Having spent the entire evening hosting an Oscars night party with hundreds of other movie lovers, I have a pretty good idea what worked last night during the Academy Awards, and what didn't. Jimmy Kimmel killed it, even the jokes that went on too long (The tourist bit died early, kept going) provided memorable moments, and making Matt Damon the punchline of the night was genius. After the brutal 2016 the In Memoriam segment brought everyone to tears, the musical numbers weren't excessive....and oh yeah, the people REALLY wanted Moonlight to win.
Nothing against La La Land, which was among my favorites of the year and well ahead of Moonlight, but there was a clamor for Barry Jenkins' drama to be victorious that I hadn't felt in a long time. While it is among the lowest-grossing Best Picture winners in history, those who saw it recognized its importance historically. A film that cost $1.5M, directed by Jenkins who hadn't done anything since Medicine for Melancholy nine years ago, about a black man's journey to acceptance of his homosexuality. These are not things the Academy traditionally values. And it defeated a movie that seemed designed to be the Academy choice; a brilliant, sterling Hollywood musical that celebrated Hollywood. How could it not win? And yet, Moonlight prevailed. It took a few extra minutes to get there and a ton of embarrassment and on-stage confusion, but it got there.
There will be much analysis of the Best Picture race in the months to come, but here's what I know. La La Land is a great movie that would have been a deserving winner, but Moonlight is the movie we'll be talking about five years, ten years, twenty years, fifty years from now.
Below you can check out all of the acceptance speeches for Moonlight, as well as the In Memoriam tribute and some of Kimmel's best gags.
Mahershala Ali thanks his wife: "She was in her third trimester during awards season. We just had our daughter 4 days ago." #Oscars pic.twitter.com/WpRi6RYlGr— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) February 27, 2017
Barry Jenkins: "For the next 4 years it will not be you alone. We will not forget you." #Oscars pic.twitter.com/YSIiGSYMHT— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) February 27, 2017
Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher close the In Memoriam tribute at the #Oscars. pic.twitter.com/vVDpageplg— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) February 27, 2017