In a year when Viola Davis urged us to “exhume those bodies” from the graveyard because that’s where the potential is, it wouldn’t be shocking to learn that long-ago-deceased Rod Serling actually produced the 2017 Academy Awards ceremony. Of course he didn’t, but … at the sign post up ahead …
In no particular order (other than the obvious #1), here are just some of the oddities – some pleasant, others head-scratchers:
- Re-defining ‘public debacle’, a confluence of factors caused the erroneous announcement of LA LA LAND as Best Picture, when in fact, MOONLIGHT was the actual winner. The correction occurred after a couple of acceptance speeches from the wrong film’s producers.
- A tour bus of surprised tourists was ushered into the Dolby Theatre leading to Denzel Washington unofficially marring Gary from Chicago and his fiancé.
- The “In Memoriam” section included a photo of the much-alive Jan Chapman, rather than the deceased Costume Designer Janet Patterson
- Amazon films won 4 Oscars (THE SALESMAN, THE WHITE HELMETS, 2 for MANCHESTER BY THE SEA)
- Sound Mixer Kevin O’Connell finally won an Oscar … he had previously been nominated 20 times without winning.
- A flag from the dance group whacked singer Auli’I Cravalho in the head as she sang the Oscar nominated song from MOANA.
- SUICIDE SQUAD, Oscar winner
- Brother and sister Warren Beatty and Shirley MacLaine were part of two separate memorable moments … 250,000 years apart.
- Jimmy Kimmel treating the ceremony as an all-out roast of Matt Damon
- Nicole Kidman clapping (Google it)
- The aforementioned Viola Davis being allowed to speak for almost 4 minutes, while others “played off” at 46 seconds.
- Damien Chazelle (age 32) becoming the youngest Best Director Oscar winner
- MOONLIGHT becomes one of the least expensive productions ($1.5 million) and lowest grossing movies ($22 million) to win Best Picture Oscar.
- O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA becomes the longest Oscar winner (7 hours 47 minutes) surpassing the 1969 Best Foreign Language Winner WAR AND PEACE (6 hours 36 minutes)
- 98 year old Katherine Johnson was brought on stage with the lead actresses from HIDDEN FIGURES. It was a wonderful moment that became slightly awkward as they weren’t sure whether to keep her onstage or help her off prior to the next award announcement.
- John Cho and Leslie Mann teamed up for a humorous overview of the Science and Technology awards from the prior day.
- Sarah Bareilles’ beautiful voice singing Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” during the In Memoriam section
- Justin Timberlake proving once again that he is one of the best contemporary performers, as his show opener of the Oscar nominated “Can’t Stop the Feeling” got the entire crowd up – dancing, singing, and clapping.
- A series of three Wal-Mart commercials directed by Hollywood stalwarts Antoine Fuqua, Marc Foster, and Seth Rogen/Evan Goldberg put the Super Bowl ads to shame.
Maybe the only thing missing was Rob Lowe singing to Snow White!
It was nice to see the gold statuettes spread over quite a few films: La La Land won 6, Moonlight 3, Hacksaw Ridge and Manchester By the Sea each won 2, and one Oscar went to Arrival, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and The Jungle Book.
Fortunately, political views only snuck in a few times: Jimmy Kimmel’s opening monologue and a couple of other times through the evening (including a failed Twitter bit), and the statements from Iranian director Asghar Farhadi (The Salesman), the producer of The White Helmets, and the confusing remarks from the director of O.J.: Made in America.
At times it did feel like a long lost episode of “The Twilight Zone“, though there were enough moments to remind us that the ceremony, at its core, is a celebration of cinema – and the magic it brings.