Oscars 2017: 26 Highlights, Including ‘La La Land’ Winning By Mistake


No one is talking about anything this morning 
other than Moonlight stealing the Oscar from La La Land. (Has Trump Tweeted yet about illegals voting?) After the latter was mistakenly named Best Picture – we knew something was up because Beatty wasn’t sure what was going on with the envelope – Jordan Horowitz, one of La La Land’s producers, stepped in before things got really out of hand and declared, “No, Moonlight? You guys won.” And held up the correct card for the world to see.

How did the rest of the ceremony compare to this, not only the craziest Oscars moment ever but one of the most memorable live fuckups since the invention of television? Very poorly – which is why we put together this list of all the evening’s highlights, since you wouldn’t hear about (or remember) them otherwise.

  1. Can you believe that Justin Timberlake tune, which opened the show, is the #1 single of all of 2016? Additionally, can you believe that the track had only about a 2% chance of beating some indie piano ballad for Best Original Song?
  1. Jimmy Kimmel’s opening monologue was very talk show host-y, as expected, with a lot of one-liners designed seemingly to cut away to Ryan Gosling and Matt Damon. There was a great joke in which Kimmel sarcastically complimented Andrew Garfield for losing 40 pounds for a role – “like every actress ever.” (Later on, he made a Doctor Strange/Ben Carson joke – how hadn’t anyone thought of that before?)
  1. Best Supporting Actor Mahershala Ali, the first-ever Muslim winner, made a moving speech, thanking his wife for being “a soldier through this process,” having just given birth a few days beforehand. He also gave a shoutout to the teachers in his life: “And one thing that [my teachers] consistently told me is … It’s not about you. It’s about these characters. You’re in service to these stories, to these characters. I’m so blessed to have had an opportunity.”
  1. Shame on the lame-ass in-house audience for being offended by Kimmel’s O.J. joke. Did the movie really restore his reputation that much?
  1. The Oscars are still so afraid of the future, Lin Manuel-Miranda, well on his way to an E.G.O.T., is relegated to a tacked-on prologue to his Original Song contender.
  1. #HalleBerrysHair
  1. Two big surprises early on ruined by chances of winning the Oscar pool: Fantastic Beasts picked up Costume Design and Arrival won for Sound Editing over Hacksaw Ridge. 
  1. Viola Davis’ acceptance speech (after being named Best Supporting Actress) and the reading of Asghar Farhadi’s missive (after winning Best Foreign Film for The Salesman) were the only two times that my entire Oscars party sat in silence for more than 20 seconds. And what great speeches! (More about the controversy here.)
  1. The earliest highlight: director Alan Barillaro, a co-winner for best animated short for Piper, began choking up as he dedicated his Oscar to his three “Pipers” at home. Forgive the corny joke, but he’s now the obvious frontrunner at the Dad of the Year Awards.
  1. Did Gael Garcia Bernal refer to himself as a “migrant worker”? Wait, didn’t he come to America on the backs of the success of Amores Perros and Y Tu Mama Tambien? Though the message was well-intentioned, the delivery was a little off-key.
  1. The stars of Fifty Shades BlackOps, who are apparently not happy co-workers, having to joke their way through their intro to Best Production Design. Here, La La Land finally wins an Oscar well into the ceremony – and it goes to David Wasco and Sandy Reynolds-Wasco, an adorable married couple honoring each other in their speeches. Hurrah for this one.
  1. What to say about the tour bus prank? One of the most enjoyable ever unscripted Oscar moments – topped later in the evening by the Best Picture snafu, of course – and clearly, Kimmel realized they were on a roll and began ad-libbing jokes (although the “Jason Bateman’s house is the next stop, is the code still 1297?” one may have been canned.) Who isn’t jealous of these people, who still didn’t even seem to realize their luck and their 2017-Ken-Bone-level virality even at the end of the bit? Shout-out to homie who came rolling in, selfie-ready. 
  1. Most of the montages were pointless, worthless nostalgic trips, but the featurette about foreign films and foreigners who love American movies was well-done, diverse and, unfortunately, missing identifiers (I think I saw clips from Talk To Her, Cinema Paradiso, Day For Night and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg in there before the American movies, all of which were introduced and labeled with subtitles.)
  1. Riz Ahmed went from obscure rapper to the most talked-about actor on HBO to a leading role in a Star Wars film to Oscars presenter in less than a year. No comment on that, just… lucky guy.
  1. The Jungle Book, which picked up a Visual Effects Oscar for Disney, of all studios, is an amazing technical achievement – it’s just a shame that the technology simply isn’t convincing yet (same with Rogue One.) Nonetheless, Jon Favreau should now get an honorary Oscar for directing a functional, entertaining movie that is 99% visual effects, which the rest of Hollywood forgot to do this year. (We’re looking at you, Batman v Superman.)
  1. #SethRogensShoes.
  1. Good one Netflix for bringing The White Helmets (winner for Best Documentary Short) to an American audience – hopefully, more people stream this short after the Oscars.
  1. That Mean Tweets segment is always terrible, even at the height of its popularity on Jimmy Kimmel Live, although that Sling Blade/Casey Affleck joke and hearing De Niro actually nailed a line of dialogue (and a classic “fuck you,” to boot) made it worth sitting through.
  1. John Legend was the right choice to sing “Audition” and “City of Stars,” but he actually overdid the latter, which benefits from the softer, understated (some would say “under-talented”) Ryan Gosling delivery.
  1. Overlooked but not forgotten: that lovely version of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” from Sara Bareilles during the In Memoriam segment. (Note, a few people seemed outraged about David Bowie not being included, but he was honored last year.)
  1. “Five-time Academy Award-nominated” Amy Adams – yeah, and she should’ve won this year for Arrival, but wasn’t nominated. Instead, Emma Stone soon took the crown. (Finally, a Best Actress winner who seems genuinely terrified to have been put in front of the camera – congrats, Emma Stone, on the “huge confluence of luck and opportunity.”
  1. The Barry Jenkins / Tarell Alvin McCraney Adapted Screenplay speech about the ACLU, the Academy and the 305 was probably the most memorable of the show. Inspiring stuff, gentlemen.
  1. Damien Chazelle is the Academy’s youngest-ever Best Director winner at 31, which seemed to point to conservative choices and few surprises to come in the major awards…
  1. Casey Affleck’s win proved that questions or even evidence over a performer’s actions weren’t going to dissuade voters from bestowing the trophy as they see fit. (Although I would’ve cheered loudly had Viggo pulled off an upset.) Then, as Affleck told everyone that Denzel Washington was one of the first people who informed him on how to act, the camera cut to a visibly disappointed, teary-eyed Washington. A-w-k-w-a-r-d. 
  1. Great to see Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty together again, although a clip or some context would’ve been helpful for why Bonnie and Clyde matters 50 years later.
  1. How the hell does that Best Picture mistake happen? It’s such a convoluted premise, I’m starting to think conspiracy theorists are onto something about Marisa Tomei.

“Even in my dreams, this could not be true,” Jenkins said, taking his rightful place at the podium. “My love to La La Land.” The biggest upset and most shocking moment in Oscars history closed out the show – if the producers did this purposely, they were certainly playing the long game, since we waited (and waded) through four hours of nothing burgers to get to the only real highlight.

See the full list of 2017’s Oscar winners here.

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