Film - The Oscars 2017

Just when you thought it was safe to stop sniggering about The Oscars, Nate McKenzie gives us his thoughts on the whole business of the show...

There is only one awards show I bother to watch: The Oscars.

I don't care about rich people patting each other on the back and I don't really care who wins that little 13.5" golden idol (more on that later), but I do enjoy watching the award ceremony while reminiscing on my high school years when I dreamed constantly of being a filmmaker. 

I think that's why it's hard for me to really dislike or deride any but the most terrible of movies - I have empathy for the people who create the stories we see on screen. Especially if you can tell that they followed their passion and truly attempted to deliver something others would fall in love with. Even great movies have flaws, but passion is what elevates a film above those flaws.

Imperfect. Incredible.
The Oscars is meant to be a celebration of that passion channelled into something remarkable. The 2017 Academy Awards ceremony was just that: remarkable.

In the way that even the greatest movies have imperfections, the 2017 Oscars were wonderful, but had, um, a few mistakes.


Fifty years from now, the trivia question that everyone will get wrong more than any other will be: "Who incorrectly announced La La Land as the 2017 Oscar winner for Best Picture?"

Everyone will answer, "Warren Beatty!" But they will be as wrong as Drew Barrymore was in the opening act of Scream.

In one of the biggest fuck ups of live television history, Faye Dunaway said the words out loud, but she and Warren Beatty together announced La La Land as the winner of the Best Picture Award when in all actuality Moonlight had won.

I have a few thoughts on this.

First of all: HOW IN THE FUCK? JUST... HOW. IN. THE. FUCK?

Secondly, we were all, in unison, thinking, "It's time to retire Grandpa Beatty to a supervised community home in Florida." But we were all so, so wrong.

The tragedy of the entire debacle is that the folks from Moonlight did not get to enjoy the moment properly, with due time for their speeches, and the poignant moments inherent within that experience. Also, it seems the aftermath is full of praise for Jordan Horowitz.

Of course, Jordan Horowitz is a class act for the way he took charge of the situation, saying "I’m going to be really thrilled to hand this to my friends from 'Moonlight'." and hugging Barry Jenkins when he made it up on stage, but the people who made Moonlight are the real heroes for taking on such an important subject and turning it into a masterfully crafted piece of art that resonates with the LGBT community and minorities alike. That is why they won. 

The whole thing was one of the most ridiculous, exciting, incredible moments in tv history. I mean, just look at this tweet from Barry Jenkins:

The envelope he's holding says "ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE". The card says Best Picture.

I repeat: HOW IN THE FUCK?


After the La La Land gaffe, comedian Billy Eichner, as a joke, tweeted this:

Then it was revealed that the producers in fact did kill someone who wasn't dead when they included a picture of the very much alive Jan Chapman in place of her friend, Janet Patterson, who passed away in 2016.

Also, they omitted such names as Garry Shandling, Florence Henderson and Doris Roberts. Also, they didn't add Bill Paxton into the montage, opting for a few words of remembrance by Jennifer Aniston, who was on stage to introduce the segment. I fail to believe that they didn't have adequate time to insert Paxton's photo and name in the montage. I have seen it argued that they only include people who passed away in the previous calendar year, but that isn't accurate, as 2016's In Memoriam featured David Bowie, who died on January 10 of 2016, not in 2015.

I don't know who screwed up, but there are probably a few new Help Wanted ads in the back of the trade papers this week.


Host Jimmy Kimmel's ongoing jokes at Matt Damon's expense were some of my favorite moments from the show. Damon deserves a lot of respect for always being game for some self-effacing humour. Particularly, the spoof of Kimmel watching We Bought A Zoo and crapping all over it was just hilarious. Then, the literal crescendo as Ben Affleck "and Guest" presented for Best Original Screenplay. Whenever it was Damon's turn to speak, the orchestra began to play him off. I was genuinely cackling at this point. Affleck, too, was stifling more than a minor chuckle.

My favorite bit of the night, though, was when the Hollywood Tour showed up and a busload of non-celebrities were surprised with a tour, and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet a bunch of front-row celebs. I just personally thought that was such a cool moment. Others have chided it as self-aggrandizing, and cringe-worthy; a case of "typical Hollywood condescension. 'Let's let the yokels mix with the Oscar winners.' " 

But I couldn't disagree more. The faces of those tourists were filled with shock, awe, and excitement. Twitter is full of people who can't just enjoy a moment. What hell life must be for those people who insist on being offended by everything.


Ok, maybe I care a little about who wins. Just, not enough to flip out like many people do, because after all, we're just watching a bunch of rich people stroke each other's *ahem* egos.

Here's the thing, though... there's no fucking way Arrival should have only won ONE award. 

I understand Arrival not winning Best Picture, because Moonlight is incredible and an incredibly important film. But, tell me how a movie wins Best Sound Editing but not Best Sound Mixing (and tell me what the hell the difference is). Also, Best Cinematography went to La La Land, not Arrival? Did anyone at the Academy even see this shot?!

Alright, I flipped out a bit just now. Truly, Moonlight is deserving (so is Arrival). I have not seen Hacksaw Ridge but I'm sure it is pretty good (not better than Arrival). Fences has Denzel and Viola, and you can't argue with that (Amy Adams was incredible in Arrival). 

However, I think the one thing we can all agree on is that La La Land acolytes having their collective hearts ripped out of their chests was hilarious. I've never been more annoyed by a film's groupies more than the LLL crowd.

I honestly haven't even watched La La Land and I have no desire to do so. I'm sure I will at some point, but everything I've heard about the movie makes it sound like a Hollywood film made by Hollywood types that congratulates Hollywood for being Hollywood. Even to a fan of the Silver Screen age of cinema that sounds like a Tinseltown Circle Jerk.

Overall, the Oscars production was everything I grew up loving about the biggest night in Hollywood. It was elegant, funny, tear-filled, emotional, surprising, and altogether perfect.

Just like Arrival.

Follow Nate on Twitter @WriteMyWrong

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