The 89th Oscars recap through tweets …


So that actually happened. Warren Beatty opened the Best Picture envelope, furrowed his brow, and looked for another card. He’s thinking, “This is wrong.” He stalls—his body language coming off as a joke in the moment, the audience and his co-presenter Faye Dunaway laughing at what appears to be an old man who forgot his glasses. And since no one came running onto the stage to say something actually was wrong, he silently turned to Faye with the card. And the rest is history.

Beatty could have laughed into the microphone and said, “I think they gave me the wrong envelope.” He could have turned to Faye and said, “Am I reading this wrong?” Yes he was given the incorrect envelope, but he had the opportunity to seek clarification and didn’t. Suddenly everyone was on their feet applauding because the film blurted out by Dunaway was the one we all expected to hear: La La Land. The producers took the stage, Jordan Horowitz said his thanks and passed the mic to another before all hell broke loose.

A stage-hand apparently shouted,”Oh … Oh my god, he got the wrong envelope!” The stage manager ran in to check Beatty’s envelope. And amidst the chaos Horowitz kept his emotions in check as the truth sunk in. Beatty had unfortunately been given a copy of Emma Stone‘s Best Lead Actress envelope and not Best Picture. It was then Jordan who selflessly took control, told everyone to stop their celebration, and turned to Barry Jenkins with the words, “This is not a joke. Moonlight, you won.”

It doesn’t get more surreal than this folks. The romantic happy ending for La La Land was but a dream once more. And Moonlight—the true best film of 2016 in this writer’s mind—was crowned king.

Before this all went down to make the unforgettable 89th Annual Academy Awards one for the ages, the previous four hours were actually entertaining in their own right. I won’t dream of saying this as absolute fact since not everyone on Twitter last night agreed, but I thought host Jimmy Kimmel was one of the best MCs the show has had in quite some time. I’m a fan, though. I like his “everyman” shtick and his outsider within the industry persona. He can take pot shots at everyone and not necessarily care about the consequences (he isn’t an actor, so he won’t be losing jobs). He brought his hilarious Mean Tweets in, kept things light and sometimes biting (with a couple self-reflexive “did I go too far” reactions a la Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes), and he got through it. Some gags were divisive and definitely not wholly thought out in their context towards wealth disparity (the Bus Tour) or race (“I can’t say non-white people’s names correctly”), but he kept things moving and I’m a sucker for the Kimmel vs. Matt Damon feud.

The show made a couple nice moves to try and shorten things up too (although it still ran an hour late) with the opening music number being one of the five nominated songs (Justin Timberlake‘s “Can’t Stop the Feeling”) and a complete erasure of the interspersed montages for every Best Picture nominee. We could have done without the other montages that were included (save the devastating In Memorium with so many legendary names that Jennifer Aniston had to commemorate the recent passing of Bill Paxton verbally since it was too fresh to include onscreen), but no one should be surprised. Complainers of the show’s length need simply not watch.

On the awards: there wasn’t much to really write home shocked about besides the eventually Best Picture winner providing a David vs. Goliath finale with the type of Hollywood picture Hollywood loves to applaud being defeated by the small-scale production of a resonate drama centered on a poor, gay, black character.

The La La Land sweep was canceled very early on with Arrival (1) and Hacksaw Ridge (2) stealing three technical awards. The acting quartet went as planned with Mahershala Ali, Viola Davis, Casey Affleck, and Emma Stone and the writing/directing categories allowed a diplomatic split between the three front-runners as Kenneth Lonergan, Barry Jenkins, and Damian Chazelle all went home with gold. In the end, Hidden Figures and Lion were the only Best Picture nominees not to win an Oscar. And for once this type of parity wasn’t boring.

On the politics: this front was surprisingly tame. Kimmel had some nice barbs in his opening monologue (thanks to a good sport in Meryl Streep); Asghar Farhadi‘s speech in absentia, The White Helmets‘ directors mentioning their cinematographer being barred from attending, and Gael García Bernal speaking out against the Mexican wall were all done tastefully and with emotional purity. In fact, the only utterance of Donald Trump’s name that I remember came when Kimmel tweeted him live “U up?”

The night was about art and art’s ability to inspire and unite, not petty vindictiveness like right-leaning pundits and talking heads will ultimately declare. If they don’t like it and think Hollywood “still doesn’t understand America,” that’s fine. Don’t watch. Supposedly “America” isn’t either so they should have nothing to worry about.

And now the tweets:


Pre-Show Red Carpet

The Opening

Best Supporting Actor

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Best Costume Design

Best Documentary

Best Song Nominee “How Far I’ll Go”

Best Sound Editing & Mixing

Best Supporting Actress

Best Foreign Film

Best Animated Short & Feature

Best Production Design

The Hollywood Tours Bus

Best Visual Effects

Best Film Editing

Best Documentary & Live Action Shorts

Jimmy Tweets the President

Best Cinematography

Mean Tweets

Best Song Nominees “Audition” & “City of Stars”

Best Score & Song

In Memorium

Kimmel vs. Damon

Best Original & Adapted Screenplays

Cookies & Donuts

Best Director

Best Lead Actor

Best Lead Actress

Best Picture


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