...turn off the television when you think something is over. I missed the biggest fuck up in Academy Awards history- La La Land was announced as the Best Picture winner...but it was the wrong envelope. Moonlight was the real winner! Which is fine by me, it really was an extraordinary film. It also won Best Adapted Screenplay (by Barry Jenkins, who should have also won Best Director, but La La Land won that) and Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali. Viola Davis won Supporting Actress for Fences, and her acceptance speech made me cry!
Don't want to get too much into Best Actor and Actress. Casey Affleck won Actor for Manchester by the Sea, and though I'm sure it was a great performance, he is just a creep. Emma Stone won Actress for La La Land. I haven't seen it yet. I really don't like her much. She plays the same vapid blonde girl in most movies, and she pretty much ruined the Gwen Stacy character for me in the Spider-Man movie reboot. (Hint and spoiler- when Gwen died, I DIDN'T CRY! :p ) Maybe she was unusually good this time around, but I'm pretty sure Natalie Portman was more deserving for Jackie. Haven't seen that, either, but from the clips it looked like she had Jackie Kennedy down perfectly!
I've only seen four of the nine Best Picture nominees. I missed the first weekend of the AMC Theater Oscar Showcase this year, so I only saw Arrival, Lion, Moonlight, and Hacksaw Ridge. I'll see La La Land this week, and I think Hidden Figures is still playing, too. I totally missed Hell and High Water and Fences, and Manchester by the Sea sounds too depressing for me. It will have to wait.
I think my favorite of the films I saw was Arrival...but that's at least partly for two reasons. One- I like a good science fiction flick that is more thoughtful than action-oriented, and this one was. Two- I'll watch Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker in anything. Amy not getting a Best Actress nomination was a crime. Jeremy could have been a Supporting Actor contender, too, but the field was just too full of great performances this year.
Lion and Hacksaw Ridge were both based on true stories. Hacksaw Ridge may be one of the best war films ever made. I had to put aside my dislike of Mel Gibson, but I was able to see what a great film he put together. And Andrew Garfield was great. So was Vince Vaughn. I'm so used to seeing him in silly comedies that I forgot what a good dramatic actor he can be.
Lion had good acting and cinematography, and it was a heartbreaking story with a happy but bittersweet ending. Simple story and incredibly true: Indian boy gets separated from his brother on a train, gets lost in another part of India, gets adopted by an Australian couple, grows up and searches for his family. If not for Moonlight, I would have wanted Dev Patel to win Supporting Actor. He was the lead, really, but shared the role with an amazing little boy.
Moonlight- wow. A story of a young gay black man trying to find his place in the world. Told in three parts that seamlessly blend together, with some beautiful cinematography and fine acting, mostly from newcomers (the boy, teen, and adult Chiron); and Ali, as Chiron's friend and protector in the first part; Naomie Harris as Chiron's mother, and Janelle Monáe as another caring friend. It was a simple and lovely piece of movie-making.
The In Memoriam segment was unbearable this year, because so many beloved performers died. It ended with Debbie Reynolds, and then Carrie Fisher with a clip of her saying "May the Force be with you." SOB! And of course, it was too late to include Bill Paxton in the montage, but presenter Jennifer Anniston mentioned him before it began. She was choking back tears. It was a pretty awful thing to happen.