Monday, 27 February 2017

The Oscars: 2017

Quite frankly there is only one place to start and that’s right at the end. Up until that point, the ceremony was a quite predictable affair, but when Moonlight was announced as the actual Best Picture only minutes after La La Land was announced as the winner, it was a twist ending that M.Night Shyamalan would have been proud to pen. 

Even though La La Land would have been an acceptable winner, Moonlight is the better film as its a more profound piece of cinema whilst La La Land serves as excellent escapism. Not that that’s a bad thing, movies are just as much about escapism than they are about tackling profound and important issues. I do feel credit has to be given to the La La Land nominess on stage during that awful mix up for the graciousness in the way they handed the award over to Moonlight. I also feel great sympathy for Warren Beatty who, in hindsight, perhaps should have announced it was the wrong card (he clearly realised something was amiss) but blame can’t be attached to him as he’s not a professional presenter.

Apart from the mix up at the end there really wasn’t any gigantic shocks, Trump got some flack and Jimmy Kimmel tweeted him during the show, Mahershala Ali became the first Muslim to win an Oscar for acting, Damien Chazelle became the youngest ever Oscar winning Best Director and Sound Mixer Kevin O’Connell finally won an Oscar after his 21st attempt. It was slightly surprising that La La Land didn’t win any Sound or Editing awards (they went to Hacksaw Ridge and Arrival) but it did take the gongs for Best Score (shocking…), Best Cinematography, and Best Original Score, all of which were deserved. What wasn’t quite as well deserved was Emma Stone winning Best Actress who beat the likes of Natalie Portman (Jackie), Ruth Negga (Loving), and Isabelle Huppert (Elle). The latter two films I have yet to see, but Portman deserved the Oscar more than Stone and there were plenty of unnominated performances (such as Rebecca Hall in Christine) who I felt were better than Stone.

With the scandal following him closely, Casey Affleck was a mixed winner on Twitter. His performance is an incredibly powerful yet understated one, but many will have an strong negative opinion on him and will allow that to cloud their feelings when judging his performance (understandable if regretful). Viola Davis won an award she should not have won in the Best Supporting Actress category not because her performance was weak,but because she was nominated for the wrong category as she was clearly in a leading role. The Jungle Book took home the Oscar for Best Visual Effects, Suicide Squad became an Oscar winning film (winning hair and makeup), and the Harry Potter franchise won its first Oscar winning Best Costume Design.

Much of the build up was about how political the Oscars would get, Donald Trump (I don’t respect him enough to address him as the President) made a song and dance about not watching the Oscars because he was busy and he wasn’t given as much stick as many expected him to get. Trump’s travel ban where he restricted people from six Muslim countries from traveling to America was at the centre of attention when Asghar Farhadi won Best Foreign Film for The Salesman. Farhadi did not attend the awards in protest at how his countryman (and others) were being treated by such an inhumane and racist law.

Jimmy Kimmel did a fine job hosting even if a few of his jokes didn’t land, but his constant digs at his friend Matt Damon was a source of amusement throughout the night. He was a safe pair of hands, and never went above board (though people are kicking up a fuss about him mocking someone’s name) and it’s likely he’ll be invited back again. Overall, it was a fun ceremony to watch that didn’t have any major surprises until that mix up at the end that changed the entire complexion of the night. There will be, depressingly, people saying that Moonlight won for “diversity” reasons but those who think that should check their subconscious racism because saying thing like suggests that black films only win for diversity reasons and not the quality of the film.


  1. I liked MOONLIGHT more than LA LA LAND... but I couldn't enjoy the moment due to the screw up. I kept telling my friends "No, this is a joke, right?" Putting that aside, I didn't really like the show:
    -I barely laughed. In fact, the "Jimmy Kimmel hates Matt Damon" joke got old after a while. The Mean Tweets edition was supposed to be Oscar-themed... but some of the celebrities that read them weren't even nominated that night!
    -A lot of the technical winners were surprises, but Directing, Screenplay and Acting were the most predicted ones.
    -The bit with the tourists was a little too long, and it's one of the factors that made the show last 4 hours (it ended here at around 6:30 AM!).
    -I don't like that John Legend sang the LA LA LAND songs instead of Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, nor that he didn't sing them in their entirety while the other nominated songs were (nice touch of adding a rap by Lin-Manuel Miranda).
    -I liked those moments were a presenter would comment on a classic and then come out with one of the stars of the classic.

    "it was a twist ending that M.Night Shyamalan would have been proud to pen."
    He actually tweeted a joke about that. Look it up.

    "he’s not a professional presenter."
    That's a thing?

    "Donald Trump (I don’t respect him enough to address him as the President)"

    1. Yep. It ended I was up all of the night watching it from 11.20pm. It ended around 5.30am for me.

      I guess I found the Matt Damon bit funny because insulting my friends (and them insulting me) is a massive part of my relationship with them.

      I have seen M. Night's tweet (very funny and self aware), I actually wrote that sentence before I had any idea he tweeted that.

      and there are certainly professional TV presenters, someone like Jimmy Kimmall may have handled the last minute mix up better than Beatty and Dunaway.

      The tourists bit didn't feel real to me

    2. Ah, you meant host. Presenter can mean host but, in these shows, it's someone who just presents a specific award instead of hosting the whole ceremony.

  2. I can't stop watching the clip of Matt Damon being played off by the will never not be funny!
    All the hate Warren Beatty has been getting made me sad, it wasn't even him who read out La La Land! He was clearly trying to get Faye to see something was wrong with the card :(

    1. Yeah. Warren doesn't deserve any blame

  3. I liked Kimmel has a host, he's probably been my favorite of of the recent ones we've gotten. His feud with Damon gives me life.

    Poor Natalie, she should've won :(

    1. Completely agree. Portman was the best of the year for me.