Between Gary from Chicago and Warren Beatty’s Steve Harvey moment, the 2017 Academy Awards will be remembered forever. But more importantly, this year’s Oscars made history with the first ever LGBTQ film achieving the Academy’s highest honor: Best Picture!
It was a night of glitzy fashion, great music, not-so-subtle political jabs, and some momentous awards.
Scarlet, Sequins, and Sleeves
Red carpet garb is a real spectacle during award season every year, but putting aside the overpriced pageantry, the event is an important platform to celebrate fashion design and styling artistry.
Some notable ensembles included lesbian icon Kate McKinnon’s matte black Narciso Rodriguez gown with a sequined bodice, Viola Davis in a scarlet halter top Armani dress, Taraji P. Henson’s black velvet Alberta Ferretti number with a plunging boat neckline, and Octavia Spencer in lavender gray Marchesa silk with a feathered skirt.
Halle Berry also knocked it out of the park in a black and nude Atelier Versace Couture sequined gown with sheer lace and a fringed train, while Jessica Biel served pure glamor in her sleeved, gold-and-silver sequined Kaufman Franco with a Tiffany bib necklace. Emma Stone rocked a gold-on-gray embroidered sequined dress by Givenchy Haute Couture with beaded 1920s fringe.
And while the fashion industry places women in the spotlight, the men of this year’s Academy Awards brought their A-game as well. Continuing the trend from Pharell’s amazing look at the Golden Globes, both David Oyelowo and Tarell Alvin McCraney stole the show among male attendees, sporting embroidered white tuxedo jackets. Pharell himself stunned in a black Chanel tuxedo with a Victorian-style jacket and chain accessories.
But the real showstoppers were Janelle Monáe, Dakota Johnson, and Ruth Negga. Negga gave us haunted dollhouse realness in her bright red, laced, high-collared, long-sleeved Valentino gown as Johnson followed suit with the modesty trend in a belted, sleeved, champagne silk Gucci dress. Monáe, a style icon unto herself, donned a gold and black gemmed, belted Elie Saab Couture gown with a lace bodice and a pannier silhouette skirt. Unforgettable!
Best Original Backup Dancers
The nominees for Best Original Song were a real treat this year. After all the guests arrived and got settled, Justin Timberlake opened the show with his upbeat song from Trolls called “Just Dance,” mashed up with “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers, performed as an entrance from the house with formal-clad backup dancers. They gave us shoulder, they gave us hips, and they got the crowd on their feet. It was the perfect way to kick off the night.
Later in the show, Auli’I Cravalho sang “How Far I’ll Go,” the original song from Moana written by Hamilton’s Lin-Manual Miranda. And though she was wacked in the head by an overzealous dancer, she maintained her poise and absolutely killed the number. She was followed by Sting who later performed acoustically on a dark stage with nothing but a mic and a stool, singing the song “The Empty Chair” from the film Jim: The James Foley Story.
But as La La Land snagged TWO nominations for Best Original Song, John Legend performed both numbers, singing and playing the piano while dancers performed around him. As handsome as ever and as talented as always, Legend delivered impressive vocal power.
Oh Captain, My Ill-Adjusted Kindergartener
There were some clear winners of the night. Sure, films like La La Land and Moonlight took home the gold, but the evening turned out to give important and urgent credence to immigrants, Muslims, people of color, LGBTQ folk, and artists in general. Minority communities and creatives found overt advocacy and vocal support during Oscar acceptance speeches.
You know who didn’t get overt advocacy? America’s Tang-dusted, Twitter-addicted aspiring dictator—or Twitler, as George Takei would call him.
Throughout the night, host Jimmy Kimmel delivered jab after jab at our soggy Cheeto in Chief. “I want to thank President Trump,” he said. “Remember last year when it seemed like the Oscars were racist?” And it was this moment when we realized Kimmel was going to knock it out of the park as a host.
Gael García Bernal, a Mexican immigrant, diverged from the teleprompter and spoke out against the xenophobic idea of a “wall,” followed by Warren Beatty’s own divergence describing what we should strive for in art, and in politics: the truth.
(Don’t worry, we’ll get to Beatty’s other moment in a sec.)
Benj Pasek, a lyricist for La La Land, gave a shout out to the public school system during his acceptance speech, and then we were treated to a pro-unity, pro-Muslim-acceptance speech from an associate of Asghar Farhadi, the Iranian filmmaker who created The Salesman (which won Best Foreign Language Film).
Putin’s Pet commented on the Oscars afterward in an interview with Breitbart “News” (which I refuse to link to for obvious reasons), stating “It was a little sad… It didn’t feel like a very glamorous evening.”
The Highlight Reel
Though the night was full of hilarious and touching moments, a few rose to the top as the best highlights of the 2017 Academy Awards:
- That moment when the stars of Hidden Figures took the stage as a divine threesome of Black Girl Magic. Pretty sure actual angels sang.
- When parachutes with Red Vines and Junior Mints fell from the sky like a sick Hunger Games allusion (followed by parachutes of cookies and donuts, which Taraji P. Henson was quick to request from the lucky Octavia Spencer).
- When randos on a Hollywood tour bus were surprised with a trip to the Oscars and got selfies with the actors in the front row. “Gary from Chicago” has become an overnight star while his fiancée Vicky has become a meme sensation with Ryan Gosling’s alleged “whisper.”
- When Jimmy Kimmel lifted Sunny Pawar from Lion and performed that iconic moment from The Lion King, then promised him some candy.
- All those Celebrity Mean Tweets: Oscars Edition
- How Sara Bareilles’ beautiful performance of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” during the In Memoriam reel made you ugly-cry.
- When different actors shared “Inspiration” moments, including Charlize Theron of Shirley MacLaine, Seth Rogen of Michael J. Fox, Javier Bardem of Meryl Streep, and Jimmy Kimmel of Matt Damon (a sarcastic jab at Damon, one of many throughout the night).
- And The Winner Is…
You probably never thought you’d say “Hey, let’s watch that Academy Award winning film, Suicide Squad!” But now you can. The film won for Best Makeup, and several other films racked up one-off awards.
Of its 8 nominations, Arrival only brought home the Oscar for Sound Editing, and OJ: Made in America snubbed I Am Not Your Negro for Best Documentary Feature. But the Harry Potter fandom is deliciously vindicated as one of the franchise’s films has FINALLY won an Academy Award; costume designer Colleen Atwood, a frequent Oscar winner, seemed genuinely surprised to win for her excellent work on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Now, Casey Affleck. Casey. Affleck. He won Best Actor for his role in Manchester by the Sea, and while he’s an inarguably talented actor, his win is peppered with controversy. Firstly, many believe he was undeserving of the award because he was outperformed by Denzel Washington in Fences and Ryan Gosling in La La Land. But moreover, Affleck was accused of multiple instances of sexual harassment. Brie Larson, a vocal advocate for victims of sexual assault, notably refused to clap for Affleck’s win.
Uncontroversially, however, was Viola Davis’ well-deserved Best Actress win for her role in Fences. She has been nominated for several Oscars but this first victory gave her the platform to deliver a heartfelt acceptance speech honoring the film’s director, Denzel Washington, and its writer, the late August Wilson. She embodied passion and poise and is sure to be met with a long string of Academy Award nominations for her future work.
Many films received multiple nominations, but only 3 films took home multiple Oscars. Hacksaw Ridge won for Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing while Moonlight earned Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor in Mahershala Ali, remarkably the first ever Muslim actor to receive an Academy Award for a performance. The film’s writer, Tarell Alvin McCraney, publicly dedicated his award to “all those black and brown boys and girls and non-gender-conforming who don’t see themselves, we’re trying to show you you, and us.”
La La Land, a dazzling musical written by, about, and for Hollywood, unsurprisingly swept the Oscars as it did the Golden Globes this year. The film took home awards for Production Design, Cinematography, Best Original Score, Best Original Song: “City of Stars” (totally snubbing the more worthy song “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana), Best Actress (for Emma Stone’s honest and talented performance), and Best Director.
La La Land also won Best Pict—
Wait, what’s that, Warren Beatty? There’s been a mistake? WHERE IS STEVE HARVEY?
After an alleged mix-up of red envelopes onstage, Mr. Beatty mistakenly read the wrong card, announcing that La La Land had won the Academy Award for Best Picture. The film’s entire cast and crew in attendance flooded the stage and began their thank-you speeches, but a stage manager rushed in to inform them of the mistake.
Emma Stone silently mouthing “Oh My God” while her big blue eyes filled with terror was all of us in that moment.
But Jordan Horowitz, one of the film’s producers, was quick to get on the mic and inform the creators of Moonlight that they had in fact won the Oscar for Best Picture—and no, it wasn’t a joke. Horowitz was later praised on social media for how he handled the error and quickly ensured that the award was passed to the correct hands.
Director Barry Jenkins et al then walked up to the stage in disbelief while the La La Land crew were all still there, and after shaking off the shell-shock, took his moment to thank the Academy for the honor.
YOU GUYS, A QUEER BLACK FILM JUST WON BEST PICTURE AT THE ACADEMY FUCKING AWARDS. It’s important that this momentous achievement in LGBTQ cinema—with a film featuring a cast entirely comprised of people of color—not be overshadowed by the gaffe that occurred when announcing its win. Instead, I hope to remember this year’s award ceremony as the year when queer people, black and brown people, and deserving artists were awarded the highest honor in the industry!
What were your favorite 2017 Oscar moments? Who do you think was best dressed? Any award snubs that filled you with fury? Share in the comments below or tell us on social media at Jetspace Magazine!