The Many Dramas of the 89th Academy Awards

Image: nyt.com
The Many Dramas of the 89th Academy Awards
Bernadine Racoma

The 89th Academy Awards (or the 2017 Oscars) had just announced its many winners for this year. As usual, it was a resplendent affair, with all the glitz and glamor synonymous with Hollywood. Most celebrities are probably still enjoying the post-Oscar parties and some of the behind-the-scenes happenings have now been forgotten. Others, have longer memories, though.

The host and his jokes

There were several netizens who were quick to take to social media to criticize host Jimmy Kimmel. They did not find it amusing as the host made fun of the names of two non-white actors. He found the name Mahershala Ali, who’s a best supporting actor contender, quite funny. He even requested visitors to yell their names. There was an Asian woman who yelled her name, followed by someone who said his name was Patrick. Kimmel told the audience that it was a real name. Netizens posted several comments, saying that what Kimmel did was a form of casual racism, “other-izing” non-white names. Mahershala Ali, who was in the eventual Best Picture winner for this year’s Oscars, won the award for Best Supporting Actor.

Botched announcement

Almost a shout-out to the Miss Universe 2015 fiasco, the presenters for the Best Picture category were Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty. Beatty took a long time looking at his card before handing it to Dunaway, who announced that the winner was “La La Land.”  It seemed like a shoo-in because the film had 14 nominations, and was on top overall. Receiving eight nods each were “Arrival” and “Moonlight.”

The cast members and producers from “La La Land” were already onstage and giving their thank you speeches before the error was noticed. It was actually Jordan Horowitz, the producer of “La La Land” who showed the winner’s card to the cameras. The real winner of the Best Picture award was “Moonlight,” a gay boy’s coming-of-age story, set during the 1980s in the drug-ridden and impoverished section of Miami. It was a low-budget indie film that went head-to-head with the uplifting and candy-colored dreamland of La La Land. Moonlight was written and directed by Barry Jenkins. It was produced by Jeremy Kleiner, Dede Gardner and Adele Romanski. The producers were the ones who accepted the award.

Warren Beatty later said that he looked at the card he was holding for a long time because written on it was Emma Stone, declaring her the winner. Because Stone was in La La Land, Faye Dunaway mistook that to mean that the film won. The truth was the wrong card (for Best Actress) was handed to him!

Trump and the New York Times

The fight between President Trump and the media continues to escalate. For the first time since 2010, The New York Times paid for ad space in the broadcast of the 2017 Oscars, called, “The Truth is Hard.” Before it aired, the U.S. president took to his personal Twitter account to deride the respected newspaper. The ad was the publication’s response to President Trump calling it a “failing” organization.

It had several political undertones since the President labels some news stories that he disagrees with as “fake news.” Numerous times the president has been lambasted by news organizations for his accuracy issues, which White House aides called exploring alternate facts.

Top Oscar winners

Despite the hullaballoo that’s quite common in Hollywood, here are the top winners:

Moonlight – Best Picture

Casey Affleck – Best Actor (Manchester by the Sea)

Emma Stone – Best Actress (La La Land)

Mahershala Ali – Best Supporting Actor (Moonlight)

Viola Davis – Best Supporting Actress (Fences)

Zootopia – Best Animated Feature

La La Land – Best Cinematography

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Best Costume Design

Damien Chazelle – Best Direction (La La Land)

O.J.: Made in America – Best Documentary Feature

The White Helmets – Best Documentary Short

Hacksaw Ridge – Best Film Editing

The Salesman – Best Foreign Language Film

Suicide Squad – Best Makeup and Hairstyling

La La Land – Best Score

Incidentally, the cinematographer of The White Helmets of Netflix, Khaled Khateeb, was not able to attend. Due to some derogatory information, he was denied entry to the United States. White Helmets is about the first responders in Syria. Producer Joanna Natasegara said they have been in touch with Khateeb and he was delighted with the news. She added that as filmmakers, they travel around the world to build compassion among people and will never support a travel ban. The leader of The White Helmets was also not able to come because Syria needed his services as a lifesaver more than for him to attend the Academy Awards.

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