Oscars 2017: Moonlight Wins Big; Emma Stone, Casey Affleck Take Home Best Actors
The Jimmy Kimmel-hosted 89th Academy Awards seesawed between jabs at Donald Trump and passionate arguments for inclusivity, with awards going to 'La La Land', Mel Gibson's 'Hacksaw Ridge' and Viola Davis.
Image: A still from Moonlight.
The Jimmy Kimmel-hosted 89th Academy Awards seesawed between jabs at Donald Trump and passionate arguments for inclusivity, with awards going to La La Land, Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge and Viola Davis. Moonloight bagged the Best Film.
Damien Chazelle's celebrated musical La La Land, up for a record-tying 14 nominations, took a while to start cleaning up. But as the night went on, its haul began piling up, winning for cinematography, production, score and the song "City of Stars." Chazelle, the 32-year-old filmmaker, also became the youngest to win best director.
"This was a movie about love and I was luckily enough to fall in love while making it," said Chazelle, speaking about his girlfriend and Oscars date, Olivia Hamilton.
Though many expected the awards to be one long parade for La La Land it didn't play out that way. Awards were spread around to Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea and Hacksaw Ridge, among others.
Emma Stone's portrayal of a struggling actress in La La Land has won her the best actress Academy Award. Stone won for her portrayal of Mia, an aspiring actress forced to suffer the indignities of failed auditions and working as a barista at a studio cafe. Her character's career gets a nudge from a struggling jazz pianist played by Ryan Gosling.
Casey Affleck's portrayal of a grieving father in "Manchester by the Sea" has won him the best actor Academy Award. It is Affleck's first Oscar. He is the younger brother of Ben Affleck and took the "Manchester" part after Matt Damon had to drop the role. Affleck appeared to get emotional after his win. He thanked Denzel Washington, who he said taught him how to act but who he had never met before Sunday's ceremony.
Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney won for adapted screenplay. "All you people out there who feel like there isn't a mirror out there for you, the academy has your back, the ACLU has your back and for the next four years we will not leave you alone, we will not forget you," said Jenkins.
Kenneth Lonergan, the New York playwright whose last film (Margaret) was beset by lawsuits and conflict, won best original screenplay. "I love the movies. I love being part of the movies," said Lonergan, who then thanked his star. "Thank you Casey Affleck, Casey Affleck, Casey Affleck."
The show kicked off with Justin Timberlake dancing down the Dolby Theatre aisles, singing his ebullient song, "Can't Stop the Feeling," from the animated film "Trolls." It was an early cue that the Oscars would steer, at least in part, toward festiveness rather than heavy-handedness. Protests, boycotts and rallies have swirled ahead of Sunday night's Oscars. But host Kimmel, in his opening monologue, quickly acknowledged that he "was not that guy" to heal a divided America.
But he still, pointedly, led a standing ovation for the "overrated" Meryl Streep. He later tweaked the president by tweeting to him on air, including telling him that Streep "says hi."
The wins for Davis, who co-starred in Denzel Washington's August Wilson adaptation "Fences," and Mahershala Ali, the "Moonlight" co-star, were both widely expected. Their awards marked the first time in more than a decade that multiple Oscar acting honors went to black actors.
"I became an artist, and thank god I did, because we are the only profession to celebrate what it means to live a life," said Davis, the best supporting actress winner. "So here's to August Wilson, who exhumed and exalted the ordinary people."
Ali won best supporting actor for Moonlight. He glowed on the stage as he informed the crowd that he and his wife, Amatus Sami-Karim, welcomed a daughter four days earlier. The actor thanked his wife for "being such a soldier through the process."
Both stuck to more private reflections over politics. But a more blunt protest came from a winner not in attendance. Best foreign film for the second time went to Asghar Farhadi, director of Iran's "A Salesman." Farhadi, who also won for his "A Separation," had said he wouldn't attend because of Trump's travel band to seven predominantly Muslim nations. Anousheh Ansari, an Iranian astronaut, read a statement from Farhadi.
"I'm sorry I'm not with you tonight," it read. "My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of other six nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S."
The broadcast often veered between such strong personal statements and Kimmel's efforts to keep things a little lighter with bits reminiscent of his late-night show. Shortly before he led a dazed, unsuspecting tour group into the theater, presenter Gael Garcia Bernal, the Mexican actor, declared: "As a migrant worker, as a Mexican, and as a human being, I am against any wall." Rich Moore, one of the three directors of Disney's best animated film winner Zootopia, described the movie as about "tolerance being more powerful than fear of the other."
Gibson's World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge was, surprisingly, the evening's first double winner, taking awards for editing and sound mixing. The bearded Gibson, for a decade a pariah in Hollywood, was seated front and center for the show, and was a frequent presence throughout.
Ezra Edelman's "O.J.: Made in America" took best documentary, making it - at 467 minutes - the longest Oscar winner ever, beating out the 1969 Best Foreign Language Film winner "War and Peace" (431 minutes). Edelman's documentary, while it received an Oscar-qualifying theatrical release, was seen by most on ESPN as a serial, prompting some to claim its place was at the Emmys, not the Oscars.
Edelman dedicated the award to the victims of the famous crime, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
"This is also for other victims, victims of police violence, police brutality," Edelman said. "This is their story as it is Ron and Nicole's."
The "OscarsSoWhite" crisis of the last two years was largely quelled this season by a richly diverse slate of nominees, thanks to films like "Moonlight," ''Fences" and "Hidden Figures." A record six black actors are nominated. For the first time ever, a person of color is nominated in each acting category. And four of the five best documentary nominees were also directed by black filmmakers.
"I want to say thank you to President Trump," Kimmel said in the opening. "Remember last year when it seemed like the Oscars were racist?"
The nominees follow the efforts by Academy of Motions Pictures Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs to diversify the membership of the largely white, older and male film academy. In June, the academy added 683 new members: 46 percent of them were female; 41-percent were nonwhite; and they pulled from 59 countries.
"Tonight is proof that art has no borders, no single language and does not belong to a single faith," said Isaacs.
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