The 89th annual Academy Awards ceremony was held on Sunday, as Hollywood celebrated excellence in the film industry. With a nominee list more diverse than ever, the Academy took time to acknowledge diversity in the film industry during the ceremony, which ran for three hours and 49 minutes on broadcast television and featured a last-act mistake which caused confusion onstage.
The 2016 Oscars were preceded by a flurry of controversy, as celebrities, pundits and social media users accused the ceremony of extensive “whitewashing” through the use of the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. However, this year, the Academy appeared to address such complaints and made attempts to directly address the issue of diversity in the film industry.
Senior Taylor Gilson found the diverse nominations to be a positive change for the Oscars. “I’m happy that the winners were spread between a lot of different movies,” she said.
Comedian Jimmy Kimmel hosted the event, opening the night by making fun of President Trump and acknowledging the ceremonies’ troubled past in regards to diversity before giving out the first award of the night, for Best Supporting Actor.
The award was given to actor Mahershala Ali, for his performance in “Moonlight.” Ali has also garnered acclaim for his role of nightclub owner Cottonmouth in the Netflix series “Luke Cage,” which debuted last year. Ali’s acceptance of the award marked the first win by a Muslim actor in the ceremony’s history.
Shortly after, actress Viola Davis took home her first Academy Award, winning Best Supporting Actress for her work in “Fences.” Her win makes her the first African-American woman to win a Tony Award, an Emmy and an Oscar in acting, as well as the record holder for the most Oscar nominations by an African-American actress. Davis’ speech was one of the most memorable of the night, as it gave viewers an emotional and inspirational insight into her personal struggles as an actor.
The travel ban policy of Trump, who was mocked by Kimmel throughout the night, impacted the awards ceremony as director Asghar Farhadi skipped the ceremony in protest of the ban against the people of his home country, Iran. When his film, “The Salesman,” won the award for Best Foreign Film, Farhadi had Iranian-American astronaut Anousheh Ansari accept the award in his place and deliver a speech sharing his thoughts on the ban.
The ceremony was also filled with performances from each of the artists nominated for Best Original Song. John Legend performed a medley including “La La Land” songs “Audition” and “City of Stars.” However, one of the most memorable performances of the night came from Lin-Manuel Miranda and Auli’i Cravalho, when they sang “How Far I’ll Go” from the nominated Disney film “Moana.”
“The performance from ‘Moana’ was just spectacular,” said senior James Perlas, “so I was annoyed when it didn’t win.”
The “La La Land” song “City of Stars” won Best Original Song and was one of many wins for the musical movie. The film racked up 14 nominations, tying with “Titanic” for most nominations in a single year, and won six Oscars, including Best Director, Best Musical Score, Best Production Design and Best Actress, which went to Emma Stone. “La La Land” also won for Best Cinematography, which represented one of senior Mike Rooney’s favorite aspects of the film. “There was no doubt to me that ‘La La Land’ was going to win for Best Cinematography,” said Rooney, “the musical numbers were shot and choreographed beautifully.”
Sophomore Quinn Geraghty was also pleased to see “La La Land” rack up Oscars throughout the night. “I thought it was extremely well done,” said Geraghty, “from the story, to the scoring and the choreography made it a very enjoyable experience.”
However, “La La Land” fell short on winning the biggest award of the night, when it was mistakenly awarded Best Picture. Presenters of the Best Picture award, actress Faye Dunaway and actor/director Warren Beatty, mistakenly called up the producers for “La La Land” when “Moonlight” had actually won Best Picture. While fans of “La La Land” were just as heartbroken as the producers were, fans of “Moonlight” were overjoyed to see the turnaround.
“When the mix-up happened, I was losing my mind,” said senior Hayley Van Hoek, “I was so excited that 'Moonlight' won."
So with great musical performances, diversity in film winners and nominees and a mix-up that is more than memorable, the 89th Academy Awards is a ceremony that people will be talking about for a while.