The 2017 Academy Awards lasted for over four-and-a-half hours and sprang to life in its dying moments. A mix-up (or perhaps a staged reference to Steve Harvey’s mishap at the Miss Universe contest in 2015) gave the Best Picture Oscar to La La Land before a correction was made and it went to Moonlight. The left-field choice for the top prize was in line with the rest of the awards ceremony, and promoted the evening’s host Jimmy Kimmel to declare, “Well, I don’t know what happened. I blame myself for this. Let’s remember it’s just an award show, we hate to see people disappointed but we got to see some extra speeches. We have some great movies. Um, I knew I would screw this show up, I really did. … I promise I’ll never come back.”
Kimmel aimed many of his barbs at US President Donald Trump and his controversial policies. Kimmel lit into Trump a few minutes into the opening monologue, which spared no one from Meryl Streep, who “has phoned it in for more than 50 films over the course of her lacklustre career”, to alleged arch-nemesis Matt Damon, “who refused an Oscar-worthy film to star in a Chinese ponytail movie”.
The 49-year-old talk-show host made what he called an unpopular statement.
“I want to say congratulations to Donald Trump,” Kimmel said. “Remember last year when the Oscars seemed racist? It’s gone. Thanks to him.”
The comedian also explained why he won’t be able to “bring people together”.
“Let’s just get something straight off the top. I can’t do that. There’s only one “Braveheart” in the room, and he’s not gonna unite us either.”
Apart from the carry-over of his alleged long-running feud with Damon from his talk show, which admittedly got a little tiring, there was also a hilarious Oscar segment of the nastiest tweets received by celebrities. Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Jessica Chastain, Whoopie Goldberg, and Robert DeNiro read out some of the most cutting comments they have received on the social networking site.
As the night wore on, the jokes against Trump continued at a steady pace. “Some of you will get to come up here on this stage tonight and give a speech that the President of the United States will tweet about in all caps during his 5:00 a.m. bowel movement tomorrow, and I think that’s pretty darn excellent if you ask me,” Kimmel said.
After La La Land’s Swedish cinematographer Linus Sandgren won the prize for Best Cinematography, Kimmel yelled at his departing figure: “We’re so sorry about what happened in Sweden last week. We hope your friends are okay. Eventually, Kimmel tweeted to Trump’s trigger-happy Twitter account to see if he had any comments on the jokes made at his expense.
If the #OscarsSoWhite campaign had energised the 2016 Academy Awards, it was the politics of Trump’s America that brought energy to the 2017 edition. Trump’s reaction could well provide the perfect post-script to a politically-charged edition of the Academy Awards.
One of Kimmel’s least snarky gestures was to have a chat with Lion star Sunny Pawar, who seemed to be making the most of his fabulous journey. Kimmel lifted the eight-year-old actor of the ground, and even though Lion didn’t win a single award, Kimmel made sure that Pawar had a great time.