The 2016/17 awards season is over and, after a great, yet shock ending to the Academy Awards, it looks like Moonlight has come out on top. Here’s my review of the Oscars and a quick roundup of the winners from the previous awards ceremonies.
The 89th Academy Awards were held on the 26th February and was hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and, oh what a night it was! Probably the biggest moment of the evening was the epic Best Picture mix-up with La La Land initially receiving the award, only to find out the wrong name had been read and Moonlight was the real winner. The last few minutes of the ceremony may have been the craziest but the show beforehand had plenty of great moments.
The show kicked off with Justin Timberlake performing his Oscar nominated song ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling’; a great opener and Timberlake was fantastic as usual. Kimmel then delivered his much anticipated opening monologue and he quickly became one of the best hosts in years. Of course, Donald Trump was going to be mentioned (and ridiculed), and Kimmel’s jabs at Trump were hilarious; from tweeting him during the show to this brilliant line: “I wanted to say thank you to President Trump. I mean, remember last year when it seemed like the Oscars were racist?” My favourite aspect, however, was the continuing ‘feud’ between Kimmel and Matt Damon. I laughed out loud at the We Bought A Zoo segment and the introduction of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, where Damon was referred to as a ‘guest’. Other fun and games included different snacks parachuting down over the theatre and a segment where a group of tourists, believing themselves to be on an evening tour, found themselves in the theatre after a set up. Kimmel even featured a special Oscars edition of Mean Tweets from his show which was great. I particularly liked the parachuting snacks but I felt the tourist segment lasted a little too long, but it was interesting to see them all interact with the stars. The In Memoriam segment was very moving with Sara Bareilles performing and Seth Rogen and Michael J. Fox presenting together with a DeLorean was awesome! Kimmel was fantastic throughout the night and I really hope he returns next year.
La La Land was the biggest winner of the night winning a total of six Oscars, including Best Director for Damien Chazelle, making him the youngest in this category in Oscars history, and Best Actress for Emma Stone. Moonlight was the next biggest winner with Mahershala Ali winning Best Supporting Actor, Barry Jenkins for Best Adapted Screenplay and, of course, Best Picture. Manchester by the Sea and Hacksaw Ridge were the final two multiple award-winning films of the night. Casey Affleck won Best Actor for Manchester by the Sea, Viola Davis won Best Supporting Actress for Fences and Best Original Screenplay was awarded to Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea.
This Oscars was one of firsts and, surprisingly, there was quite a lot of diversity within the Academy. Mahershala Ali became the first muslim to ever win an Oscar and, both he and Viola Davis were two blacks performers who triumphed. Viola Davis is also now just one step away from an EGOT. Ben and Casey Affleck became the first brothers in history to win Oscars and sound mixer Kevin O’Connell, finally won his first Oscar for Hacksaw Ridge, after a record-breaking twenty nominations. Barry Jenkins, who wrote and directed Moonlight, was nominated in both categories and became only the fourth black director in Oscars history to be nominated. I’m so happy that Casey Affleck won for Manchester by the Sea, which was one of my top three films of 2016 and I adored his performance. The Academy doesn’t usually recognise the smaller, subtler performances so I’m glad he wasn’t overlooked. The biggest triumph of the night, however, is the fact Moonlight won Best Picture, which is an independent film about a poor, gay, black boy. The Best Picture award is usually given to a much starrier picture and something that screams Hollywood so, naturally, I assumed La La Land would win but I’m so glad it didn’t. This is the step in the right direction, not just for the Academy but for the industry in general.
The ceremony may have ended with the Faye Dunaway/Warren Beatty balls-up but, you have to admit, it made great TV! I really enjoyed this Oscars and I loved how diverse it was this year and that more independent films are being celebrated.
“Black people saved NASA and white people saved jazz. That’s what I call progress.”
The awards season kicked off in late 2016 and the first big awards show was the 74th Golden Globe Awards in January. La La Land was the big winner of the night, winning all seven awards for which it was nominated. This makes the film the most successful in Golden Globes history. Elle was the only other multiple award-winning film, winning both awards for which it was nominated as well; Best Performance in a Motion Picture – Drama for Isabelle Huppert and Best Foreign Language Film. Meryl Streep was also announced as the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award honoree and delivered her now famous speech, which took aim at Donald Trump. The Night Manager, Atlanta, The Crown and The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story were the multiple award-winning television shows of the night. The Night Manager received three awards in total, including Best Performance in a Miniseries or Television Film for Tom Hiddleston and Best Supporting Performance in a Series, Miniseries or Television Film for Hugh Laurie and Olivia Colman respectively.
The 23rd Screen Actors Guild Awards were held in late January and Fences was the night’s biggest winner, taking home Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role for Denzel Washington and Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role for Viola Davis. The cast of Hidden Figures was awarded Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. Dolly Parton presented her former 9 to 5 co-star Lily Tomlin with the Lifetime Achievement Award. For television, The Crown received the most awards of the evening. Stranger Things won Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series and Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series was awarded to Orange is the New Black.
In early February, the 70th British Academy Films Awards were held at the Royal Albert Hall in London. La La Land again won the most awards of the night winning five, including Best Film and Best Director for Damien Chazelle. Manchester by the Sea and Lion each won two awards, with Casey Affleck and Dev Patel both winning for their respective films. Emma Stone won Best Actress in a Leading Role for La La Land and Viola Davis won Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Fences. The Ken Loach directed I, Daniel Blake won Outstanding British Film. Tom Holland won the EE Rising Star Award and Mel Brooks was awarded the BAFTA Fellowship for his contribution to cinema.
As per tradition, the 32nd Independent Spirit Awards were held the day before the Academy Awards on 25th February. Moonlight was the evening’s biggest winner, walking away with six awards, including Best Feature. Casey Affleck won Best Male Lead for Manchester by the Sea and Isabelle Huppert won Best Female Lead for Elle. The John Cassavetes Award went to Spa Night and the Robert Altman Award for Best Ensemble was awarded to Moonlight.
– Lorna C.