Oscars 2017: 6 Biggest Winners (and Losers)
The 89th Academy Awards was a relatively seamless and smooth broadcast. Host Jimmy Kimmel did a solid job with his gig, starting things off with a witty opening monologue and chiming in with solid one-liners in between awards and passionate acceptance speeches. In some sense, the Oscars this year were largely uneventful - that is, right up until the very end, with the gaffe heard 'round the world.
This year's Oscars will now live in infamy as totally unforgettable thanks to that moment. But now lying in the shadow of the Best Picture flub were some big winners and losers of the evening:
Made on an unthinkably small $1.5 million production budget, the little movie that could took home some big victories in Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali) and Best Adapted Screenplay. Most amazingly, however, it captured Hollywood's ultimate prize with the Best Picture Oscar, beating out heavy favorite La La Land. The movie's modest beginnings and circumstances belie its profound resonance, and this empathetic coming-of-age tale was the clear favorite of the Academy.
READ MORE: Film Review: 'Moonlight'
For a movie like this, just to be nominated is one thing; to take home such big prizes is out of this world, especially given the circumstances surrounding that bombshell Best Picture reveal. Speaking of...
WINNER: Jordan Horowitz, La La Land
Three La La Land producers had already given their speeches before the biggest error in Oscars history had been unearthed for the crowd. In the midst of all the commotion, producer Justin Horowitz showed incredible poise and maturity by springing into action to rectify the incorrect crowning of La La Land as the Best Picture winner. Citing his experience as a producer, Horowitz took command of the chaos and demonstrated incredible humility and grace to pass along the Best Picture award to Moonlight.
"In a crisis, [producers] are levelheaded and decisive, and I try to operate from a place of doing what’s right on a moment-to-moment basis,” Horowitz told the Washington Post. “There was a real breakdown of process, and setting it right was in my mind the only option."
"I would be proud to hand this award to my friends at Moonlight," exclaimed Horowitz to a crowd of stunned celebrities and filmmakers.
Even in spite of the flub, it was most definitely not a down night for La La Land. The musical was the night's biggest winner with 6 Oscar wins out of 14 nominations, and director Damien Chazelle made Oscars history by becoming the youngest Best Director winner ever at the age of 32.
LOSERS: Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures & Lion
All three Best Picture nominees came into the night with multiple nominations apiece - Hell or High Water with four, Hidden Figures with three, and Lion with four. However, all three movies were out-muscled by Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea, La La La Land, and Hacksaw Ridge, sending all three films home empty-handed. It's disappointing, too, as Hell or High Water was one of the year's best movies.
Coming uncomfortably close to joining the lonely group was the sci-fi drama Arrival, which came away with one Oscar (Best Sound Editing) out of a total 8 nominations.
WINNER: Hacksaw Ridge
Before La La Land could get on the roll many were anticipating it would go on, it was Mel Gibson's war drama that became the first multiple Oscar winner of the night. The film took home Oscars for Best Sound Mixing and Best Editing, both categories in which La La Land was heavily favored. The wins even injected some intrigue into the evening, as the Editing Oscar is usually a great predictor of the eventual Best Picture winner.
Also of note: Hacksaw Ridge sound mixer Kevin O'Connell snapped an 0-for-20 Oscar losing streak, with a string of sound nominations dating all the way back to 1984's Terms of Endearment and including noms for Top Gun, Days of Thunder, Twister, Con Air, Armageddon and Transformers. If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try again.
WINNER: Viola Davis, Fences
After a storied acting career with three other Oscar nominations, Fences co-star Viola Davis finally won her first Oscar for her stunning supporting performance. It was a victory that many predicted - myself included - but that did not take away from its significance, as Davis became the first black actor to win the Oscar, Tony, and Emmy (known as the Triple Crown of acting). What's more, Davis gave what is widely considered the best and most resounding speech of the night.
“I became an artist and thank God I did,” emoted a teary-eyed Davis to the Oscars crowd, “because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life."
Most performers are great on camera or the stage, but when it comes to doing live, authentic improvisation with an acceptance speech, most falter. Davis is clearly not one of those actors, and with her landmark speech, she clearly demonstrated her limitless talent -- not just as a performer, but an orator. So who's going to book her for a commencement speech?
The witty and gut-bustingly funny superhero flick of the year found itself snubbed by not even earning one nomination, but we knew about that travesty a month ago when nominations were announced. It was a bit of a surprise, too, as Deadpool received two big Golden Globe nominations in the comedy/musical division for Best Actor (Ryan Reynolds) and Best Picture.
However, an extra heavy dosage of salt was rubbed in the flesh wound on Sunday night, when Marvel's rivals over at DC had their much-maligned supervillain mashup Suicide Squad - a paint-by-numbers droll of a movie - won its lone Oscar nomination for Best Makeup and Hairstyling.
I've found myself frequently siding with the Academy over the years, but when it comes to this one, let this be the first time I've said the Academy just didn't get it.