How about that timing, huh? The Oscars are finally colorful and diverse enough to most people’s liking, with such impactful films as Moonlight, Lion, Fences and most appropriately Hidden Figures getting proper recognition in most areas, acting included, as well as such documentaries as I Am Not Your Negro and Ava Duvernay‘s 13th.
So what do we learn at almost the exact same time as the announcement of this year’s nominees? Oh, just that Donald Trump’s proposed “Muslim Ban” would ensure that Asghar Farhadi, whose Iranian film The Salesman received a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film, would not be able to enter The United States and attend the ceremony (and even as it was revoked, Farhadi refused to appear either way as an act of protest). Well done yet again, guys. Things are looking “great again” already. Oh well, at least it was well-intentioned and meant to make sure that all the countries with confirmed ties to the 9/11 attacks no longer have easy access to the Americ-OH WAIT!
So I guess it’s the same old situation for me; trying to set aside my disappointment in the Universe itself and just enjoy the Oscars ceremony as a fun thing to watch with equally drunk friends and also live-tweet the living bajeezus out of. Let’s see what highlights Jimmy Kimmel and company had to offer.
But first, some more things that sucked: (1) Meryl Streep getting another Best Actress nomination, as though she needs more, to which I attribute the snubbing of Amy Adams in Nocturnal Animals and Arrival; (2) the lesser-known child-actors in Moonlight and Lion not being nominated for anything, and (3) Suicide Squad has an Oscar because that’s the world we live in now, apparently. With that out of the way, let’s continue.
- Jimmy Kimmel, Mostly: This was a good choice, seeing as Kimmel is kind of a natural when it comes to, well, hosting. He carried his way through the awkward moments (the biggest of which we’ll get to later, don’t you worry) and his bits were usually pretty funny, my favorite being the incessant Matt Damon roasting. I didn’t much care for the tourist gag or the running joke about movie snacks, however. I think I even spotted Taraji P. Henson mouthing at him to just knock it off.
- The Back To The Future Stuff: Didn’t notice that much gimmick-y shit from the presenters this year (we certainly didn’t see Buzz Lightyear or C-3PO), but if you’re gonna do something unusual, it might as well concern something as impossible to dislike as Back to the Future. Those shoes aren’t “future” anymore, though. Sorry, Rogen.
- A Sound Mixer Nominated 21 Times Finally Wins For Hacksaw Ridge: Imagine the patience. I guess it’s never too late after all.
- Mahershala Ali Becomes First Muslim To Win An Acting Oscar: At least that’s what Variety tells me. Thank Heaven it was for the right movie too.
- Viola Davis Is Awesome But Full Of Herself: Fact.
- Mel Gibson’s Faces: Also fact. I don’t even think he knew where he was.
- Sweden Once Again Prove How We’ve Mastered Old-Age Makeup: One of the things that the folk in Hollywood can’t ever seem to get quite right is convincing old-age makeup. It’s pretty reassuring, then, that the Swedish film industry seems to have figured this one out. Just as the transformation of Robert Gustafsson into a 100-year-old man was acknowledged last year, with a Best Makeup and Hairstyling nomination for the aptly titled 100-Year Old Man, so too was A Man Called Ove (also nominated for Best Foreign Language Film) up for an Oscar in that same category this year. And then Suicide Squad got it. Good.
- More Swedes To Go Around: Linus Sandgren was awarded for the camera work in La La Land and Max Martin did some generic pop song for Trolls with Timberlake. That’s pretty cool too.
- Several Poignant Speeches: Favorites included Ali, Davis, Emma Stone, the folks behind White Helmets, Farhadi’s speech read by someone else on his behalf; there was quite a few. But I wanna get to the real good stuff…
That Goddamn Ending: You all knew I had to bring this up. In case you somehow haven’t heard of it yet, I’ll try to recap exactly what happened. The show’s almost over, Warren Beatty opens the envelope for Best Picture, a drumroll starts playing as he’s taking a peculiarly long time reading what’s on the paper, he hands it over to Faye Dunaway as though he’s trying to confirm something, Dunaway announces that the Oscar goes to La La Land, the cast and crew of said film appear on stage, and stand there for a good 2 minutes until the whole thing is interrupted, as producers Fred Berger and Marc Platt abruptly reveal that they actually lost, and Jordan Horowitz opens an envelope saying that Moonlight won. Beatty tells the audience that he had been given the wrong card (the one for Emma Stone’s Best Actress win) by a stage hand who will never work in Hollywood again and Kimmel promptly apologizes for pullng a Shyamalan/Steve Harvey, whilst the crews of Moonlight and La La Land swap places. This is sure to be an iconic Oscars ending; shocking, surprising, kinda awkward, yet also satisfying if you’re one of those people who are tired of La La Land.
And finally, some related tweets:
Would I have been mad if La La Land won, just as everyone predicted? Not really. Even when a work is clearly over-hyped to the point of fatigue, when a movie does something well it does something well, and I’ve decided to cherish the fact that someone had the idea of making a movie like it in this day and age. Maybe they’ll do it again with a better story some day (still starring Emma Stone, if I get to decide).
That’ll do for now. Be sure to tell me some of your own highlights. Me, I’m gonna watch some more important movies now that the Oscar marathon is over. Lego Batman, here we go! Play me off, Kimmel.