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The Film Industry’s Night to Shine

Despite the unprecedented Best Picture mixup, the 2017 Oscars embodied dignity, grace, and unity in the film industry.

Jessica Yan, Staff Writer

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An event highlighted with prestigious awards, political tension, and uncalled-for surprises, the 89th Academy Awards was an extremely unforgettable evening.

The award show’s fervent atmosphere began with Justin Timberlake’s performance of his hit song,“Can’t Stop the Feeling,” that had attending members enthusiastically dancing on their feet. The light mood continued throughout Host Jimmy Kimmel’s opening monologue, only to be politicized by frequent jabs towards President Donald Trump. Kimmel even went as far as to openly challenge the President to tweet about other actors, referencing his previous tweet criticizing actress Meryl Streep, who had condemned his behavior in her Golden Globes acceptance speech. This mild political tone was further cultivated when Iranian film director of “The Salesman,” Asghar Farhadi, did not attend the award ceremony to receive the award for Best Foreign Language Film out of protest towards Trump’s ban on Muslim immigration.

Late-night talkshow host, Jimmy Kimmel, hosted the 2017 Oscars.

Aside from the abundant political mentions, there were other notable moments throughout the night. Emma Stone and Mahershala Ali, winners of Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor for La La Land and Moonlight respectively, were both visibly emotional from their wins. In Emma Stone’s acceptance speech, she excitedly thanked her family, friends, and crew, including co-star Ryan Gosling. The first-time Oscar winner was humble and recognized that her Oscar trophy was a reminder for her to continually improve in her profession. Among the many who rooted for the actress’s win, a WHRHS student happily expressed, “Emma Stone delivered a phenomenal performance of singing, acting, and dancing in this inspirational movie. She’s so passionate about what she does, and she’s really deserved this.”

An equally moving  speech was delivered by winner of Best Supporting Actress, Viola Davis for her acting in Fences. Received with a standing ovation, she delivered a riveting speech describing the difficulty of succeeding in the film industry and her passion as an artist.

Viola Davis holding her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

The most anticipated and memorable event of the night was the announcement for Best Picture. In an unplanned fiasco, the announcers for this category, Bonnie and Clyde co-actors Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were accidentally given the envelope for the winner of Best Actress. This confusion led Dunaway to wrongly announce La La Land as the winner, when in reality, the winner was Moonlight. The mix-up was addressed only after the La La Land cast and crew stood on stage and producers Jordan Horowitz, Marc Platt, and Fred Berger had delivered acceptance speeches. Millions of viewers watched this moment in astonishment.

The most common reaction was voiced by a WHRHS student: “I found it odd that something like this could happen in an event as big as the Oscars. A lot of work goes into preparing for such a prestigious award show, so it’s surprising that a mistake like this could happen before the biggest award of the night.” Regardless of the situation’s surrealism and tension, everyone handled it with grace. Both the La La Land and Moonlight cast and crew were gracious towards one another. Many considered the win of Moonlight, a portrayal of a contemporary African-American life, a breakthrough for minorities and a source of inspiration.

The film Moonlight was the winner of Best Picture.

Ultimately, the Oscars was especially groundbreaking this year–it opened doors for minorities and celebrated the passion and drive of the film industry. Despite the La La Land and Moonlight mix-up, the graceful way with which it was handled demonstrates the unity of the film industry in its promotion of equality and expression.

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The Film Industry’s Night to Shine