And it wasn’t even a movie plot. It was real life, the Show of Shows dedicated to movies that became somehow more entertaining than any movie. The 89th Academy Awards broadcast has taken its place as one of the most stunning ceremonies in its broadcast history.
The Gaffe of Gaffes – La La Land’s short-lived Best Picture win – made for mass onstage confusion. La La Land’s team accepted what it thought was its Best Picture Oscar award from Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, but moments later realised it wasn’t theirs to keep. An envelope slip-up resulted in a tense standoff between the night’s two favourite films.
La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz took to the mic and graciously admitted there was a mistake, that Moonlight was the rightful winner. He grabbed Beatty’s corrected card and showed it to the audience before handing the Oscar to Moonlight producer Barry Jenkins. It was an eleventh hour slam dunk and the crowd roared.
It put David Niven’s streaker and Jack Palance’ push-ups and any other Oscar moment you can recall in the shade. A moment of this kind of drama may never be eclipsed.
It wasn’t Warren Beatty’s fault. He was given the wrong envelope by some poor stage helper who today is likely without a job. Not Beatty’s fault. He tried.
— Jarett Wieselman (@JarettSays) February 27, 2017
While there were memorable moments calling the White House and Presidency to task without naming names. (I’d be frightened too) The most poignant was a message from absent Iranian director Asghar Farhadi whose film The Salesman won Best Foreign Language Picture via his surrogate, Anousheh Ansari, Iran’s first woman in space.
Stars wore blue ribbons to show solidarity with the American Civil Liberties Union and gold pins to show support for Planned Parenthood, both in peril under the new presidency.
There were other political moments but I expected more from major celebrities, given they were on the world’s biggest broadcast platform and have voices that are heard. We expected La La Land to sweep the floor with Moonlight and to wipe #OscarsSoWhite from the slate forever.
People of colour were magnificently represented with so much love coming to Moonlight, Hidden Figures, Fences and more. Let’s hope for more diversity in future films. #OscarsSoInclusive.
Moonlight actually won Best Picture despite the La La Land hyper hype. It featured the first Black Muslim, Mahershala Ali, to win Best Supporting Actor. It was the first openly LGBTQ film to win Best Picture. And it was a love fest.
The first time that an Oscar winner welcomed a baby girl a couple of days before the ceremony and starred in another major crowd pleaser and nominee – Hidden Figures – to win the Trifecta of Happiness.
There was much for Canadians to cheer. Ryan Gosling charmed looking vintage spectacular, reading mean tweets like a pro, welcoming unsuspecting bus tourists and I believe sharing his red vines from heaven with the unflappable #GaryfromChicago and his fiancée.
Montreal’s Sylvain Bellemare won Sound Editing for Arrival, and praised its Quebec director Denis Villeneuve. Alan Barillaro of Chippewa won an Oscar for Pixar’s animated short “Piper.”
Meanwhile, Michael J Fox and Seth Rogen strengthened their bromance onstage as presenters.
There was so much Canada at the Oscars but I’m not sure that qualifies as news these days. We are used to seeing our talents onstage at the movies and at awards shows, winning and creating and competing.
The ceremony was fun, friendly and accessible; Kimmel was a perfectly balanced breath of fresh air poking fun at a game Matt Damon and tossing just the right number of grenades. His warmth added a breezy sense of inclusion that is rarely sustained throughout an entire Oscar show.
He brought in the bus people, dropped candy from above, lifted Lion’s tiny Sunny Pawar above his head a la Lion King and pretended to play off Matt Damon who was presenting. Kimmel was as stunned anyone at the Gaffe but collected himself, blamed himself and promised never to come back. Come Back Jimmy!
And seriously, folks, Justin Timberlake really knows how to get a crowd dancing in the aisles!
BFCA BTJA AWFJ TFCA FIPRESCI