Nice work, Oscars! Except for that weird fake-out at the very end.
The show started off with Justin Timberlake’s terrific performance of his nominated song, a burst of jubilant celebration that set the tone. Jimmy Kimmel was a fine host, with a self-deprecating reminder that this was his first-ever time at the Oscars and, given the way the awards ceremony runs through hosts, probably his last. His opening remarks were just barbed enough, joking about the “overrated” Meryl Streep and touching lightly on the political controversies of the moment. Supporting Actor award winner Mahersala Ali got the acceptance speeches off to a wonderful start with his gracious comments about being in service to the characters he plays. His perspective on the event may have reflected the even more important event in his life this week, the birth of his new baby.
Viola Davis gave a deeply emotional speech, reminding the crowd that their profession celebrates “what it means to live a life.” Kimmel joked that her speech was so powerful she was immediately nominated for an Emmy. 16-year-old Auli’i Cravalho was marvelous performing the song from “Moana,” and kept her cool even when she was bonked on the head by one of the huge blue flag representing the ocean, and continued like a pro.
Not so good — the idea of delivering snacks to the audience never worked and dropping candy from the ceiling was pointless and silly, as was the prank of bringing unsuspecting tourists into the building.
Oscar commercials are getting as important as the Super Bowl ads. The Walmart challenge to three directors to make short films based on the same shopping receipt made the commercial breaks a lot of fun.
The theme of inspiration was beautifully presented as today’s stars paid tribute to the movies that meant the most to them when they were young and then came out on stage with the stars they saluted. Kimmel went a bit overboard with his spoof, using it as another opportunity to push his mock feud with Matt Damon (later introduced as a presenter as Ben Affleck’s guest). I like “We Bought a Zoo!”
It was great to see Damien Chazelle become the youngest person ever to win the Best Director award, for “La La Land,” a labor of love made almost entirely by young people, and a film that revitalized the musical genre and of course paid tribute to the making of movies itself. Tied for the record of the most Oscar nominations, it went on to win Best Actress for Emma Stone and best score, production design, and song as well.
And then, after the biggest fumble in awards show history, it turned out that “Moonlight” was the Best Picture winner after all, a superb choice.
I love the Spirit Awards (formerly Independent Spirit), given out the night before the Oscars for the best of the year’s independent films. These are movies made with more passion than money, and the award ceremony, on the beach, is always casual and a bit subversive, but always very sincere. I am proud to be a Spirit Awards voter, and very proud of our selections.
Producers: Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adele Romanski
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight (A24)
Barry Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney (Story By), Moonlight (A24)
Best First Feature:
The Witch (A24)
Director: Robert Eggers
Producers: Daniel Bekerman, Jay Van Hoy, Lars Knudsen, Jodi Redmond,
Best First Screenplay:
Robert Eggers, The Witch (A24)
John Cassavetes Award (For best feature made under $500,000):
Spa Night (Strand Releasing)
Writer/Director: Andrew Ahn
Producers: David Ariniello, Giulia Caruso, Ki Jin Kim, Kelly Thomas
Best Supporting Female:
Molly Shannon, Other People (Vertical Entertainment)
Image via Sony Picture Classics
Best Supporting Male:
Ben Foster, Hell or High Water (CBS Films/Lionsgate)
Best Female Lead:
Isabelle Huppert, Elle (Sony Pictures Classics)
Best Male Lead:
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea (Amazon Studios)
Robert Altman Award:
Director: Barry Jenkins
Casting Director: Yesi Ramirez
Ensemble Cast: Mahershala Ali, Patrick Decile, Naomie Harris, Alex Hibbert, André Holland, Jharrel Jerome, Janelle Monáe, Jaden Piner, Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders
James Laxton, Moonlight (A24)
Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders, Moonlight (A24)
Best International Film:
Toni Erdmann (Germany and Romania– Sony Pictures Classics)
Director: Maren Ade
O.J.: Made in America (ESPN Films)
Director/Producer: Ezra Edelman
Producers: Deirdre Fenton, Libby Geist, Nina Krstic, Erin Leyden, Tamara Rosenberg, Connor Schell, Caroline Waterlow
Each year at Oscar time the Golden Raspberry Awards (the Razzies) pay “tribute” to the worst films of the year.
The big “winner” this year was “Hillary’s America,” an anti-Hillary Clinton “documentary” from Dinesh D’Souza, who was awarded Razzies for worst film, worst director, and worst actress for the woman who portrayed the former first lady, Secretary of State, Senator, and Presidential candidate. D’Souza deserves some sort of good sport award for showing up to accept the honors. Other awardees included “Batman v. Superman” and “Zoolander 2.” Mel Gibson’s comeback was recognized with a “Razzie Redeemer award” for “Hacksaw Ridge.”
Worst picture: “Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party.”
Worst actor: Dinesh D’Souza, for “Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party.”
Worst actress: Rebekah Turner, for “Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party.”
Worst director: Dinesh D’Souza, for “Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party.”
Worst supporting actor: Jesse Eisenberg, from “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”
Worst supporting actress: Kristen Wiig, from “Zoolander No. 2.”
Worst screenplay: “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
Worst ripoff or sequel: “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
Worst screen combo: “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”
The Razzie Redeemer Award: Mel Gibson, for “Hacksaw Ridge”
Barry L. Bumstead Award (for a movie that cost a lot and lost a lot): “Misconduct”
“When We Rise” was written and created by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black. This mini-series event chronicles the real-life personal and political struggles, setbacks and triumphs of a diverse family of LGBT men and women who helped pioneer one of the last legs of the U.S. Civil Rights movement, from its turbulent infancy in the 20th century to the once unfathomable successes of today. Starring in the mini-series are Guy Pearce (“Memento,” “L.A. Confidential”) as LGBT activist Cleve Jones, Mary-Louise Parker (“Weeds,” “Angels in America”) as women’s rights leader Roma Guy, Rachel Griffiths (“Brothers and Sisters,” “Six Feet Under”) as her wife, social justice activist Diane, Michael K. Williams (“Boardwalk Empire,””The Wire”) as African-American community organizer Ken Jones and Ivory Aquino as transgender-activist Cecilia Chung.