The Oscar ceremony of 2017, February 26, celebrates the best of 2016 film according to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (is not the academy of fine arts and sciences, fine arts being another field of art.).

The Oscars this year was predictable, with La La Land winning most, a total of six Oscars. But this year came with one surprise, Moonlight winning best picture, when La La Land was easily the front runner for the top award.

Though to some commentators this statement on diversity, for the best picture win, wasn’t entirely unexpected. Last year many complained about the lack of diversity in Oscar voting. Several diverse artists won this year.

Though the words on commentator’s lips may be will this year’s diversity last?

And why was the best picture winner initially read as La La Land?


La La Land was hot favorite for best picture at this year's Oscars.
La La Land was hot favorite for best picture at this year’s Oscars.

A rundown of the feature films: a mostly predictable, by the numbers night

Two early feature film awards went to Iranian film The Salesman and Zootopia, for best foreign language film and best animated film respectively, both predictable results.

Early in the evening, editing awards went to films that traditionally win editing awards, war and science fiction. Arrival picked up best sound editing and Hacksaw Ridge editing and sound mixing.

The best costume design award was an empty category with the winner Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a spin-off of the Harry Potter franchise, truly standing out. Suicide Squad picked up best make-up, perhaps rightly so, for a fantasy comic book adaptation, with an array of character appearances.

Manchester by The Sea, a film with all the marks of a screenplay award winner, won for best original screenplay. Kenneth Lonergan took home the award. He has been writing and directing films for two decades and is a favorite among critics. This is his first Oscar.

Barry Jenkins won for best adapted screenplay for Moonlight.

The first acting awards were given out to Viola Davis and Mahershala Ali for supporting roles in Fences and Moonlight respectively, who were both favorites.

The buzz getting closer to today’s Oscars was that Casey Affleck should win best actor and he did for Manchester by the Sea, a film of gritty real life. With his performance in The Finest Hours a stand out earlier in the year it’s no wonder he has taken home a best actor Oscar.

La La Land

Hot favorite La La Land, a musical with a record equaling 14 nominations, only scored best production design earlier in the evening, missing out on some their early categories and therefore unable to score a clean sweep of the Oscars this year.

However, in the later part of the evening, La La Land won big and scored best cinematography, best original musical score, and best song (for “City of Stars”), technical awards that are generally reserved for musicals, so no surprise there.

Emma Stone, the late frontrunner for best actress, won for La La Land.

La La Land also won best director for Damien Chazelle, who previously helmed Whiplash, which won three awards in 2015. A director winning for a musical was a predictable result with many directors who helmed musicals going on to win best director. Many reviewers called Chazelle’s direction outstanding.

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