The 89th Academy Awards opened Sunday night with a toe-tapping performance from Justin Timberlake and some mean Matt Damon gags from host Jimmy Kimmel. And it ended with a bizarre, unprecedented mistake with the Best Picture announcement. Read on for the highs and lows from Hollywood’s most star-studded night.
HIGH/LOW/HUH?: That Best Picture shocker
No one was surprised when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced that La La Land won Best Picture — but La La Land didn’t win Best Picture. Moonlight did. In a shocking blunder, Beatty said he was given the wrong envelope, and only after La La Land‘s producers said their thank you speeches did they realize what had happened. The silver lining: Moonlight won a historic and deserving trophy, and the handoff from the La La Land producers to Moonlight director Barry Jenkins was a gracious show of unity.
HIGH: Justin Timberlake’s opening song
This year’s Oscars didn’t start with a bang, but with a dance party. Justin Timberlake ushered in the ceremony by boogying down the aisle and performing his nominated song, “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from Trolls. It was an unusual choice to open the Oscars, but it set exactly the right mood, giving the audience a chance to watch the nervous nominees relax for a minute and bop to the beat.
HIGH: Gary and Vicky crash the Oscars
Jimmy Kimmel’s decision to hijack a Starline Tour and bring its unsuspecting passengers into the Dolby Theatre seemed like a bit destined for awkward disaster. Crisis was averted, however, thanks to Gary and Vicky, a sightseeing couple whose excitement over meeting (and taking photos of) the Oscars’ front row celebrities quickly turned into an amusing highlight, punctuated by the engaged duo being unofficially “married” by Vicky’s favorite star, Denzel Washington. Jennifer Aniston, Ryan Gosling, and Mahershala Ali (who let the guests rub his new Oscar) also chipped in to make these party crashers feel welcome.
LOW: Suicide Squad now has as many Oscars as Citizen Kane
Not to take anything away from Suicide Squad makeup artists Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini, and Christopher Allen Nelson, who pulled a minor upset by beating the more intergalactic stylings of Star Trek Beyond. But it’s hard to fathom one of 2016’s most maligned movies will now forever boast the preface “Oscar-winning film.” It’s even harder to fathom the DC Comics dud now has as many Oscars as Orson Welles’s masterpiece, which infamously won only a single Oscar, Best Writing, Original Screenplay, in 1942.
LOW: Snacks from the sky
Sorry, Jimmy: You may have tried to get the crowd psyched about your candy- and cookie-stuffed goodie bags by dropping them from the ceiling via parachute. But that gag was less amusing — and certainly less filling — then Ellen DeGeneres’s pizza delivery stunt at the 2014 Oscars. On the other hand, Mel Gibson seemed to relish his licorice snack — if Suicide Squad 2 doesn’t work out, he has a future directing Red Vines commercials.
HIGH: Auli’i Cravalho sings her heart out
The 16-year-old actress who voiced Moana‘s title character made her Oscar debut with a performance of the film’s nominated song, “How Far I’ll Go” (with a new rap intro by songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda). Looking like the Disney princess come to life, Cravalho sang beautifully and was incredibly poised, even when one of the sail-waving background dancers got a little too close and whipped the fabric in her face.
HIGH: Hidden Figures stars bring out real-life hero
For months on the publicity trail, Hidden Figures stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe have spoken with deep admiration about the real NASA mathematicians they play in the inspirational drama. On Sunday night, the actresses were able to share the spotlight with one of them: 98-year-old Katherine Johnson (played by Henson in the film), who appeared onstage in a wheelchair to a standing ovation. Her words were brief (“Thanks very much,” Johnson said softly.), but her impact was momentous.
HIGH: Asghar Farhadi’s acceptance speech for The Salesman
Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s The Salesman pulled off an upset win by nabbing the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar — this after Farhadi chose to boycott the ceremony in response to President Trump’s recent travel ban. Astronaut Anousheh Ansari accepted the award on his behalf, reading a speech by the filmmaker in which he said he had decided not to attend in order to stand in solidarity with those targeted by this “inhumane law” that divides the world into “us and them categories,” sowing fear and threatening war. In a night full of pointed jokes aimed at Trump, it was the most overt, and powerful, political moment.
HIGH: Back to the Future meets Hamilton
Seth Rogen lived out every ’80s kid’s fantasy when he presented the Oscar for Best Film Editing alongside Michael J. Fox, entering via DeLorean and wearing Back to the Future II‘s self-tying Nike shoes. “All I have to do is sing the Schuyler sisters song from Hamilton in front of the world and I will have completed my entire bucket list,” Rogen announced. Then he belted out part of the song, even getting Fox to join in, much to the delight of Hamilton writer and Best Original Song nominee Lin-Manuel Miranda.
HIGH: Jimmy Kimmel’s We Bought a Zoo mockery, and his night of anti-Damonism
Following two prerecorded bits in which Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen expressed their adoration for The Apartment and Back to the Future, respectively, Jimmy Kimmel used that same format to jokingly espouse his “love” for Cameron Crowe’s 2011 drama We Bought a Zoo and the “effortful” performance of its star, Matt Damon. It was hilariously silly (and deserved) mockery, and was the height of Kimmel’s nightlong torment of Damon, with whom he’s had an infamous faux feud for at least a decade. Kimmel followed that up by having the orchestra play Damon off the stage — even though he was only a presenter.
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