Film Bits: Academy Awards Night

The Academy Gets it Right, Despite Initial Flub


What an end to awards season. The slow and steady march through the critics and guild awards led us to this moment, commonly known as Hollywood’s Biggest Night, with all the cinematic achievements of last year being celebrated on stage. This year’s Academy Awards was momentous, full of heartbreak and celebration, joy and despair. For more reason than one, this is an Oscar night to remember.

The narrative all season was La La Land vs Moonlight, and it played out as expected in last night’s broadcast, with the films going head to head in several major categories. What was thought to be a potentially big night for Damien Chazelle’s musical throwback ended up being just a decent run of Oscars. La La Land won 6 of its nominated 14 awards, including Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Song, and Best Score. Moonlight, meanwhile, took home Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor before the big showdown for Best Picture.

Thanks to a monumental mistake on the part of PricewaterhouseCoopers, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway accidentally announced the wrong winner for Best Picture. Producers for La La Land were midspeech before producer Jordan Horowitz announced that Moonlight had actually won the award, a moment that will no doubt go down as one of the most memorable live TV mistakes of all time.

As awkward as the moment was—and no doubt heartbreaking for the La La Land team—it’s hard to deny that the right movie got its due. Moonlight was one of the most emotional films in recent years, transcending cinema to become a work of art unlike anything we’ve ever seen at the movies. It may have been a stunning moment of television, but it was a historic moment for movies as the first LGBT themed film took home to top honors. Moonlight also has the distinction of being one of the few entirely black cast films ever made.

That aside, it was a more or less standard night at the Oscars, a few minor upsets aside. Casey Affleck won Best Actor for Manchester By the Sea, edging out Denzel Washington for Fences—an especially odd win considering the allegations of sexual harassment Affleck is currently facing and the raw power of Washington’s performance. Viola Davis is one step closer to an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony) with her Best Supporting Actress win for Fences; and host Jimmy Kimmel and Matt Damon continued their long standing friendly feud, with the host taking jab after jab at the actor throughout the night.

Kimmel did a fair job as host this year, though the show did rely a bit too much on cutesy bits when it could have benefited greatly from just speeding things along. (A quick thought for producers: you wouldn’t need cute bits like dropping snacks from the ceiling or ordering pizza if the show didn’t run so long thanks to cute bits like dropping snacks from the ceiling and ordering pizza.) An interlude where folks on a Hollywood tour were secretly brought into the theater for a front row tour of Hollywood turned awkward when Kimmel made fun of someone’s name, but who can forget Denzel “marrying” an engaged couple in front of Hollywood, America, and the world?

Like any broadcast, there were ups and downs. When it was all said and done, however, it was still a magical evening and wonderful celebration of 2016 cinema. For the full list of winners, see below.


Best Picture: Moonlight

Actor: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

Actress: Emma Stone, La La Land

Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Supporting Actress: Viola Davis, Fences

Animated Feature: Zootopia

Cinematography: La La Land

Costume Design: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Direction: Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Documentary Feature: O.J.: Made in America

Documentary Short: The White Helmets

Film Editing: Hacksaw Ridge

Foreign Language Film: The Salesman

Makeup and Hairstyling: Suicide Squad

Score: La La Land

Song: “City of Stars” from La La Land

Production Design: La La Land

Animated Short: Piper

Live Action Short: Sing

Sound Editing: Arrival

Sound Mixing: Hacksaw Ridge

Visual Effects: The Jungle Book

Adapted Screenplay: Moonlight

Original Screenplay: Manchester by the Sea

‘Get Out’ Gets Audiences In


Jordan Peel’s directorial debut won the box office this weekend with a cool $30 million take, dominating the competition and knocking The Lego Batman Movie down to second place with $19 million. John Wick Chapter 2, meanwhile, rose to third place with $9 million. The Great Wall failed to impress audiences once more, but still retained a seat in the top five with $8.7 million, while Fifty Shades Darker rounded out the top of the list by coming in fifth with $7.7 million. See below for the full top ten.

  1. Get Out-$30 million
  2. The Lego Batman Movie-$19 million
  3. John Wick: Chapter Two-$9 million
  4. The Great Wall-$8.7 million
  5. Fifty Shades Darker-$7.7 million
  6. Fist Fight-$6.3 million
  7. Hidden Figures-$5.8 million
  8. La La Land-$4.6 million
  9. Split-$4.1 million
  10. Lion-$3.8 million

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