The 89th Oscars® took place at the Dolby® Theatre in Hollywood, CA on Sunday, February 26, 2017. The Academy Awards, the greatest annual film industry’s event, are an extravaganza of entertainment, celebrities, fashion and social trends every year. The Oscars are always perfectly organized and flawless. This year, was a bit different.
For once, we’ve seen Oscars highs AND lows. The 2017 Oscars’ glitches didn’t diminish either the worldwide appeal of The Academy Awards. The Academy is a venerated institution and no snafu can diminish its image.
The Red Carpet sizzled! Justin Timberlake’s opening performance not only brought the 89th Oscars audience to its feet, it set the tone for a high energy evening and inspired spontaneous dancing in the aisles. Sara Bareilles sung like an angel during the In Memoriam tribute to the stars we lost in 2016. John Legend, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Auli’i Cravalho were wonderful, but the most memorable performance of the night was Sting’s. “The Empty Chair” ballad from “Jim: The James Foley Story” was poignant and memorable. The film honors James Foley, the journalist killed by terrorists. Sting’s performance concluded with a Foley’s quote showed on a large screen: “If I don’t have the moral courage to challenge authority … we don’t have journalism.” Wise words that remain just as relevant today as when Foley has spoken them.
Jimmy Kimmel was his usual warm and entertaining self. Relatively controversy-free, the soon-to-be father, made a gracious Oscars host.
Some Of 2017 Oscars Winners
- Best Film: Moonlight
- Best Actor: Casey Affleck
- Best Actress: Emma Stone
- Best Actor In A Supporting Role: Mahershala Ali
- Best Actress In A Supporting Role: Viola Davis
Excerpt from a backstage interview with Emma Stone, 2017 Oscar Best Actress:
Question: What does it mean to you as one of the ones who dreamed to have won this award for playing this role that mimics what so many people in this city go through to get to the point of where you are standing right now?
Emma Stone: “Well, it’s I guess surreal is probably the only way to describe it. It was I mean, to play this this woman, I knew this I’ve lived here for 13 years. I moved when I was 15 to start auditioning, and I knew what it felt like to go on audition after audition. So I mean anything like this was pretty inconceivable in a you know, in a realistic context. So right now, it still feels I had a really creepy little moment backstage not to change the subject but I was just like looking down at it, like it was my newborn child. This is a statue of a naked man. Very creepy staring at it. So hopefully I will look at a newborn child differently. But I mean it’s, yeah, it’s incredibly surreal. I don’t have the benefit of hindsight yet. Sorry if that’s a terrible answer. Turned it into a naked man story.”
Excerpt from a backstage interview with Casey Affleck, 2017 Oscar Best Actor:
Question: Casey, you said something along the lines of you wished you had something meaningful to say. You said something fairly meaningful yesterday at the Independent Spirit Awards, but we were led to believe that this was going to be a very political Oscars, but it didn’t quite turn out that way. So why do you think that was?
Casey Affleck: “Why was it that there weren’t that many people who made remarks that were political? I think there were quite a few people who made some said some things that were sort of about their current global political situation and they’re also about you know, but were from a point of view of artists and they spoke about the importance of arts and so forth. I don’t know why more people didn’t. It doesn’t entirely seem like an inappropriate place given the state of things. It seems like this is just as fine a platform as any to make some remarks so long they are respectful and positive. Personally, I didn’t say anything because my head was completely blank, the shock of winning the award and the terror of having a microphone in front of you and all of those faces staring at you. So if I said I wish I had something meaningful to say, that was my inside voice coming out. I wasn’t even aware that I actually said that out loud. I didn’t thank my children, which is something that I’ll probably never ever live down. About three seconds after I made it backstage, my phone rang and my son said, “You didn’t even mention us.” And my heart just sank. So, you know, that probably would have been the most meaningful thing I could have said and I failed.”
In his acceptance speech, Mahershala Ali 2017 Oscar Best Actor In A Supporting Role said, buttoning up his jacket:
“My grandma would want me to button up. Wow. I want to thank my teachers, my professors. I have so many wonderful teachers, and one thing that they consistently told me—Zelda Fichandler, Ron Van Lieu, Ken Washington—is that it wasn’t about you. It’s not about you. It’s about these characters you are serving. You’re in service to these stories and these characters, and I’m so blessed to have had an opportunity—it was about Juan, it was about Chiron, it was about Paula. The cast and crew was just such a wonderful experience. Thank you, Barry Jenkins. Thank you, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Adele Romanski, who forced Barry to cast me, and it’s just such a wonderful experience. And I have so many people to thank who got me here. My manager Carolyn Govers, who I’ve been with for 10 years. Just thank you so much. And the rest of the cast, who did wonderful work. Any one of them could be up here right now holding this trophy. It’s such a gift getting to work with you and be inspired by you and the performances that you all offered up. So thank you, the Academy, I really appreciate this. I just want to thank my wife, who was in her third trimester during awards season. We just had our daughter four days ago. I just want to thank her for being such a soldier through this process and help, and really carrying me through it all. So thank you. Really appreciate it. Peace and blessings.”
In her acceptance speech, Viola Davis 2017 Oscar Best Actress In A Supporting Role, said:
“Thank you to the Academy. You know, there’s one place that all the people with the greatest potential are gathered. One place. And that’s the graveyard. People ask me all the time, “What kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola?” And I say, exhume those bodies. Exhume those stories. The stories of the people who dreamed big and never saw those dreams to fruition. People who fell in love and lost. I became an artist, and thank god I did, because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life. So here’s to August Wilson, who exhumed and exalted the ordinary people.
And to Bron Pictures, Paramount, MACRO, Todd Black, Molly Allen, Scott Rudin for being the cheerleaders for a movie that is about people, and words, and life, and forgiveness and grace. And to Mykelti Williamson, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Russell Hornsby, Jovan Adepo, Saniyya Sidney for being the most wonderful artists I’ve ever worked with. And, “O captain, my captain,” Denzel Washington. Thank you for puttin’ two entities in the driving seat: August and God.
And they served you well. And to Dan and Mae Alice Davis, who were the—and are the center of my universe. The people who taught me good or bad, how to fail, how to love, how to hold an award, how to lose: my parents. I’m so thankful that God chose you to bring me into this world. To my sisters. My sister Deloris, who’s here, who played Jaji and Jaja with me. We were rich white women in the tea party games. Thank you for the imagination. And to my husband and my daughter, my heart, you and Genesis. You teach me every day how to live, how to love. I’m so glad that you are the foundation of my life. Thank you to the Academy. Thank you.”
2017 Oscars Memorable Moments
The main events of the Oscars take place on stage. So, what happened during the 89th Oscars?
The first big snafu in the Oscars 90 year history: Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway – stars of 1967’s Bonnie and Clyde – announced the Best Picture Winner erroneously! The situation has been clarified since.
In a statement PriceWaterHouseCoopers said: ”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 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.
We appreciate the grace with which the nominees, the Academy, ABC, and Jimmy Kimmel handled the situation.”
Still, the moment was tough on everyone: the La La Land team who delivered meaningful acceptance speeches and yes, the Moonlight team who had to deal with a loss and then a win just seconds apart. The live and TV viewer audiences were confused, too….
In the end the team of Moonlight set us all at ease. Berry Jenkins said in a backstage interview:
“I think all the movies that were nominated were worthy, so I accepted the results. I applauded like everyone else. I noticed the commotion that was happening, and I thought something strange had occurred. And then I’m sure everybody saw my face. But I was speechless when the result that was awkward, because I’ve watched the Academy Awards, and I’ve never seen that happen before. And so it made a very special feeling even more special, but not in the way I expected.”
Asked what explanation he was given for the mixup, Jenkins replied:
“No explanation. Things just happen, you know? But I will say I saw two cards. And so things just happen, you know? I did but and because I wanted to see the card to see the card. And Warren refused to show the card to anybody before he showed it to me. And so he did. He came upstairs, and he walked over to me, and he he showed the card. Everybody was asking, Can I see the card? And he’s like, No, Barry Jenkins has to see the card. I need him to know. And he showed it to me, and I felt better about what had happened. I will say to all you people, please write this down: The folks from LA LA LAND were so gracious. I can’t imagine being in their position and having to do that. We spent a lot of time together over the last six months, and I can’t imagine being in their position and having to do that. So it’s why I wasn’t speechless because we won. I was speechless because I it was so gracious of them to do that.”
Not to worry, La La Land is by no means a loser! It has won unprecedented SIX Oscars: The film won six Oscars: Best Directing (Damien Chazelle), Best Actress (Emma Stone), Best Original Score (Justin Hurwitz), Best Song (“City of Stars”), Best Cinematography (Linus Sandgren), and Best Production Design (David Wasco and Sandy Reynolds-Wasco). Not bad for a musicalin 2017!
The win of Iranian director Ashgar Farhadi for Best Foreign Language Film of the year, for “The Salesman”. Farhadi didn’t attend the ceremony due to the mess caused by President Trump’s travel ban. He was however represented by Firouz Naderi and Anousheh Ansari, the latter delivered a moving statement from Farhadi:
“It’s a great honor to be receiving this valuable award for the second time. I would like to thank the members of the Academy, my crew in Iran, my producer Alexandre Mallet-Guy, Cohen Media, Amazon and my fellow nominees in the foreign film category. I’m sorry I’m not with you tonight. My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of other six nations whom have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S. Dividing the world into the us and our enemies categories creates fear. A deceitful justification for aggression and war. These wars prevent democracy and human rights in countries which have themselves been victims of aggression. 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. Thank you on behalf of Mr. Farhadi.”
Last but not least, bringing a group of star-struck tourists on the Oscars stage was a great idea because it gave us all the opportunity to experience the stars and their audience together.
The 89th Oscars weren’t mistake-free. One was the erroneous announcement of the Best Picture winner. Another blunder sneaked into the In Memoriam segment: a picture of a living Australian production designer (Chapman) was used in a tribute to a recently diseased Australian production designer (Patterson).
Oscars have always been, are and will forever be, exciting, glamorous and inspiring. If anything, the massive mistake in the Best Picture winner announcement proves that Oscars aren’t run by divine beings but imperfect humans just like us. Long live Oscars!