Stars make history at the 90th Academy Awards

Photo courtesy of Michael Key, Wikipedia

Stars gathered in Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre for the 90th Academy Awards ceremony to honor the best films released throughout 2017. Many directors and creators broke records this year, with the most significant being Jordan Peele, who became the first African American writer to win Best Screenplay for his haunting social thriller “Get Out.”

Other noteworthy feats include Greta Gerwig securing a female nomination in the Best Director category, as she is only the fifth woman to do so. “A Fantastic Woman” became the first Chilean film to win an Oscar for Foreign Language Film.

Jimmy Kimmel’s sardonic humor ignited the show, starting with his opening monologue which blended cinematic moments and timely subject matter such as the #MeToo movement. For instance, when Kimmel lauded Guillermo del Toro for “The Shape of Water,” he said, “You made a beautiful movie, and thanks to Guillermo, we will always remember this year as the year men screwed up so badly, [Women] started dating fish.”

Films that verge on science fiction rarely crack the Best Picture nominations, but del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” came away with four awards in total, including one for Best Picture. The film uses elements of romance and fantasy to tell a story an unusual story about a mute custodian who falls for a human-amphibian creature.

During his acceptance speech for Best Director, del Toro said, “I am an immigrant. In the last 25 years, I've been living in a country all of our own. The greatest thing our industry does is to erase lines in the sand. We should continue to do that." Other celebrities also utilized their platform to promote awareness about immigration and Dreamers.

Before presenting the Oscar for production design, Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o said, “Like everyone in this room and everyone watching at home we are dreamers. We grew up dreaming of one day working in the movies. Dreams are the foundation of Hollywood, and dreams are the foundation of America." Oscar nominee Kumail Nanjiani added, “To all the Dreamers out there, we stand with you.”

There were humorous references to last year’s Best Picture mix up, where the incorrect movie was announced as the winner. Delving into the archives, Kimmel said, “At the 1927 Oscars, they gave out two prizes for Best Picture, which is kind of like what happened last year.”

The running joke of the night was the celebrity that delivered the shortest thank-you speech would win a jet ski. Before reciting their lengthy list of names, many celebrities would openly admit they had no chance of winning the jet ski, with the exception of “Phantom Thread’s” costume designer, Mark Bridges, who went home with a jet ski and an Oscar.

Despite the intense wave of sexual assault allegations that surfaced this past year, the 90th Academy Awards put forward a positive message. After a diverse montage video of courageous men and women who have broken race and gender barriers, actress and political activist Ashley Judd said, “We work together to make sure the next 90 years empower these limitless possibilities of equality, diversity, inclusion, intersectionality. That's what this year has promised us.”