rd actress who won Emmys, Oscars, and Tony. Of course, Viola did not forget to deliver her best speech ever!

The first series of technical categories were given out for Best Makeup & Hairstyling, and Best Costume. Suicide Squad took the victory in the former category, in its first and only win, with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them winning the later, marking the first Harry Potter franchise to win an Oscar for Colleen Atwood. Sound-related categories, being Sound Editing and Sound Mixing, are next. Sylvain Bellemare's work in Arrival earned him the Sound Editing honor, while the combined efforts of Kevin O'Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie, and Peter Grace earned Hacksaw Ridge its first win in the Sound Mixing category.

The Foreign Language film was won by Iran's The Salesman, but what made it interesting is that due to the ban imposed by the president during the SAG Awards timeline, the Iranian director Asghar Farhadi was absent, but left a strong reason why: he did not attend the awards show in protest of President Donald Trump's executive order, even if the order was blocked in the courts, stating his absence "is out of respect for the people of [his] country," and called the ban "inhumane." Taking his place were two prominent Iranian-Americans of engineer and first female space tourist Anousheh Ansari and former NASA director Firouz Naderi, taking the statue on his behalf and reading the his written statement.

Succeeding categories such as Animated Feature and Production Design saw an expected view: Zootopia remained undefeated this Awards Season (apart from losing against Finding Dory in People's Choice Awards) and La La Land began its first series of domination with a Production Design win.


"The Oscars are about the movies and you can't have movies without movie candy, it's un-American." -Jimmy Kimmel (Image: Giphy via Harper's Bazaar)

If in last year's Emmys the A-listers had sandwiches delivered by the Stranger Things kids, Oscars had a better way to deliver their food: dropping them, in other words, raining foods! Candy fell from the stage, in a moderate speed landing using parachutes. This didn't happen just once, as cookies and donuts fell from above later near midnight. It has been understood that this fashion, in Oscars, has been a tradition since 2014 when Ellen DeGeneres ordered a pizza. And of course, Hidden Figures' Taraji P. Henson had the best reaction.

This, however, isn't the night's only icebreakers. The Oscars knew how to put a great show that's both entertaining to the celebrities and the normal people, take the following for example.

A Hollywood Starline tour bus carried a bunch of tourists who thought that they are on a tour, with one of the stops being the Dolby Theater, to see the Oscars dresses and gowns exhibition. As these tourists entered the building, they were in for a surprise: seeing the Oscars live, in person, with real actors and actresses. Amidst the priceless reaction from the tourists, Gary from Chicago was given a special gift from Ryan Gosling and Jennifer Aniston, had an unforgettable moment with Denzel Washington together with his fiancè, and even took a chance to touch an Oscar which Mahershala Ali gave. It was a fun-filled visit for everyone involved!

The host also took time to give the Mean Tweets segment a special one, starting with trolling the president. A-listers read the insult tweets directed at them, for instance Ryan Gosling, whose tweeter claimed that he "had perfect bone structure and fine eyes," Lin-Manuel Miranda looked like "he's getting a 1996 NBC sitcom with his haircut," Miles Teller looked like that Gangnam Style requester at a wedding where "he doesn't know either the bride or groom," and much more. Jimmy Kimmel Live has got you covered on this.


Continuing with the coverage of the award wins, The Jungle Book won Best Visual Effects before the show continued with the bus tourist segment and afterwards the Best Film Editing, which earned Hacksaw Ridge its second win. La La Land also received its second win in the form of Best Cinematography win, bringing a tie to both movies with two wins each.

The music-related categories were up next, which saw Moana's "How Far I'll Go" performed minutes ago by Auli'i Cravalho and Lin-Manuel Miranda (despite Auli'i had an incident during performance) contending against the giant "City of Stars" from La La Land in the Original Song, as well as Trolls' "Can't Stop The Feeling" performed in the opening, both being the last straw for the category win. The Original Score was given to La La Land, and with the expected Original Song win for the same movie, it finally ended Trolls' and Moana's campaign empty-handed.

The gala continued with a tribute segment that commemorated the well-known actors who passed away, which also included Gene Wilder, Debbie Reynolds, and Carrie Fisher. Singer and songwriter Sara Bareilles accompanied the "in memoriam" segment singing Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now." However, it wasn't without its mistakes: an incorrect photo for the late costume designer Janet Patterson was shown, which was actually an image of her friend, Ausralian producer Jan Chapman, who is still alive, although later the Academy has apologized to this mistake. Another notable mistake was the exclusion of Patricia Arquette's transgender sister Alexis, to which she commented that it was "a real slight to trans community."

The Screenplay categories, which continued the gala, were won by Manchester By The Sea and Moonlight. The former marked its first win in the Awards Season, winning Best Original Screenplay as it beat out La La Land, while the latter won Best Adapted Screenplay.


And the awards gala was down to the Big 4: The Lead Actors, Best Director, and the coveted Best Picture. La La Land had four wins, while Moonlight is half of the comedy musical's number, as with Hacksaw Ridge. The last two movies had two different scenarios in order to defeat La La Land: Win Best Director and Best Picture for Moonlight, and Win Best Actor, Best Director, and Best Picture for Hacksaw Ridge. Otherwise, La La Land could add up to four more wins, bringing its total to 10 wins at most. The Big 4 kicked off right after John Legend's performance.

The Best Directing category went to Damien Chazelle of La La Land, marking the movie's fifth win and about to succeed sweeping the Oscars. At 32 years old, he was also named the youngest director to won an Oscar. The movie also scored another win with Emma Stone for Best Lead Actress, earning her the third consecutive award of similar category this season since Golden Globes.

Oh dear, this is awkward... Brie Larson giving the award to Casey Affleck may seem normal, but what if I told you if Affleck had sexual assault allegations? (Image: Getty Images)

The Best Lead Actor was given out to Casey Affleck of Manchester By The Sea, his third in whole awards season. However, it wasn't a pleasant view after his sexual assault allegations were found out, causing Brie Larson, the prize giver and also sexual assault activist, to not celebrate his win in addition to her stepping out from Affleck's speech, and even worse this is the second time she did it in this season, the first being in Golden Globes. She did embrace and kiss the winning actor on the cheek, although she refused to clap for him. It was understood that plenty of people didn't react lightly to Casey Affleck's victory considering his crime.

Finally, the night's biggest prize: Best Picture. La La Land was the clear favorite while Moonlight did have the chance to break the musical's winning streak. Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty presented the award and it was revealed that La La Land completed its conquest to become the Awards Season's best movie, finally winning seven awards. Jordan Horowitz, one of the movie's producers thanked everyone, succeeded by another producers Marc Platt and Fred Berger.

Until the moment where a couple of people walking past them behind in a hurry and realized that there was a mistake.

(Skip to 2:47 for the mistake in question)

Horowitz stepped in after Berger finished his speech, saying Moonlight won the best picture, and that this was "not a joke," as he swiped the correct card from Beatty and showed that it was Moonlight that won Best Picture. Jimmy Kimmel "blamed" Steve Harvey for this and the La La Land producers decided that they give the awards to the correct winners, as Warren Beatty explained what went wrong, which will be discussed on the next section.

And the world was shocked as the gaffe went down.

Aside from the mistakes that took place, other notable moments included the appearance of the 98 year-old Katherine Johnson, former NASA employee in 1953 and the inspiration for Hidden Figures, Gael Garcia Bernal denouncing Trump's wall, and the strong presence of The White Helmets, of which the full list of these best moments, among others can be seen here. The full winners list go here.


For those who followed the night's gala, nobody can get away from the night's biggest twist: La La Land winning Best Picture only to be revealed that it was a mistake and it was Moonlight's victory instead. Warren Beatty explained what went wrong during the reading of the Best Picture winner: Faye Dunaway opened the "Best Actress" envelope which reads "Emma Stone, La La Land." Beatty then showed the correct envelope which contained the correct winner (which is Moonlight). Afterwards Barry Jenkins, the winning movie's director, delivered his speech, and gave his love to La La Land also. Backstage, Emma Stone replied the love letter: "I fucking love Moonlight!"

So what actually went wrong in a twist that made La La Land, the movie with six wins in Oscar, looked like a more graceful version of Toyota's last-minute Le Mans loss in 2016? Emma Stone told backstage that she held her "Best Actress" card with her, and even Beatty himself told LA Times that he looked down the card and thought that there was a misprint. The host Jimmy Kimmel on the other hand appreciated the La La Land producers for their on-stage grace.

Being handed a wrong envelope is the logical reason for this mistake, as pointed out by Neil Patrick Harris's tweet. PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm responsible for tallying the Oscar votes for nine decades, printed two announcements per category for security reasons, handled by two PwC representatives Martha Ruiz and Brian Cullinan, which can clearly explain why both Faye Dunaway and Emma Stone had similar cards. During La La Land's acceptance speech, a stage manager began whispering words, as he revealed that "they read the wrong envelope," signifying that the one who took the envelope possibly mistook the other Best Actress card for a Best Picture card. Barry Jenkins confirmed that he saw two cards, and his teammates were given no explanation for this issue.

Later on, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm responsible for tallying the Oscar votes for nine decades issued an apology which was sent out by the Academy. The firm apologized to Moonlight, La La Land, Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, and the Oscar viewers for the error that was made during the award announcement for the category. The letter continued "the presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered, was immediately corrected. We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred. We appreciate the grace with which the nominees, the Academy, and Jimmy Kimmel handled the situation." PwC also took full responsibility for the series of mistakes and breaches of established protocols during the gala, which also included Brian Cullinan's mistake of handing the backup Best Actress card instead of Best Picture to the presenters, and protocols for correcting it were not followed through quickly enough by Cullinan or his partner. During the announcement, Beatty didn't sure how to proceed with the mistaken card on hand, showing his co-presenter Dunaway the card and read the winner, which the co-presenter read the movie's title in the card: Emma Stone, La La Land.

Days after the gala, it was revealed that the two accountants already mentioned are "permanently removed from all academy dealings," as confirmed by Cheryl Boone Isaacs. She revealed that Cullinan was distracted backstage, tweeting an image of Emma Stone's Best Actress win before it got deleted. The Academy also apologized to the Australian Jan Chapman whose photo was was mistakenly used in the tribute instead of the late Janet Patterson at the same time.

It wasn't a pleasant experience for those involved despite all the reactions, though this year's ceremony will forever be immortalized in their memory for this reason, for both the good and the bad.


With the abundance of nominations and award wins collected from Critics Choice, Golden Globes, SAGs, and now Oscars, La La Land has conquered the Awards Season with only one noticeable scar: a lost in the Best Picture in Oscars against Moonlight, being a clear winner of the movie chapter of the Awards Season with the most amount of wins throughout the Awards Season, without a Best Picture victory. On the other hand, Moonlight had fewer award wins, but had slightly more weight thanks to Mahershala Ali's numerous supporting actor wins, and a Best Drama win in Golden Globes.

Moonlight's victory in the Best Picture is also a worthy moment to celebrate. Dealing with deep issues around race, drugs, and homosexuality, the movie has finally proven its worth to take on the favorites. Mahershala Ali, known as Juan in the movie, has collected almost all the trophies from the four awards this season (with the exception of Golden Globes where Nocturnal Animals' Aaron Taylor-Johnson defeated him), and since then the movie's name become a talking point, and became another Oscars favorite as well despite not as celebrated as La La Land. A worthy opponent to boot.

Not just Mahershala Ali, Viola Davis also succeeded in winning almost, if not all, every movie award she's in this season as well. Coming from something we all knew as How To Get Away With Murder, to the movie role that succeeded in extending her success as an actress, and it wasn't just herself that made it possible: Denzel Washington has created a dream team of themselves, motivating each other and striving for their best. As previously stated, she has become the 23rd actor to win an Oscar, and Emmy, and a Tony.

Nevertheless, both La La Land and Moonlight are the winners in their own right: the former takes the cake as the champion of the Awards Season, while the latter shall be known as the "Movie of the Year." Up there in the movie universe, both Juan, Rose (Troy Maxson's wife), and Mia Dolan raised their hands in unison in front of the crowd, before they bow as they give the salute to the crowd.

And afterwards the curtain for the 2017 Awards Season has finally closed...


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Butterflysnogged on March 4th, 2017 04:59 am (UTC)
It was definitely one heck of an awards show.