Monday, 27 February 2017

I knew I would screw this show up, I really did. I promise I’ll never come back.

Oscar Winners 2017


So, after an almighty faux-pas in the final furlong, is there anything much to say about the actual winners? Mostly, they illustrate the wrestling match between the salve of political/social conscience and self-congratulation I was droning on about in my predictions piece, something Harvey Scissorhands also recognised when it came to discussing how Shakespeare in Love trumped Saving Private Ryan (besides the former being the better film, that is); Hollywood can – usually – be relied upon to upvote their own artistic validation. But not this year.

La La Land had to make do with the most wins (six), in an evening when the Academy was otherwise choosing to emphasise how alert and awake to serious matters it was, such is its tumult over Trumpton. Never let it be said they’re content to sit back and fiddle while their cosy idyll burns. Why, they recognised African Americans several times (Best Picture, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actor, Adapted Screenplay), so they can forget about having been made to feel guilty again for at least a couple more years (Phew!) They recognised crises abroad (Best Documentary Short) and at home (Best Documentary Feature) and protested the Presidential travel ban (Best Foreign Language Film). And, just to show they’re forgiving, in the Polanski/Allen move of the evening, they gave Mel’s movie two technical statuettes. Boy, will they all have slept soundly last night!

Jimmy Kimmel? He seems to have gone down okay, coasting on his late-night talk show routine. Since he bigged up Letterman’s berated Oscars turn a few days back, Im reluctant to be too hard on him. As for my all-important track record: 14 out of 24, so I’m maintaining my rigorously mediocre standards.

Best Picture
Winner: Moonlight (Dede Gardner, Adele Romanski, Jeremy Keiner)
I guessed: La La Land

Did the best picture win? Does it ever? I’ll wisely reserve judgement until I’ve caught the lot, but right now, Manchester by the Sea leads out of the five I’ve seen, and that’s even with me not much liking Casey Affleck. Moonlight’s win, besides the gnawing feeling among voters that they should possibly, maybe, be seen to stand for something, may also be a symptom of an increasingly prevalent condition, as blanket coverage becomes ever more suffocating and fatigue with the hot favourite sets in. The old backlash problem. One might see that in Spotlight’s prize last year. Oscar, being the last and most prestigious of the awards ceremonies, is also damned by being the resultantly least surprising, oft times. That’s what they need mix-ups to spice things up. Of course, Moonlight could also simply just be the Best Picture.

Best Director
Winner: Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
I guessed: Damien Chazelle (La La Land)

So Chazelle, like his characters, got the big success he strived for. But at what price, Damien?

Best Actor
Winner: Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)
I guessed: Denzel Washington (Fences)

There’s no doubt Affleck’s performance in Manchester by the Sea is Oscar-worthy; I can say that as one who has never been particularly won over by the guy. Although, I do greatly admire his beard. Not as top drawer as Dev Patel’s but something to be proud of nonetheless. Affleck had been the one to bet on, of course, before Denzel’s SAG win. Casey’s skeletons in the closet failed to dent his chances, so he can probably look forward to them resurfacing again in a few years, more resoundingly. Then he’ll fall from grace, then be redeemed by voters once more.

Best Actress
Winner: Emma Stone (La La Land)
I guessed: Emma Stone (La La Land)

She also won Best Picture.

Best Supporting Actor
Winner: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)
I guessed: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)

I suspect Ali wouldn’t have bagged it if he’d been up against Sunny Pawar rather than Dev Patel, but Moonlight’s trio of statuettes puts in good company with last year’s victor (an even more modest two).

Best Supporting Actress
Winner: Viola Davis (Fences)
I guessed: Viola Davis (Fences)

The most predictable win of the evening? I don’t think anyone had even a glimmer of a doubt on this one.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Winner: Barry Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight)
I guessed: Barry Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight)

Another that was mostly probable. The win highlights that Hidden Figures left the awards empty-handed, which like Lion, was looking not unlikely.

Best Original Screenplay
Winner: Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea)
I guessed: La La Land

Is this that Titanic thing, slightly, of the emotional ride disguising that the actual writing isn’t that amazing? Not that I want to denigrate La La Land by comparing it to Titanic, although I just did. I rooted for Lonergan on this, and for someone who languished in limbo for about a decade, it must be extra gratifying to have a comeback so well received.

Best Animated Feature
Winner: Zootopia (Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Clark Spencer)
I guessed: Zootopia (Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Clark Spencer)

A shame Kubo and the Two Strings didn’t get any joy on the night, but Zootopia’s a great movie.

Best Documentary Feature
Winner: O.J.: Made in America (Ezra Edelman, Caroline Waterlow)
I guessed: O.J.: Made in America (Ezra Edelman, Caroline Waterlow)

100% on Rotten Tomatoes can’t be wrong.

Best Foreign Language Film
Winner: The Salesman (Asghar Farhadi)
I guessed: The Salesman (Asghar Farhadi)

A second Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for Farhadi.

Best Cinematography
Winner: Linus Sandgren (La La Land)
I guessed: Linus Sandgren (La La Land)

Yeah, it looked jolly nice. I preferred Arrival, mind.

Best Costume Design
Winner: Colleen Atwood (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them)
I guessed: La La Land

Empire wuz right. Always bet on Atwood.

Best Documentary Short
Winner: The White Helmets (Orlando von Einsiedel, Joanna Natasegara)
I guessed: Joe’s Violin

A deserved win about neutral, unarmed volunteers, or a PR piece in support of a group with ties to terrorism?  

Best Film Editing
Winner: John Gilbert (Hacksaw Ridge)
I guessed: La La Land

Mel truly comes in from the cold. Hopefully he didn’t have a drink to celebrate.

Best Make-up and Hairstyling
Winner: Giorgio Gregorini (Suicide Squad)
I guessed: Star Trek Beyond

I mean, what? I guess it takes a true artiste to design intentionally bad-looking hair and make-up.

Best Original Score
Winner: Justin Hurwitz (La La Land)
I guessed: Justin Hurwitz (La La Land)

A fait accompli.

Best Original Song
Winner: City of Stars (La La Land)
I guessed: City of Stars (La La Land)

Yeah, tis a good wee ditty.

Production Design
Winner: David Wasco (La La Land)
I guessed: David Wasco (La La Land)

Hail, Caesar! was robbed!

Best Animated Short
Winner: Piper (Alan Barillaro, Marco Sondheimer)
I guessed: Piper (Alan Barillaro, Marco Sondheimer)

Well done, Pixar! You were desperately short of Best Animated Short Oscars, after all.

Best Live Action Short
Winner: Sing (Kristof Deak, Anna Udvardy)
I guessed: Silent Nights

No relation to the animation.

Best Sound Editing
Winner: Sylvian Bellemare (Arrival)
I guessed: La La Land

Nice for Arrival to win something.

Best Sound Mixing
Winner: Kevin O'Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie and Peter Grace (Hacksaw Ridge)
I guessed: La La Land

Mel! Even more indirectly loved!

Visual Effects
Winner: Robert Legato, Dan Lemmon, Adam Valdez, Andrew R Jones (The Jungle Book)
I guessed: The Jungle Book


Great effects, so-so movie.

Agree? Disagree? Mildly or vehemently? Let me know in the comments below.

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