Movies

Published on February 27th, 2017 | by Craig Silliphant

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Oscar Night Recap

We made it through another excruciatingly long Oscar telecast, and we bring you the highlights on the night, the winners, and weird stuff that happened.

While I have mixed feelings about the Oscars, because let’s face it, only sometimes do they honour film quality, but more often, sales and celebrity. But it’s the closest thing to a big night for film that we have. I wish they’d at least make it shorter — there’s a lot of filler that could go each year, including some of the awards and musical performances. After the ceremony, I always feel like that kid at the end of the Stephen King teleportation story The Jaunt. He tricks the system and stays awake for his jaunt only to come out the other end grey-haired and insane. “It’s longer than you think, Dad! Longer than you think!”

Two of my favourite movies of 2016 were nominated, Moonlight and Arrival.  While it was by no stretch of the imagination a bad movie, I felt that La La Land was overrated. It reminded me the year Titanic took home a lot of Oscar gold (though I hated that movie, so it felt more like a collective public brainwashing).

We knew it would be an interesting night though, between the current political climate and finding out who would win certain tight categories.

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Here are the highlights and thoughts about the night!

The host this year was Jimmy Kimmel. His opening monologue was fairly run of the mill, though his Donald Trump/Meryl Streep zinger was pretty hilarious. And while it was just set up for a joke, his notion that we should all find some understanding with each other was pretty great.

I’m not sure there’s been a better host in recent memory than Ricky Gervais MCing the Golden Globes, even if he cheesed everyone off. Either way, it will be interesting to see whom they choose to host The Oscars next year.

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Kimmel was a decent host, if not a bit on the boring side. His jibes at Matt Damon were funny and the tour bus gag was one of the best in years. The looks on their faces were great. Way better than the stupid group selfie. Kimmel sold it with comfortable ad libbing and banter with the people and jokes about the stars.   Stealing his own bit, Reading Mean Tweets, was a bit weak, though they were well done.

In terms of the awards themselves, it was a ho-hum affair. La La Land didn’t exactly cause the upset that everyone expected, but they still walked away with a number of awards. More shocking is the fact that we live in a world where Suicide Squad has an Oscar (Alfred Hitchcock didn’t. Chew on that).

The politics of the night were pretty tame, which I did not expect. There were the requisite Trump jokes (overrated Meryl Streep jokes were funny), but no one really tore into it. A couple of speeches touched on things, but no one went full on rogue. Even the speech from absent winning director, Asghar Farhadi (Iran’s The Salesman) was pretty tame. In fact, I noticed that some of the commercials during the breaks were more incendiary than the Oscar night itself.

A quick and welcome mention of Bill Paxton set up the In Memoriam section, which was fine, but had some issues uncovered after the fact. Patricia Arquette has been vocal about the lack of inclusion for Alexis Arquette. Some also mentioned that Robert Vaughn, Alan Thicke, Garry Shandling, Florence Henderson, and more were missing, but I don’t know if they were in there the year before (or missed cut offs and might be there next year). In a foreshadowing of the debacle to come, they also seemingly included a woman who is very much alive.

And it would have been a pretty forgettable night really, if not for the ending that will live in infamy in Oscar history.

M. Night Shyamalan apparently wrote the Steve Harvey endingLa La Land wins Best Picture, then, in an insane turn of events, someone realizes that Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway read the wrong card, making Moonlight the actual winner. So a sleepy Oscars comes awake at the zero minute, blowing up the internet.

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Expect a mind-numbing slog of think pieces on this to follow, but it appears Beatty was handed the wrong envelope. Some of remarked that he threw Dunaway under the bus, making her read the wrong results, but I think he was more confused than anything. You can see him digging for more envelopes, then he shows Dunaway the envelope and she blurts out “La La Land!” I’m not blaming Dunaway either. The fact is, someone just made a mistake, gave them the wrong envelope, which they weren’t expecting (duh), and they were a bit shell shocked in front of millions of viewers. Mistakes happen.

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The sad part about this is that this has become the story, and while the people from La La Land handled the mistake with grace, it robbed Moonlight of its moment. And Moonlight’s win is a much bigger deal than just a little movie getting an award on Oscar night. It is a much-needed step forward for stories, and thusly ideas, about both black people and gay people. Not too many people are talking about Moonlight itself today. But if you haven’t seen it, it’s a much better film than La La Land, and it deserved its win — you should seek it out.

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About the Author

is a D-level celebrity with delusions of grandeur. A writer, critic, creative director, editor, broadcaster, and occasional filmmaker, his thoughts have appeared on radio, television, in print, and on the web. He is a juror on the Polaris Music Prize and the Juno Awards. He loves Saskatoon. He has horrible night terrors and apocalyptic dreams.



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