author: ethan butterfield | a&c writer
From tears to gaffes, the biggest night in film recapped.
So here we are again, back in the comfortable shoes of Oscars highlight reviewer. I must say, I’ve missed it a lot. Back in the day I had reviewed the 2015 Oscars where, at the time, Birdman had just won for Best Picture. Now, here I am again. Being back in 2017, watching the golden statue handed out again and again, I realize how special this night is. Sure, to some it may be a grossly over-exaggerated event, but to others it’s a night to award the best of the best.
Things were interesting right off the bat, Jimmy Kimmel started things off fairly well with an overall enjoyable opening sketch, saying things like how the Oscars were now broadcasted in 225 countries that now hate the U.S. and how last year, it seemed like just the Oscars were racist. Viewers were then led right into honouring the most celebrated actors, actresses and production crew that the film industry has to offer. Several aspects throughout the show really got to me on an emotional level: Sting’s onstage performance; the speech that was given by Anousheh Ansari, the first Muslim woman to go to space, after an Iranian filmmaker won the Best Foreign Language Film; and the arrival of Katherine Johnson on the platform, which brought the attendance to its feet in a passionate display of diversity.
It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, however. There were as many fails as there were successes. The reaction to Suicide Squad’s victory for Best Make-Up and Hairstyling being one. Just after the panned DC comic feature won the award, the internet went nuts with calls of rigging, saying that Star Trek: Beyond was a more deserving owner.
Another worthy moment to look at was the botched call of Best Picture. Now, I know mistakes can happen, believe me I do, but botching the name of the winner for the most prestigious award at the Oscars is a bit of a stretch in terms of ‘oops’. I didn’t see either La La Land or Moonlight, so the actual winner was sort of an overall “meh” for me, but you can refer to the Carillon’s review of both films from earlier this year.
With successes and failures, however, there must come the most difficult part of the night, the most heart-wrenching moment that reminds us of the people we used to see on screen. This moment was something that brought me to tears in my living room. The Oscars memoriam is always hard to watch, but seeing names like Carrie Fisher, Gene Wilder, Mary Tyler-Moore and John Hurt flash across the screen is done with a heavy sigh. All the actors and industry workers will be missed, because they all helped make the films we know and love today.
Moving along to the actual awards, though, there were some particular surprise winners that caught my eye, to be sure. Casey Affleck winning for Best Actor is one to start with. I’m shocked that he is officially called Oscar winner Casey Affleck, but that shows what I know about Hollywood magic. I was also shocked to see Damien Chazelle win for Best Director for La La Land. I thought that Barry Jenkins, or dare I say, Mel Gibson were the frontrunners for the award. Best Visual Effects was sort of a flip-flop surprise for me. I knew The Jungle Book was very well done in that regard, but I was crossing my fingers for Kubo and The Two Strings.
The 2017 Academy Awards is another night that comes and goes, one that distracts us from our responsibilities as students for at least another day. The amount of effort that goes into a show like this makes for good television, but I watch the Oscars to see the message that is delivered. Don’t get me wrong, I also enjoy the actual awards that get handed out as well, but I like to see a little progress go with that too.