The 89th Oscars stuck to the script. The films that were expected to win big did (six awards for La La Land, three for Moonlight). Some movies were expected to be shut out completely, such as Lion, Arrival and Hell or High Water, and they were. Every other winner and presenter made high-minded political speeches about immigration, freedom of expression, the importance of art, and the need to resist Donald Trump’s curbs on the press. Jimmy Kimmel kept the balance between sharp political commentary (his attacks on Donald Trump) and silliness (candy fell from above on the couture-clad celebrities below). Everything smoothly clacked into place, except for the goof-up over the Best Picture announcement (for which auditing company PriceWaterhouseCoopers has apologised).
The goof-up ruined the reunion of legendary screen pair Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty from the 1967 classic Bonnie and Clyde.
Kimmel’s attacks on Trump had some gems, including “Donald Trump hasn’t tweeted even once.”
Justin Timberlake kicked off the show with a rousing performance of his Oscar-nominated dance number Can’t Stop The Feeling from Trolls, which led to a Zingaat moment at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles.
One of the most emotional speeches was by Viola Davis, the celebrated stage, television and film actor who won for Fences: “I became an artist and thank god I did, because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.”
Barry Jenkins got his moment under the sun for Moonlight, which won best picture, best supporting actor (for Mahershala Ali) and best adapted screenplay. His three cast members (left to right) Trevante Rhodes, Alex Hibbert and Ashton Sanders came together on the red carpet.
The second that Ben Affleck and Matt Damon were announced as the presenters of the Best Actor award, it was clear that Ben’s brother and Matt’s old buddy had won. Damon is also one of the producers of Manchester by the Sea, starring Casey Affleck as a grieving father.
Mahershala Ali, who won in the best supporting actor category for Moonlight, got emotional. His wife had given birth to their baby daughter a few days before the Oscars.
NASA physicist Katherine Johnson, who is played by Taraji P Henson in Hidden Figures, looked spry for a 98-year-old. She was on the stage as Spencer and co-stars Janelle Monae and Octavia Spencer presented the Documentary (Feature) award. Hidden Figures drew a blank at the 2017 Oscars, however.
Jackie Chan brought along two red panda bear toys, since he is the panda’s ambassador.
Iranian director Asghar Farhadi won the Foreign Language Oscar for The Salesman. He couldn’t attend the festival because of the Trump administration’s travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries. Also nominated was the Australian production Tanna, a star-crossed romance set on the Pacific island of the same name. Directors Bentley Dean and Martin Butler brought along some of the actors for the ceremony.
Deepika Padukone was in town but was probably not on the invite list (she was spotted at the before and after parties). Priyanka Chopra kept Bollywood’s flag flying high in Hollywood.
For all its seriousness this year, the awards made some place for meme-worthy moments, such as the state of Halle Berry’s hairdo.
Actress Blanco Blano vamped up it on the red carpet in an Ivan Botton dress.
The red carpet star as far as India is concerned: Sunny Pawar, who made up for the fact that his movie Lion won nothing despite six nominations.