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They Shoot Oscar Prognosticators, Don't They?

Moonlight's Historic and Bizarre Win Stuns the Oscars

By J. Don Birnam

February 27, 2017

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In one of the most bizarre twists in Oscars history, Moonlight was named the Best Picture of the year at the 89th Academy Awards, but only after La La Land and its producers were on stage. In a mistake that will take a few days to sort out, Faye Dunaway read the musical as the winner, and then, during the acceptance speeches, a correction was made.

In the end, Moonlight, the first movie ever about gay people to win Best Picture, netted three statuettes, including Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor - the same three Oscars that 12 Years a Slave won three years ago (that took Supporting Actress). The preferential ballot is a thing. It is what is creating all these Director/Picture splits that we have seen since it began, with fewer and fewer movies winning both.

I guess you could tell that something was up when La La Land did not win either of the Sound awards, Editing, or Costumes, which spread between Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge, and Fantastic Beasts.

Yes, there were some political moments, but mostly from the presenters, and fewer from the winners. As some expected, The Salesman from Iran pulled ahead, maybe helped by the “Muslim Ban” (though who knows for sure?). La La Land, like Mad Max or Gravity before it under preferential voting, did win six Oscars, including for Best Director Damien Chazelle and Best Actress Emma Stone.

Manchester by the Sea also did well, netting two wins for the Screenplay by Kenneth Lonergan and Best Actor for Casey Affleck, who survived despite an onslaught of support for Denzel Washington. It was a spread the wealth sort of, year, though beloved movies like Lion, Hidden Figures, and Hell or High Water went home empty handed.

Finally, I will leave, as usual, to others the handicapping of Jimmy Kimmel as a host. To me, he seemed to do well, particularly with the bit about the tourists in the auditorium.

But, wow, simply wow. This is egg on the face of the Academy and the whole process, which will now be endlessly questioned. The Academy has survived on its reputation for excellence and reliability, and this is going to hurt for a long time.

Still, as an Oscars watcher who had become bored with the predictability of the awards, with how staid the shows had become, I guess I should be thankful. This is the Oscars streaker of our generation. This moment will never be forgotten. It’s a shame in a way because Moonlight has made history, but it’s also somewhat amazing.

As for my predictions? Well. I did terribly this year. I did not trust my own instincts - like to go for the “most Costumes” or stick with Affleck, but I guess we all have off years! I did particularly poorly in the shorts, which all went to my second place predictions.

Still, thank you for reading us and following us this year. We will be back shortly with the most bizarre post-mortem in Oscar’s history, and then we will start doing it all over again for next year.




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Best Picture
Uh…La La…Moonlight!

Best Director
Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Best Actor
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

Best Actress
Emma Stone, La La Land

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis, Fences

Best Original Screenplay
Manchester by the Sea, Kenneth Lonergan

Best Adapted Screenplay
Moonlight, Barry Jenkins

Best Animated Feature Film
Zootopia

Best Foreign Language Film
The Salesman, Iran

Best Documentary Feature
O.J. Made in America

Best Film Editing
Hacksaw Ridge

Best Cinematography
La La Land

Best Production Design
La La Land

Best Costume Design
Fantastic Beast

Best Visual Effects
The Jungle Book

Best Original Score
La La Land

Best Original Song
City of Stars, La La Land

Best Sound Editing
Arrival

Best Sound Mixing
Hacksaw Ridge

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Suicide Squad

Best Animated Short
Piper

Best Documentary Short
The White Helmets

Best Live Action Short
Sing


     


 
 

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