2017 Oscar Recap

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La La Land’s rise and fall, Zootopia’s excellence, Moonlight’s zombie impersonation, and Denzel’s diss…

What a crazy night at the 89th Academy Awards. It was a largely uneventful night except for the wacky ending which we will get to in a moment.  I’m also going to recap my Oscar predictions with the actual winners too.  There was a great amount of political energy as we approached the Oscars.  As it turns out, most of the political slights this evening were of the subtle, passive aggressive variety that may or may not have been anti-Trump, all of which lacked the intensive ferocity of Meryl Streep’s Golden Globe speech.  Perhaps the biggest noise came when Director Asghar Farhardi, who won Best Foreign Picture for “The Salesman”, decided to not show up in support of his fellow Iranians and condemnation of Trumps immigration policies.  Host Jimmy Kimmel also tried to engage with President Trump on the President’s favorite social media site, Twitter, but to no avail.

Family seemed to be a big theme at this year’s Oscars as many of the stars chose to forego traditional dates, instead opting to bring along a family member.  I thought this was a nice touch in terms of humanizing these celebrities a little bit.  There were also plenty of sincere victory speeches thanking family, especially  respective mothers. Jimmy Kimmel continued his mock war against Matt Damon.  A group of tourists were also surprise guests when they entered the hall thinking they were going into an Oscar exhibit and instead ended up front and center stage for the whole world to see. 

There were some great musical performances, highlighted by John Legends performance of La La Land’s “City of Stars” and Moana Star Auli’I Cravalho singing her movie’s “How Far I’ll Go” while getting hit in the head with one of the flags.  Marharshala Ali became the first Muslim to win as he took home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.  Viola Davis continued her brilliant run by taking home Best Supporting Actress for her role in Fences.  Pixar and Disney confirmed their place in the hierarchy of animated films by Pixar winning Best Animated Short Film for Piper and Disney taking Best Animated Picture for its complexly magnificent, Zootopia.  Zootopia may have been the best film of the year and fortunately for other contenders, happened to be animated. In one of the other big categories, Casey Affleck took home Best Lead Actor for his emotional performance in Manchester by the Sea, deservedly so despite the look of seeming disapproval on Denzel Washington’s face. Casey’s movie also won Best Original Screenplay. 

The story of the night however was La La Land’s simultaneous dominance and disappointment.  La La Land came in with a record tying 14 nominations but failed to register a win until halfway through the night.  Once it did pick up its first Oscar, it started steamrolling its way to the finish apparently.  Damien Chazelle took home Best Direction and Emma Stone took Best Actress as both were overwhelmingly heavy favorites.  It seemed inevitable that La La Land would win Best Picture.  And it did…for about 2 minutes before the rug was pulled from them in a blunder of epic proportions by Price Waterhouse when they handed the wrong card to Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.  Notably irate, the producer of La La Land held the correct card up for everyone to see, clearly showing Moonlight had won and was gracious in his words, congratulating Moonlight for the win.  It was a huge upset and tremendous come from behind win for Moonlight, perhaps bigger than the Patriots come from behind win in the Superbowl.  Moonlight had lost only to win after the clock had run out.  Back from the dead if you will. What a cruel twist of fate for La La Land as it had the ending of its movie recreated in horrific similarity with us being shown their happy ending and then their bittersweet reality.  They still took home the most Oscars with 6 for the evening but failed to make the history a lot of people (myself included) thought they might as they pushed for most Oscar wins ever.  Congratulations are in order for Moonlight though. Whether it legitimately should have won or was awarded for political purposes is a more complex conversation. The night ended up filled with Moonlight. 

Here are my Oscar category predictions along with the actual results:

Original Screenplay – My pick: La La Land   /  Winner:  Manchester by the Sea – 0/1

Adapted Screenplay – My pick:    Moonlight / Winner:  Moonlight 1/2

Visual Effects – My pick: Kubo and the Two Strings / Winner: The Jungle Book  1/3

Best Animated Short Film – My pick: Pearl  / Winner: Piper 1/4

Production Design – My pick: Passengers / Winner: La La Land 1/5

Original Song – My pick: La La Land “City of Stars / Winner: La La Land “City of Stars” 2/6

Original Score – My pick: La La Land / Winner: La La Land 3/7

Film Editing – My pick: La La Land / Winner: Hacksaw Ridge 3/8

Best Directing – My pick : La La Land/ Winner: La La Land 4/9

Cinematography – My pick: La La Land / Winner: La La Land 5/10

Best Animated Film – My pick: Zootopia / Winner: Zootopia 6/11

Supporting Actress – My pick: Viola Davis / Winner: Viola Davis 7/12

Supporting Actor – My pick: Michael Shannon/ Winner: Marharshala Ali 7/13

Leading Actress – My pick: Emma Stone / Winner: Emma Stone 8/14

Leading Actor – My pick: Andrew Garfield/ Winner: Casey Affleck 8/15

Best Picture – My pick: La La Land / Winner: Moonlight 8/16

So, I finished a disappointing 8/16 for 50%. That’s an F by most academic standards but we grade on a curve here at LemonWire. So that’s pretty good for an Oscar newbie! I definitely plan on being better prepared next year! Congrats to all the winners and looking forward to the upcoming gems of 2017!

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