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Outrage at the Oscars

Dana Lee

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The 89th Academy Awards, which honored the best films of 2016, were held on Sunday, February 26th, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Jimmy Kimmel hosted the show for the first time, and he managed to cause quite a lot of laughter. The performers this year included Lin-Manuel Miranda, Auli’i Cravalho, Sting, Justin Timberlake, and John Legend. This year’s competition was tough, there were many records and milestones that were accomplished among the winners.

However, the highlight of the night was most definitely the moment when Best Picture presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway unintentionally announced La La Land as the winner. Moments later, after quite a few La La Land speeches, producer Jordan Horowitz clarified that the actual winner was Moonlight. The mistake occurred because Beatty and Dunaway were given the wrong category envelope – a copy of Emma Stone’s Best Actress in a leading role card. The card read “Emma Stone, La La Land,” which caused the two presenters to pause and share very confused looks before announcing the incorrect result.

COURTEST OF IVAN BANDURA.
Academy Award of Merit statuettes are cast in liquid bronze and electroplated in 24-karat gold

PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm that is in charge of the Oscars balloting, apologized for the mixup. “We sincerely apologize to ‘Moonlight,’ ‘La La Land,’ Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway and Oscar viewers for the error that was made during the award announcement for Best Picture,” the firm said in an official statement posted on the Oscars website. “The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered, was immediately corrected. We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred.”

La La Land had many wins to make up for their loss however, and in fact won the most awards out of all the nominees, with six wins after receiving a record number of 14 nominations. Its wins include Best Director, Best Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Original Song, Best Production Design, and Best Cinematography. Moonlight, an emotional drama film starring Trevante Rhodes and Mahershala Ali, won three out of eight nominations, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Moonlight became the very first film with LGBT themes and an all-African American cast to win Best Picture. Mahershala Ali, who won the Best Supporting Actor award, became the first Muslim to win an acting Oscar.

Other notable mentions are the movies Hacksaw Ridge and Manchester by the Sea, which won two Oscars each. Films that won only one award include Arrival, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Fences, The Jungle Book, O.J.: Made in America, Piper, The Salesman, Sing, Suicide Squad, The White Helmets, and Zootopia.

There were many entertaining moments scattered throughout the event that made the Oscars very enjoyable to watch. For instance, some memorable moments include Jimmy Kimmel feeding the stars sweets from packages with parachutes that dropped from the ceiling, giving unsuspecting tourists from a Hollywood tour bus an opportunity to meet Hollywood A-listers, and Jimmy Kimmel and Matt Damon’s fake feud.

Although this year’s Academy Awards were relatively tame, there were still quite a few political statements. Iranian director Asghar Farhadi did not attend the Oscars in protest of Trump’s immigration ban. Anousheh Ansari, the first Iranian to go to space, was sent in his place to accept his award for Best Foreign Language Film for his movie, The Salesman. She read a powerful statement from Farhadi, stating that “Filmmakers can turn their cameras to capture shared human qualities and break stereotypes of various nationalities and religions. They create empathy between us and others. An empathy which we need today more than ever.” In addition, many celebrities – including Ruth Negga, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Karlie Kloss – chose to wear a blue American Civil Liberties Union Ribbon to protest the travel ban. Emma Stone and Dakota Johnson sported Planned Parenthood pins, which were a simple way to make a political statement.

After this exciting year, many are hopeful that next year’s Oscars will be just as eventful as this one. With a final view count of 32.9 million people, this may be a difficult feat to accomplish.

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The student news site of Adrian Wilcox High School in Santa Clara, California
Outrage at the Oscars