The signature red carpet, paparazzi, fashion, and envelopes of this year’s awards season came to a close on Feb. 26 with the memorable 89th Academy Awards, more commonly referred to as the Oscars. Funny moments, snafus, and political statements all took the spotlight at this awards ceremony in celebration of the movie entertainment industry.
The most popular accessory this year was not a jewel encrusted Valentino clutch, but a blue American Civil Liberties Union ribbon. Donned by stars such as Ruth Negga, Busy Phillips, Karlie Kloss, and Lin Manuel-Miranda, the blue ribbon symbolized their stance with the organization that filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s original travel ban, temporarily stopping the ban at that time as a judge ruled in their favor.
The politics didn’t stop there, as Jimmy Kimmel started his monologue with several jokes about the president. The tension was slightly alleviated when he released candies into the star-studded crowd.
Over the past two years, the Oscars have come under scrutiny for the lack of racial diversity in their nominees in many categories. This years nominees, however, included a record-tying seven minority actors. Each acting category this year, for the first time in Academy history, has contained black actors. Notable winners included Viola Davis, who became the first African-American to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting by winning Best Supporting Actress for Fences, and Mahershala Ali, who won Best Supporting Actor for Moonlight. However, the Oscars continue to be criticized for their lack of non-black minorities, having almost no Latino or Asian nominees.
More controversies included Casey Affleck winning Best Actor for Manchester by the Sea against Denzel Washington for Fences. While directing the faux documentary I’m Still Here in 2010, two women working with Affleck filed separate lawsuits against him, detailing repeated instances of harassment throughout the production. Affleck settled his suits after mediation and threats to countersue the two women. Affleck was never found liable for any offenses, and through this awards season he continued to deny the allegations when asked by reporters.
Oscar tradition has the previous year’s Best Actress present the next year’s Best Actor. Brie Larson won last year’s Best Actress for her portrayal of a sexually and physically abused woman in Room and presented Affleck with his Oscar, yet refused to applaud him. Many immediately sided with Larson in her muted response, showing that an increasing number of people are growing tired of the long-time stereotype that allegations against men shouldn’t affect their career outcomes. People cited Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, Mel Gibson, and Donald Trump in their arguments.
The Academy Awards did not stop giving fuel to the fire on the internet. Some of this year’s top memes include napping Chrissy Teigen, Nicole Kidman’s strangely long-handed clapping, and “Whispering Ryan Gosling.”
Nonetheless, the most memorable moment was the presentation of the Best Picture award. The two most highly regarded films of the night were La La Land, which won six awards, and Moonlight, which walked away with three, and both were up for Best Picture. Presenters Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty were mistakenly handed the back-up envelope for Best Actress by accountant Brian Cullinan in a back-stage mix-up. Dunaway, seeing the words La La Land beneath Emma Stone’s name, declared the musical romance the Best Picture winner. As the producers of La La Land were giving their acceptance speeches, Oscar crew members rushed onstage with the real card, which was presented by La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz to announce Moonlight as the Best Picture of the 89th Academy Awards.
It was an unforgettable and memorable award ceremony in more than one way.