Oscars 2017 – What a Night

The winners for the Oscars have finally be revealed and what a show it has been. In this post I want to talk about the winners, the losers and off course THAT mistake.

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First of all, let’s start with this mistake. For the first time, correct me if I’m wrong but to my knowledge there has never been anything like that in the past, the wrong name has been called out as the winner. When the time came to announce the winner for Best Film, presenter Warren Beatty looked over to Faye Dunaway because of what he read. He then told the entire world that La La Land had won. The entire group came up on stage and when the producers were making their speech, somebody ran on stage to say they made a mistake. Jordan Horowitz (one of the producers) immediately understood what was happening and called the makers of Moonlight (the actual winners) on stage and congratulated them with their win. Huge respect though, to the makers of La La Land, they were really classy about their loss and praising Moonlight for their win. If you think about how big the Oscars are, you’d think they would have made all possible measures to ensure that such mistakes can’t be made. But mistakes are human, and makes us what we are. I’m sure that this is a moment that we’ll never forget and that’ll go in history as the first big blunder the Oscars made.

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Now the winners. You can find the entire list right here and I must say that I’m quite happy with how it turned out. Off course I would have liked to see La La Land win a bit more, but all the nominated movies are great as well and overall I think the right people won. So let’s start.

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by Barry Jenkins

Moonlight by Barry Jenkins was the winner of the biggest award of them all: Best Motion Picture of the Year. The story about a young black man growing up gay in a rough neighbourhood in Miami took the world by storm and it finally payed of by taking home the biggest award of all. It competed in this category with other great films like La La Land; Fences; Arrival; Hidden Figures; Lion; Manchester by the Sea; Hacksaw Ridge and Hell or High Water.

Though the best movie went to Moonlight, Damien Chazelle did win his Oscar for Best Achievement in Directing this year, becoming the youngest director to ever receive that recognition. Competing next to other directors such as Barry Jenkins, Dennis Villeneuve, Kenneth Lonergan and off course Mel Gibson, I would say that Damien Chazelle really stood out here. These are all names, I’m afraid to tell you, I didn’t hear of before except for Damien Chazelle (because of Whiplash, my favourite film I saw in 2016) and Mel Gibson (Braveheart, my favourite film of all time). I’m excited to see what they all bring us in the future.  

 

On the side of the actors I do believe the rightful actors won. Emma Stone was marvelous as Lead Actress in La La Land and finally got rewarded for it. Nathalie Portman, Meryl Streep, Isabelle Huppert and Ruth Negga were great as well, but Emma Stone just shone that little much brighter this year. The same could be said from the other side. Casey Affleck (winner of Lead Actor) pulled a performance of a lifetime and you can feel the roughness and the deepness with which he portrayed his character that no other actor could equal. Big respect to Ryan Gosling, Denzel Washington, Andrew Garfield and Viggo Mortensen for all their performances. They all are great performers being rewarded for their work.

 

Viola Davis walked away with pride over her win as Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for her part in Fences and Mahershala Ali took the same award home for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Both put down unmistakably brilliant performances and were rewarded for it. Octavia Spencer, Naomie Harris, Michelle Williams and Nicole Kidman should all feel proud for the work they put down. This is another category where there’s just one actress shining just a little bit brighter. The same can be said for Dev Patel, Jeff Bridges, Michael Shannon and Lucas Hedges.  

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by Kenneth Lonergan

It was also a great year for interesting and powerful stories. So it didn’t come as a surprise that Moonlight ran away with the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. Adapted by Barry Jenkins from a story by Tarell Alvin McCraney, it is indeed the story of a lifetime. Other screenplays nominated were Hidden Figures (based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly); Arrival (based on the story ‘Story of your Life’ by Ted Chiang); Lion (adapted from the book ‘A Long Way Home’ by Saroo Brierley) and Fences (based upon the play by August Wilson). Best Original Screenplay went to Manchester by the Sea (written by Kenneth Lonergan), beating out The Lobster; Hell or High Water; 20th Century Women and La La Land.

It is in the music-categories where La La Land took home most of its awards. Best song (for City of Stars) and Best Score both went to La La Land. The soundtrack, written mainly by Justin Hurwitz, is full of catchy songs, powerful ballads and overall feel-good music. Other nominees for Best Song were ‘How Far I’ll Go’ from Moana; ‘The Empty Chair’ from Jim: The James Foley Story; ‘Audition (The Fools Who Dream)’ from La La Land and ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling’ from Trollz. In the category for Best Score we can also find the scores for Moonlight (by Nicholas Britell); Jackie (by Mica Levi); Passengers (by Thomas Newman) and Lion (by Dustin O’Halloran and Volker Bertelmann).

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La La Land, by Damien Chazelle

Best Animated Feature of the Year went to Zootopia. Here I must say, it was a surprise for me. I honestly thought Kubo and the Two Strings would win or My Life as a Zucchini. These three, together with Moana and The Red Turtle, are all great stories and deserving to win. But I do like to see Disney win, so I’m glad with the turnout and it was a great film so that explains it as well.

The more technical categories are always the least known, the ones where we don’t know the names of the nominees, or at least I don’t know them. Which is unfortunate because they are as much a part of the film and the film experience as the directors, actors and screenwriters. Here I’m unfortunately only going to speak about the movie, as I mentioned before, I just don’t know their names. Best Cinematography went to La La Land, beating out Moonlight; Silence; Arrival and Lion. All 5 films are marvelous, beautiful and just breathtaking. They all could have won in my opinion. Best Achievement in Film Editing went rightfully so to Hacksaw Ridge. I just saw this film the other day and was blown away by how they told the story and how it was put together. Beating out La La Land; Moonlight; Arrival and Hell or High Water, this editor (John Gilbert) is one to watch.

Hacksaw Ridge also took home the award for Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, beating out Rogue One; Arrival; 13 Hours and La La Land. Best Achievement in Sound Editing went to Arrival. Other nominees in this category are Hacksaw Ridge; La La Land; Sully and Deepwater Horizon. Rogue One; Kubo and the Two Strings; Deepwater Horizon and Doctor Strange got beaten by The Jungle Book in the category for Best Achievement in Visual Effects. Best Production Design went to La La Land, beating out Hail, Ceasar!; Arrival; Passengers and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. This last movie, another story set in the world of Harry Potter, took home the Oscar for Best Achievement in Costume Design, beating out Jackie; Allied; La La Land and Florence Foster Jenkins. The biggest surprise here was Suicide Squad’s win in the category for Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling. Star Trek Beyond and A Man Called Ove were also nominated in this category.

Best Live Action Short Film went to Mindenki by Kristóf Deák and Anna Udvardy. Best Documentary Short Subject went to The White Helmets by Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara. Piper went to win the Best Animated Short Film, beating out Pear Cider and Cigarettes; Blind Vaysha; Pearl and Borrowed Time. Best Foreign Language Film of the Year went to The Salesman, making this the second win for director Asghar Farhadi after A Separation. Toni Erdmann; A Man Called Ove; Land of Mine and Tanna drew just a bit too short to walk away with this award. Best Documentary Feature went to O.J.:Made in America. Other nominees here were Life; Animated; Fire at Sea; 13th and I Am Not Your Negro

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If we take all these together we can say that we had a beautiful year in films. Some strong stories, feel-good movies, some new talent and also finally recognition of actors who have been around for a long time. With it’s six wins, La La Land took home most of the awards, but after missing Best Motion Picture of the Year to Moonlight, it can be seen as the loser of the night. I wouldn’t go so far. Moonlight is definitely a story of a lifetime and one we shouldn’t and (after these Oscars) definitely won’t, but we need La La Land as well to make us dream, as so many other films did before and will in the future. 

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