Oscars 2017: La La Land, I mean, Moonlight wins Best Picture!


Holy shit!  What the hell just happened?!?! In a surprise twist, Moonlight took home the Oscar for Best Picture, beating the powerhouse that was La La Land, going into the 89th Academy Awards. If that wasn’t surprise enough, the way Moonlight was revealed to be the Best Picture is the real story.  Bonnie and Clyde costars Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were on hand to announce the biggest award of the night: Best Picture.  Beatty opens the envelope, stares at the card, looks back in the now empty envelope, Dunaway gently chides Beatty for dragging out the announcement, she takes the card, and announces that La La Land is the winner.  The cast and crew of La La Land file on stage to accept the award and make speeches.  All of a sudden there is a commotion on stage and Land producer Jordan Horowitz says that Moonlight won Best Picture.  From my own personal stand point, I thought this was a kind of “What a lovely film, we share this award with you” kind of statement.  However, it soon became clear that Warren Beatty had been given the Best Actress envelope instead of the Best Picture envelope.  Oops!  Something tells me Pricewaterhouse Cooper may not be contracted for this job next year…

Jordan Horowitz shows the crowd that Moonlight won Best Picture

The sadness of the situation comes from the fact that neither La La Land nor Moonlight really got to have their moment.  I am sure it was slightly devastating and embarrassing for the cast and crew of La La Land to be told that they did not, in fact, win the award that they were holding.  However, even though everyone was pleasantly surprised for Moonlight, their moment was overshadowed by the gaffe.  On the bright side, at least it wasn’t another streaker at the Oscars.

Jan Chapman’s photo next to Janet Patterson’s name (Patterson in the inset)

The other gaffe of the night was not quite as obvious to those of us watching at home.  During the In Memoriam section of the awards, four-time Oscar nominated costume designer Janet Patterson was remembered.  However, the photograph that was shown was that of Australian producer Jan Chapman.  As it turns out, Getty Images, the company who provided the images for the segment mislabeled a photograph of Chapman as Patterson.  Chapman later told the press, “I was devastated by the use of my image in place of my great friend and long-time collaborator Janet Patterson. I had urged her agency to check any photograph which might be used and understand that they were told that the Academy had it covered.” Oops number two.

The evening was not a complete blunder.  Even though it did not win Best Picture La La Land received six awards, more than any other film this year, including Best Director (Damien Chazelle), Best Actress (Emma Stone), Best Original Song (“City of Stars”), and Best Original Score. Moonlight picked up three awards for Best Picture (I think…), Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali), and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Casey Affleck was awarded Best Actor for his quietly effecting performance in Manchester by the SeaSea also won the award for Best Original Screenplay for writer/director Kenneth Lonergan. While Affleck was the frontrunner for most of the award season, his inevitable win came into question when information regarding a sexual harassment accusation from 2010 was released.  Several industry professionals were vocal about not allowing Affleck to win the award.  Regardless, he pulled through.

Viola Davis accepts her Oscar from Mark Rylance

After three nominations, Viola Davis picked up her first Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in Fences.  Davis was visibly moved during her acceptance speech which was, arguably, the best of the night.  “You know, there is one place that all the people with the greatest potential are gathered and that’s the graveyard. People ask me all the time — what kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola? And I say exhume those bodies. Exhume those stories — the stories of the people who dreamed big and never saw those dreams to fruition, people who fell in love and lost. I became an artist and thank God I did,” she continued “because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.” Host Jimmy Kimmel was not kidding when he said she would win an Emmy for that acceptance speech.


Auli’i Cravalho sings “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana

I realize that I may be in the minority, but I was thoroughly underwhelmed by Kimmel’s performance.  While his low-key, lackluster delivery works for his late night talk show, it did not translate well to the Oscars.  The opening monologue was unmemorable, with the exception of the standing ovation he requested for “overrated” actress Meryl Streep.  At one point, Kimmel pranked a group of tourists on a sightseeing bus tour by taking them into the theater and allowing them to interact with the first row of celebrities.  Initially, their reactions were sweet, but it eventually fell flat and just dragged on for far too long.  Even the Mean Tweets (which I normally LOVE) were pretty unfunny.  The only semi-funny part of the show was the ongoing feud between Matt Damon and Kimmel.  I guess Kimmel really does aspire to be like David Letterman.  After all, he two hosted a very unfunny Oscar telecast.

Real life NASA mathmatician Katherine Johnson

Other noteable moments:


  • The subject of Hidden Figures, Katherine Johnson appears on stage with the cast of the film.
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda performs a prologue to his nominated song, “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana.  Auli’i Cravalho performs the song beautifully, even though she gets hit by a flag midway through the song.  What a pro.
  • The Salesman wins Best Foreign Language Film.  Iranian director Asghar Farhadi sends American engineer Anousheh Ansari to accept the award on his behalf.  Ansari reads Farhadi’s statement: “My absence is out of respect for people of my country and those of other six nations whom have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the US. Dividing the world into the US and the enemy creates fear; a deceitful justification for regression and war. Filmmakers can turn their cameras to capture shared human qualities and break stereotypes of various nationalities and religions; they create empathy between us and others. An empathy we need today more than ever.”
  • Stars sport blue ribbons to support the American Civil Liberies Union (ACLU).
  • Charlize Theron presents with inspiration Shirley MacLaine and Seth Rogan presents with inspiration Michael J. Fox.  Rogan proceeds to sing part of Hamilton.

-Ariadne Ansbro

The full list of winners is below:

Mahershala Ali

Best supporting actor

WINNER: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)
Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)
Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea)
Dev Patel (Lion)
Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals)

Best makeup and hairstyling

A Man Called Ove
Star Trek Beyond
WINNER: Suicide Squad

Best costume design

WINNER: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Florence Foster Jenkins
La La Land

Best documentary

Fire at Sea
I Am Not Your Negro
Life, Animated
WINNER: OJ: Made in America

Best sound editing

WINNER: Arrival
Deepwater Horizon
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land

Best sound mixing

WINNER: Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
13 Hours

Viola Davis

Best supporting actress

WINNER: Viola Davis (Fences)
Naomie Harris (Moonlight)
Nicole Kidman (Lion)
Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures)
Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)

American engineer Anousheh Ansari reads statement from Asghar Farhadi

Best foreign language film

Land of Mine
A Man Called Ove
WINNER: The Salesman
Toni Erdmann

Best animated short

Blind Vaysha
Borrowed Time
Pear Cider and Cigarettes

Producers of Zootopia celebrate their win

Best animated feature

Kubo and the Two Strings
My Life As a Zucchini
The Red Turtle
WINNER: Zootopia

Best production design

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Hail, Caesar!
WINNER: La La Land

Best visual effects

Deepwater Horizon
Doctor Strange
WINNER: The Jungle Book
Kubo and the Two Strings
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Best film editing

WINNER: Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
La La Land

Producers of The White Helmets pay homage to those in war-torn Syria

Best documentary short

4.1 Miles
Joe’s Violin
Watani: My Homeland
WINNER: The White Helmets

Best live-action short

Ennemis Interieurs
La Femme et le TGV
Silent Nights

Best cinematography

WINNER: La La Land

Best score

WINNER: La La Land

John Legend performs “City of Stars” and “Audition” from La La Land

Best song

Audition (La La Land)
Can’t Stop the Feeling! (Trolls)
WINNER: City of Stars (La La Land)
The Empty Chair (Jim: The James Foley Story)
How Far I’ll Go (Moana)

Kenneth Lonergan wins Best Original Screenplay for Manchester by the Sea

Best original screenplay

Hell or High Water
La La Land
The Lobster
WINNER: Manchester by the Sea
20th Century Women

Best Adapted Screenplay winners Tarell Alvin McCraney and Barry Jenkins for Moonlight

Best adapted screenplay

Hidden Figures
WINNER: Moonlight

Damien Chazelle

Best director

Denis Villeneuve (Arrival)
Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge)
WINNER: Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea)
Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)

Casey Affleck

Best actor

WINNER: Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)
Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge)
Ryan Gosling (La La Land)
Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)
Denzel Washington (Fences)

Emma Stone

Best actress

Isabelle Huppert (Elle)
Ruth Negga (Loving)
WINNER: Emma Stone (La La Land)
Natalie Portman (Jackie)
Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

Moonlight wins Best Picture

Best picture

Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
WINNER: La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
WINNER: Moonlight

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