The 26th of February was the biggest night of the year in Hollywood, as the stars lined the red carpet for the 89th Academy Awards. This year was a year that will go down in history, make no mistake.
On the red carpet stars were making political statements as a few, including our own Ruth Negga, were wearing blue ribbons of the American Civil Liberties Union. Understandably, Negga donned the ribbon in support of the Union due to the massive role they played in the real life of the character she played in Loving. The film focuses on an interracial couple arrested and thrown out of the state of Virginia in 1958, whose case was taken up by the ACLU and eventually went to the Supreme Court, resulting in the end of America’s miscegenation laws.
According to the ACLU, they reached out to Oscar nominees to participate in the initiative to “Stand With the ACLU” and demonstrate their solidarity with the organisation which has worked for nearly 100 years to defend and protect individual rights and liberties.
Justin Timberlake began the ceremony with a performance of his Oscar nominated hit Can’t Stop the Feeling from animated flick, Trolls. He entered the theatre flanked by smartly dressed backing dancers, and the audience immediately jumped to their feet and began to dance. Although he was a bit pitchy at times, we’ll forgive that due to nerves on the big night, dancing and the fact the song is a bop.
Inside the theatre, late night chat show host Jimmy Kimmel took on the role of host for the prestigious award ceremony. Although there were mixed feelings about how he would hold up presenting, his hosting skills seemed to go down a treat with the audience. His opening monologue poked fun at Trump, thanking him because “last year the Oscars seemed racist”. As well as his tongue in cheek joke about Mel Gibson’s past behaviour dividing opinions and his Scientologist views and his digs at Matt Damon. As Kimmel ended his opening monologue he made the entire theatre give Meryl Streep a standing ovation for her outstanding performances throughout her career.
As the awards took place, the cast of Hidden Figures honoured one of the real life women who was portrayed in the film, Katherine Johnson. Johnson was one of the female mathematicians who worked for NASA and calculated flight trajectories for Project Mercury and other missions. Whilst the Harry Potter franchise won its first Oscar for costume design in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
In true Jimmy Kimmel style, there was a special Oscars edition of Celebrity Mean Tweets, with stars like Ryan Gosling, Whoopi Goldberg and Tilda Swinton reading out tweets about themselves. The stony faces of Robert De Niro and Emma Stone left the audience in stitches as they read out the tweets of them being a “grandpa” and a “crack whore”.
Another iconic performance was sixteen year old Auli’l Cravalho from Moana singing How Far I’ll Go with a rapped prologue performed by the songwriter, Lin-Manuel Miranda. The pair were introduced by their co-star Dwayne Johnson, playing on his humorous side as he joked about performing himself and being twins with Miranda. Cravalho sang perfectly as the backing dancers used cloth to create the waves of the sea and the stage transformed into the Moana set.
Unfortunately, this song did not win best song, that nod went to La La Land.
Of course the moment that was on everyone’s lips was the Best Picture debacle between La La Land and Moonlight. Warren Beatty, presenting the award, looked confused as he opened the envelope before his fellow presenter Faye Dunaway wrongly announced La La Land as the winner. Whilst the team behind La La Land began their acceptance speeches and celebrations, their faces slowly dropped as they realised the mistake.
Jordan Horowitz and Fred Berger both producers for La La Land announced that they were not in fact the winners. “We lost, by the way, but, you know,” Berger said before Horowitz showed the winning card to the audience and camera. “What? You guys, I’m sorry, no. There’s a mistake. Moonlight, you guys won best picture.” The confusion was heartbreaking as the La La Land cast and crew handed over to Moonlight whilst Kimmel attempted to rectify the situation.
There were blunders, some shocking and not so shocking winners, laughs, amazing performances and sweets falling from the sky. It wouldn’t be the Oscars without the OTT factor, as always. Until next year.