89th Academy Awards ends on a shocking note
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The 89th Academy Awards started off on a good note. An electric performance by Justin Timberlake of his nominated song “Can’t Stop the Feeling” kicked off the night, and host Jimmy Kimmel soon took the stage to deliver some well-received jokes. Kimmel proved to be a good and charismatic host, displaying his public “feud” with Matt Damon in one of the funniest moments of the night, teasing Meryl Streep for being “overrated,” and sharing some tasteful yet politically charged lines about Trump. However, his Trump-centered jokes weren’t too offensive — in a line which got raucous applause, he mentioned that in order to make America great again everyone should reach out to those with opposite views and share a respectful conversation.
All of the widely-predicted winners won in the acting categories. The first winner of the night, Mahershala Ali, took home the gold for Best Supporting Actor for Moonlight, and gave a humble speech thanking his teachers. Viola Davis finally got her long-overdue recognition after winning Best Supporting Actress for Fences, and remained true to form by delivering a powerhouse speech that instantly went viral. The only kind-of-but-not-really surprise was Casey Affleck coming out over close contender Denzel Washington to win Best Actor for Manchester by the Sea, and Emma Stone finished it off by winning Best Actress for La La Land, surprising no one.
Finally, presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway took the stage to deliver the final award of the night — Best Picture. Beatty opened the envelope, paused and looked confused, and then handed it off to Dunaway, who promptly named La La Land.
Now, I saw La La Land and loved it just as much as everyone else, but I was disappointed to hear it declared the winner. It was a wonderful movie, but I didn’t think it deserved to take home all the major awards — it had already won Best Director (making Damien Chazelle the youngest winner in history), Best Actress and others. There were a lot of other equally excellent movies out there that deserved just as much recognition, if not more. Moonlight seemed to be the strongest opposition, and was an amazing and powerful film, especially in these times, and so it was what I was rooting for.
Then, the biggest surprise of the night and what will surely go down in history as one of — if not the — worst blunders in Oscar history. The La La Land producers were making their speeches when background workers began running on stage and chaos ensued. I glued my eyes to my TV in shock as producer Jordan Horowitz declared in the microphone that there’d been a mistake and Moonlight had won best picture, holding up the envelope for evidence. Beatty and Dunaway had been given the wrong envelope by mistake — a Best Actress duplicate naming Emma Stone for La La Land. Things were incredibly confusing for several moments, but the producers, cast and crew of Moonlight eventually took the stage amidst heavy applause.
It was a mistake, but an embarrassing and sad one. It was mortifying to watch La La Land’s producers give up their awards after already giving their speeches, and it took some of the shine away from Moonlight’s well-deserved win. Kimmel and everyone else involved did their best to handle it in a humorous and gracious way, and Moonlight received its time in the spotlight, but needless to say, “Envelopegate” is what the night will go down in history for. That’s a shame, because there were a lot of great moments before the drama went down — touching speeches, humor, excellent performances, and wins that made you cheer. Well, if there’s one thing I can say about the 89th Academy Awards, it’s that they sure made for good viewing.