With the conclusion of the traditional film awards season came its main event: the 89th Academy Awards. The ceremony, colloquially termed The Oscars, was held Feb. 25 and served to honor excellence in cinema over the previous year. Leading into the ceremony, 2016 musical “La La Land” was poised to claim some of the top prizes with 14 nominations, matching the record set by the 1950 film “All About Eve.” However, contenders “Moonlight” and “Manchester By the Sea” followed not far behind as the possibility of an upset in the coveted Best Picture category loomed.
Throughout the evening, renowned actors and actresses took home top awards, as did some of the more nuanced or less well-known productions nominated. Best Original Score and Best Original Song would be claimed by “La La Land’s” composer Justin Hurwitz, who competed against himself in the latter category. The Best Documentary Feature would go to the subversive ESPN documentary “O.J.: Made in America” – a film centering around the fame (and infamy) of football player O.J. Simpson – and Best Documentary Short Subject to “The White Helmets,” a documentary detailing the work of aid workers in the Syrian Civil Defense. Perhaps one of the most politically charged wins of the night was for Asghar Farhadi’s “The Salesman” in Best Foreign Language Film; Farhadi refused to attend on grounds of President Donald Trump’s current foreign policy decisions, opting for the award to be accepted in his stead. Best Supporting Actor and Actress were awarded to Mahershala Ali for “Moonlight,” and Viola Davis for her powerful role in “Fences.” Best Actor would go to “Manchester By the Sea” lead Casey Affleck, and Best Actress to Emma Stone for “La La Land;” the latter film’s director Damien Chazelle would go on to receive the honor for Best Director, seemingly cementing the film’s Best Picture win.
However, in an interesting twist of events, “La La Land” was erroneously awarded Best Picture, with the honor ultimately bestowed upon Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” in light of a clerical error regarding the nominee envelopes, typically held by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Regardless of the last minute fluke, the ceremony was an event to behold, with great performances deservedly awarded. Much like 2016, 2017 is sure to be a great year for cinema; with the clock now ticking till the 90th Academy Awards, the race to the end will surely be as exciting as this past year’s.