Oscars Recap and Review: Features and Fumbles
The opening vamp of Justin Timberlake’s song of the summer “Can’t Stop the Feeling” started to play. Dancers dressed like average Oscar-goers began to dance in flash-mob fashion. Timberlake appeared and began to sing. Thus began the 2017 Oscars, or, as I like to call it, Justin Timberlake’s opening for a taping of “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
The show opened on a high note that had everyone — from the loneliest sound mixer’s assistant in the balcony all the way to Meryl Streep front and center — dancing in the aisles. Jimmy Kimmel fed off the energy of the audience as he started his brilliantly funny monologue, complete with topical jabs at President Trump and the current political climate that has become so common this awards season.
Kimmel included many of the gags from his show in between the typical awards-show banter. Kimmel provided an Oscars edition of his viral video “Mean Tweets,” where past and current nominees and winners read mean tweets about themselves. As another gag, Kimmel used his signature style of playing jokes on the general public by tricking a Hollywood tour bus into thinking that they were going into the Dolby Theater into an exhibit; however, they were really walking into the Academy Awards. Despite taking a little too long, the regular people had fun taking selfies, hugging, and rubbing shoulders with the fabulous people in the front row.
One couple was even “married” by Denzel Washington. Kimmel also repeated his gag from the 2016 Emmys, giving peanut butter and jelly sandwiches made by his mother, which took after Ellen deGeneres’ pizza delivery at the Oscars 2014 by providing food for the crowd. This time, however, he released candy and cookies down from the sky in parachutes on command.
Despite at times feeling like an advertisement for Jimmy Kimmel Live, the Oscars had captivating musical acts. In a highly anticipated performance, Lin-Manuel Miranda opened the “Moana” performance for Best Original Song with a rap that he added on to his original song, “How Far I’ll Go.”
The star-turning moment came from Auli’i Cravalho, the 16-year-old voice behind Moana, as she passionately belted the song. Even when one of the dancers struck her in the head with a flag, Cravalho didn’t flinch and carried on with the song. Despite not completing his EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony) this year, it is clear that Miranda will no doubt be a familiar face at the Oscars in the future.
The song that did win was written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul from the film “La La Land.” The two songs nominated, “City of Stars” (which won) and “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” were performed in a captivating arrangement by “La La Land” actor John Legend. Filled with warmth and passion, Legend brought those songs to life, complete with beautiful dancers in a gorgeous tribute to Old Hollywood that the movie so beautifully provided.
Obviously the most anticipated awards of the night were for acting, directing and best picture. In a tight race, Best Actor Casey Affleck was recognized, to the surprise of some due to sexual assault accusations against him, for his role in “Manchester by the Sea.”
Emma Stone won her first Best Actress Oscar for her work as a struggling actress in “La La Land,” causing millennials to reminisce about one of her first apperance’s in the teen-classic from 2010, “Easy A.” In my opinion, the winner of Best Acceptance Speech of the night went to Viola Davis, Best Supporting Actress, who won for her captivating role in “Fences.” Davis has now added her award for this powerful role to her collection of Tonys, Golden Globes and Emmys. She is one of the first African-Americans to have all of these awards. The award for Best Supporting Actor went to Mahershala Ali for his wonderful work in “Moonlight,” an incredible work of art.
Despite all of the little moments that occur in Oscar telecasts, the most memorable and confusing was when “Bonnie and Clyde” stars Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway mis-announced the final award of the evening, the award for Best Picture. The pair announced “La La Land” instead of the actual Best Picture winner, “Moonlight.”
The mishap occurred because the accountant from PriceWaterhouse Cooper, the firm that counts the Oscar votes and brings out the envelopes, was too busy tweeting a star-struck selfie of him and Emma Stone to give Beatty and Dunaway the correct envelope for Best Picture. Instead he gave them the envelope for the award for Best Actress, which Stone won for “La La Land.” The selfie was quickly deleted, but not before others had screenshotted it, thus solving the mystery of how this mistake occurred.
However, the producers of “La La Land” proved that Hollywood isn’t all filled with selfish, money-obsessed individuals when they graciously and humbly gave the award to its rightful recipients. “Moonlight” was the first film to win an Academy Award with a plot centered on a homosexual character, as well as the first with a full Black ensemble. The Oscars this year were filled with surprises, and the world expects next year to be no exception.