When Steve Harvey incorrectly crowned Miss Universe in 2015, live TV probably hoped they had seen the last of huge award show mix-ups. But low and behold, on the film industry’s most important night, while presenting its highest honor, it happened again.
On Sunday, Feb. 26, the annual Academy Awards were held to celebrate the best of the best in the film industry. The evening, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, was filled with beautiful speeches, energetic musical performances, touching tributes and even some political comments.
The biggest award of the night, Best Picture, brought the biggest shock. The initial winner was “La La Land,” a musical about two aspiring artists in Los Angeles, which had swept up seven awards already. The cast and crew mounted the stage and gave almost all of their speeches before they were interrupted.
There had been a mistake.
The real winner was “Moonlight,” a film that follows the life story of a young black man growing up in a rough Miami neighborhood. As the correct cast and crew took the stage in shock and disbelief, the presenter, Warren Beatty, tried to explain his mistake. He had been given an envelope from the wrong category. Kimmel also tried to take the blame, saying he felt it was his fault.
The “La La Land” creators were very understanding and acted very respectably about the whole thing. They expressed how deserving “Moonlight” was and quietly left the stage, giving the actual winners their deserved time for speeches.
The other major awards of the night were a little less exciting, naturally. Casey Affleck took home Best Actor for his performance in “Manchester by the Sea.” Affleck, who was making his first ever Oscar speech, was surprisingly and disappointingly unenthusiastic. He said his thank yous and left the stage without much emotion at all.
In contrast, Emma Stone was awarded Best Actress for her part in “La La Land,” and gave her speech while completely overwhelmed. She was as she always is, her charming, goofy self.
The speeches for Best Supporting Actor and Actress were much more inspirational. The award for Best Supporting Actor went to Mahershala Ali from “Moonlight.” He began his speech by thanking his family, of course, but then took a more unconventional route by thanking his teachers and his professors next. He then continued to melt the crowd’s heart by thanking his wife for offering her support through award season even though she gave birth only four days ago.
Viola Davis, the winner of Best Supporting Actress for her role in “Fences,” also made an incredible speech. She addressed the beauty of storytelling, of representing ordinary people who experience great things.
“I became an artist, and thank God I did, because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life,” Davis said through her tears.
Davis’ speech was only one of the most memorable of the night. Another was the speech for Best Foreign Language Film. The winner was “Salesman,” an Iranian movie directed by Asghar Farhadi. Farhadi was not in attendance and therefore had his speech read on his behalf. In his speech, he explained that he did not attend in respect for those in his country who have been affected by Trump’s travel ban. His speech received a thunderous applause, and social media channels blew up with his story.
The rest of the night was certainly not lacking in emotion. There were uplifting musical performances, like those by Justin Timberlake and John Legend, and there were heart-wrenching tributes, performed by Sting and Sara Bareilles.
Kimmel kept the audience entertained by bringing in a tour bus full of unsuspecting fans who were totally stunned to walk into a room full of their favorite stars. He also showed an Oscar edition of “Mean Tweets” and made numerous political comments, even tweeting at Donald Trump during the show for everyone to see.
Overall, the show was full of tears and laughs, strong statements and jokes. Best Picture mix-up aside, this year’s Academy Awards was a show to remember.