The 2017 Academy Awards wasn’t a night of many surprises, that is, until the very end. As expected, the “La La Land” wins were plenty and the Trump references were frequent.
Jimmy Kimmel was an entertaining, if not somewhat unmemorable, host. Kimmel refrained from much of the celebrity heckling that’s often associated with award shows — with the exception of Matt Damon, of course — although he played off the current political climate as the source for much of his best material.
The actual ceremony began with Best Actor and Actress in a Supporting Role to Mahershala Ali and Viola Davis, for their roles in “Moonlight” and “Fences,” respectively. Although neither of these was particularly shocking, both were equally deserved. Davis’ emotional speech in particular evoked a strong response from the audience, resulting in many tears as she thanked her parents, husband and daughter.
Casey Affleck, who won Best Actor for his role in “Manchester by the Sea,” thanked fellow nominee Denzel Washington for helping him learn how to act. Emma Stone, however, who won Best Actress for “La La Land” was generally positive, while emotional, and even joked about how overwhelmed she was during her acceptance.
The final moments were among the most exciting of the night. “La La Land,” which was widely considered the favorite for Best Picture, was briefly announced as the winner, but after some confusion the actual winner was announced as “Moonlight.” In a Miss Universe-like debacle, the cards had been switched, leading to Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway mistakenly reading “La La Land” off Emma Stone’s card.
The #oscarssowhite controversy of 2016 wasn’t forgotten, with a special tribute given to the scientists who inspired “Hidden Figures”: Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson. Later, the president of the academy, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, gave a speech about the importance of inclusiveness in film, stating that “art has no borders.”
Isaacs’s speech matched the overall tone of the night, with many award recipients mentioning the free press, public education and immigrants’ rights in their acceptances. Asghar Farhadi, Iranian director of “The Salesmen,” who won for Best Foreign Language Film, made one of the most effective statements of the night by choosing not to attend, and instead sending a representative. Anousheh Ansari read a message from Farhadi explaining that he wasn’t attending out of respect for Iran and the other countries included in the recent travel ban.
In addition to these powerful political moments, some of the most memorable of the night include a bus of tourists’ unexpected visit to the ceremony, Lin Manuel Miranda’s performance with “Moana” actress Auli’I Cravalho and a special Oscars edition of celebrities reading “Mean Tweets.”
Carrie Domenic is a junior English major. Contact Carrie at email@example.com.