The 89th Academy Awards Reflection

By Livia Peterson

Wasn’t the 89th Academy Awards crazy and awkward, especially during the Best Picture snafu? On the one hand, the host Jimmy Kimmel and the winners mentioned politics and how important it is to include folks, regardless of the gender, the ethnicity, and the sexual orientation. The magic of movies were front and center, despite “La La Land” did not win the coveted Best Picture award. Yes, “La La Land” should’ve won yet “Moonlight” winning Best Picture allowed the Academy to send the message – we are striving for inclusion.
Nonetheless, my following ten reflection bullet points…
Number One: The Best Picture misunderstanding.

The presenters – the “Bonnie & Clyde” duo – Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty was given the Best Lead Actress envelope – and Dunaway read “La La Land” as the Best Picture victor. Two minutes later, the “La La Land” producer Jordan Horowitz displayed the Best Picture card, clearly revealing “Moonlight” as the actual winner. So, of course, the “La La Land” producers professionally handed their Academy Awards to Barry Jenkins and Company. This moment was easily the highlight during the Oscar evening – initially exciting and followed by complete confusion. You see, I was on the “La La Land” side all along and witnessing the producers literally losing their Oscar to an equally deserving picture will always haunt me. I am still reeling from the error and yes, expect it to be permanently written in the Academy’s history.
Number Two: Jimmy Kimmel is a mediocre host.

The Academy Awards are a special event. Justin Timberlake performed “Can’t Stop the Feeling” (from “Trolls”) during the opening sequence. I extremely missed the opening montage that pays tribute to most to all the nominated films. Kimmel was very political – less on the politics and more honoring the magic of the movies.
Number Three: Best Film Editing - “Hacksaw Ridge”.

The rather underwhelming “Hacksaw Ridge” did not leave empty handed. “La La Land” provided flawless editing – fully immersing you into the incredible love narrative, including Mia and Seb in the dreamy Los Angeles, California. However, the editing distracted me until the bloodbath conclusion during “Hacksaw Ridge”. The so-called “Oscar worthy” editing is during the conclusion, but by no means, the complete feature.
Number Four: Best Sound Editing - “Arrival”.

I predicted “Hacksaw Ridge” to be the victor and yet, I never anticipated the aforementioned film to win.
Number Five: Best Sound Mixing - “Hacksaw Ridge”.

“La La Land” deserved to win the Academy Award in the category; however, I completely see why “Hacksaw Ridge” is the victor – of course, a war film.
Number Six: Best Foreign Language Film -“The Salesman” (Iran).

The Academy was establishing the obvious political statement here – the director Asghar Farhadi optioned not to attend the ceremony due to Trump’s travel ban (particularly Muslim countries) – he was advocating for Iran and the neighboring countries. The United States is inclusive yet Trump is dividing us more than ever. Maren Ade’s “Toni Erdmann” (Germany) actually deserved the Academy Award, though. The Academy missed out on providing the woman director – Ms. Ade the recognition she deserves.
Number Seven: Best Costume Design - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”.

One word: Shocking. Yes, Colleen Atwood was surprised too. You should’ve seen her facial expression prior to accepting the Academy Award. Nonetheless, Mary Zophres (“La La Land”) is the ultimate winner in the category.
Number Eight: Best Original Screenplay - “Manchester by the Sea”.

I was worried that Damien Chazelle (“La La Land”) would’ve stole Kenneth Lonergan’s (“Manchester by the Sea”) thunder in the category. Whereas “La La Land” primarily relies on the exquisite tunes to tell the story, “Manchester by the Sea” boasts genuine emotion and gravitas allowing you to feel all the feels.
Best Nine: Best Lead Actor: Denzel Washington (“Fences”) NOT upsetting Casey Affleck (“Manchester by the Sea”).

I was relieved to hear “And the Oscar goes to…Casey Affleck – “Manchester by the Sea”. I took a deep breath and felt good during the acceptance speech.
Number Ten: “La La Land” received six Academy Awards.

The awards prognosticators, including me were pondering – will “La La Land” win the fourteen Academy Awards? Will the beloved film beat records? Damien Chazelle’s wonderful love letter was recognized yet ultimately deserved the Best Picture Academy Award. Congratulations to “Moonlight”, regardless.

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