89th Academy Awards

Rhys Graeme-Drury

Best Picture blunder

Well, how about that huh? What started out as a fairly pedestrian affair turned to a complete farce come the end in what is possibly the biggest bungle in Oscar history. What happened has been dissected and analysed by possibly every news outlet on Earth in the last few days so I’ll just say this; it’s a shame that this had to happen this year of all years.

Why? Because a film like Moonlight is rare; it’s a micro-budget indie film about minorities that arguably caters to a very niche audience, unlike something like La La Land which casts its net a lot broader. Even rarer is a film like Moonlight defying expectations and going on to beat the big dog on the biggest stage of all. We can sit here for hours pointing fingers at who is to blame – Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Emma Stone, PricewaterhouseCoopers – but at the end of the day, all of this noise and outrage is detracting away from Moonlight‘s moment in the spotlight.

It’s very telling that every news outlet has Jordan Horowitz‘s face splashed across their front pages instead of Barry Jenkins. We’ve totally missed the importance of Moonlight‘s win (it’s a film about African-Americans that doesn’t feature maids or slaves, which is a big deal) by chewing over a conspiracy concerning a misplaced red envelope. Unfortunately, the story here isn’t that Moonlight won; it’s that La La Land lost, and in spectacular fashion. Ten years from now, we need to make sure the 89th Academy Awards are remembered for the right reasons – and not just recall some unfortunate gaffe.

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie

oscars-hackshaw-ridge
With a record 14 nominations across all of the categories this year, including two Australian films up for Best Picture for the first time ever, it looked set to be a big night for the Australian film industry. Alas, it wasn’t to be – but that doesn’t mean we came away with nothing to show for it.

When home-grown favourite Lion went home empty-handed, it was left to Mel Gibson‘s more abrasive and divisive Hacksaw Ridge to collect the lion’s share of awards for Australian nominees. The WWII epic scooped up two awards, winning Sound Mixing and Film Editing. Tanna, the first Australian film to be nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category, lost out to Iran’s The Salesman.

Kimmel kills it

In the midst of Trump’s car crash presidency, it would have been very easy for host Jimmy Kimmel to lean heavily into recent political gaffes for his opening salvo of gags. And whilst there were a couple of gems made at the expense of America’s chimp-in-chief, Kimmel mainly kept things nice and balanced across the board.

He was smiley and self-depreciating, had good timing and kept the jokes flowing at great pace. In contrast to recent hosts like Neil Patrick Harris and Seth MacFarlane, Kimmel flourished while working the crowd and keeping the tone brisk and chipper.

Box Office favourites go home empty-handed

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Sticking with the time-honoured tradition of awarding films that nobody saw, the Academy Awards this year chose to ignore the films that have drawn the biggest crowds – namely smash-hit Hidden Figures – in favour of more independent fare like Manchester by the Sea.

In a year where viewing figures for the Oscars telecast dipped to their lowest number in nearly a decade, you’d think the Academy would be more inclined to recognise the movies that actually make people get up off their butts and go to the cinema.

Suicide Squad – seriously?

How a film where it looks like Margot Robbie’s face was plastered on with Homer Simpson’s makeup shotgun was chosen for Best Makeup and Hairstyling over something like Star Trek Beyond is utterly beyond me (pun intended). Honestly, that kerfuffle about Best Picture is one thing but this here is the real crime.

Full list of winners
Best film – 
Moonlight
Best actress – Emma Stone: La La Land
Best actor – Casey Affleck: Manchester By The Sea
Best director – Damien Chazelle: La La Land
Best supporting actress – Viola Davis: Fences
Best supporting actor – Mahershala Ali: Moonlight
Best original screenplay – Kenneth Lonergan:  Manchester By The Sea
Best adapted screenplay – Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney: Moonlight
Best cinematographyLa La Land
Best original scoreLa La Land
Best original songLa La Land
Best sound editingArrival
Best foreign language filmThe Salesman
Best film editing Hacksaw Ridge
Best visual effectsThe Jungle Book
Best production design La La Land
Best sound mixingHacksaw Ridge
Best documentary feature O.J: Made in America
Best animated film – Zootopia
Best animated short film – Piper
Best documentary short subject – The White Helmets
Best live action short film – Sing
Best make-up – Suicide Squad
Best costume design – Fantastic Beast and Where To Find Them

Images courtesy of Roadshow Films, Icon Film Distribution & 20th Century Fox

 

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