Moonlight Takes Best Picture At The 2017 Academy Awards

The 89th annual Academy Awards, the highlight of the year in film, took place in Los Angeles last night and there were certainly some BIG talking points!! Some predictions correct, some prediction’s wrong, one prediction that was correct until everyone realised Warren Beatty and the person who handed him the envelope had made a mistake which then meant my prediction was wrong…yeah…there’s quite a bit to talk about…

BEST PICTURE

Winner – Moonlight

Nominees: La La Land – Arrival – Lion – Hell or High Water – Moonlight – Fences – Hacksaw Ridge – Hidden Figures – Manchester by the Sea

Well in one of the most bizarre occurencies in Oscar history, La La Land was proclaimed 2017 Best Picture by presenter Warren Beatty before the ACTUAL Best Picture, Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight was announced by La La Land producer, Jordan Horowitz. The wrong envelope had been given to Beatty causing a couple of minutes of serious confusion before the cast and crew of Moonlight came up to accept the award.

Moonlight is an incredible film, there’s no doubt about that, but never in a million years did most people expect it to win over La La Land. Whoever said the Oscars are past putting on good shows was proven wrong last night. La La Land was my choice, like it was many people’s but I am incredibly happy for Moonlight. Now if anything other than these two would’ve won, the world would be up in arms.

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Winner – Casey Affleck

Nominees: Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea) – Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge) – Ryan Gosling (La La Land) – Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic) – Denzel Washington (Fences)

It looked for all the world that Denzel Washington, fresh off his SAG Awards win in this category and seemingly having much more buzz in the past week or so than any other Best Actor nominee, would go on to win it but the award dide end up going to original favourite, Casey Affleck for his deeply saddening and intense performance in Manchester by the Sea. This was his first Oscar win and his second nomination after 2007’s The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Winner – Emma Stone

Nominees: Isabelle Huppert (Elle) – Ruth Negga (Loving) – Natalie Portman (Jackie) – Emma Stone (La La Land) – Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

YEEEEESSSSSS!!!!! This is the one I really wanted to see. Emma Stone is one of my absolute favourite actresses working today and seeing her deliver this winning speech brought a tear to my eye. La La Land was easily her best ever role and if, as she promises, this is only the start of more to come, you know I’ll be looking out for all things Emma Stone for decades.

Natalie Portman could’ve taken it for Jackie but the film didn’t seem to have a great deal of buzz around it compared to all the others. This was Emma’s from the day she was nominated.

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Winner – Mahershala Ali

Nominees: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) – Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water) – Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea) – Dev Patel (Lion) – Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals)

Here we have another correct decision. After getting beaten to the BAFTA by Lion’s Dev Patel, because British awards shows seem to favour British talent for some reason, Mahershala Ali claimed the most important one and it was fully deserved. His subtly powerful role in Moonlight brought so many layers to such a character and despite not being in the film past the first of the three chapters, his character’s influence is felt throughout. An emotionally monstrous performance that no other nominee here had beaten.

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Winner – Viola Davis

Nominees: Viola Davis (Fences) – Naomie Harris (Moonlight) – Nicole Kidman (Lion) – Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures) – Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)

This has been the easiest category to predict throughout awards season as Viola Davis has cleaned up. Yes, Naomie Harris in Moonlight was haunting and toxic yet sympathetic. The fact that she filmed her entire role in the space of three days is also beyond impressive but Viola has been playing this character on the stage for years and that could be seen in her on screen performance. Fully, fully deserved.

ANIMATED FEATURE

Winner – Zootopia

Nominees: Kubo and the Two Strings – Moana – My Life as a Zucchini – The Red Turtle – Zootopia

I was torn between Kubo and Zootopia for who I wanted to win this award. Kubo is stunning to look at and is a very original take on ‘the hero’s journey’ but Zootopia was Disney animation at its best, with a timeless message of racial equality underneath a very entertaining and funny film. More often than not, Disney or Pixar are a definite when it comes to the Best Animated category and with Pixar’s effort being the forgettable sequel, Finding Dory, their parent company was there to take the crown.

BEST DIRECTOR

Winner – Damien Chazelle

Nominees: Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) – Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge) – Damien Chazelle (La La Land) – Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea) – Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)

Like with the Best Picture category, I would’ve been fine with Jenkins recieving this award but as the Academy have done a number of times before, they split the Best Picture and Best Director categories between the two frontrunning films. Damien Chazelle is an outstanding director with a massive future and I’m sure he will be in the public conciousness for decades to come. To direct something like La La Land takes an outrageous amount of skill, patience and knowledge and Chazelle pulled it off perfectly. I cannot wait to see what comes from him next.

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Winner – La La Land

Nominees: Arrival (Bradford Young) – La La Land (Linus Sandgren) – Lion (Greig Fraser) – Moonlight (James Laxton) – Silence (Rodrigo Prieto)

Following on from what I was saying about Damien Chazelle’s directing, the cinematography in La La Land is truly stunning and that is all the work of the much deserved winner, Linus Sandgren. He made Los Angeles look like a dream world in this film and even to look at a still image taken from the film, I’m in awe…and that’s not just because of the amount of purple in there. Another fully deserved award.

WRITING – ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Winner – Moonlight

Nominees: Eric Heisserer (Arrival) – August Wilson (Fences) – Allison Schroeder & Theodore Melfi (Hidden Figures) – Luke Davies (Lion) – Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)

What else is there to say about Moonlight that I haven’t already. The story is too powerful to put into words. Being unfamiliar with the source material, I can only go off what the story played like on screen. In the final chapter especially, you were hanging on every word, being moved every time Chiron or Kevin spoke, seeing these two men interact after so many years apart. The first chapter with Mahershala Ali’s Juan and the introduction of Naomie Harris. The second, going through the mental torture of being bullied at school, seeing his mother get deeper and deeper into drug use and in the middle of it all, sharing a queit intimate moment at the beach.

It’s a stunning story and fully deserves this.

WRITING – ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Winner – Manchester by the Sea

Nominees: Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water) – Damien Chazelle (La La Land) – Yorgos Lanthimos & Efthimis Filippou (The Lobster) – Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea) – Mike Mills (20th Century Women)

This is perhaps the only major category where I fully think something else should’ve won. Hell or High Water, a film that after the disappointment of the previous summer’s blockbuster season, came as a treat in September and gave us wonderful writing throughout. Taylor Sheridan certainly was being talked about leading up to last night and I really do think he was the deserved winner here, if only so Hell or High Water could be recognised with a major award.

OTHER WINNERS

Original Score – La La Land

Original Song – “City of Stars” – Justin Hurwitz (La La Land)

Film Editing – Hacksaw Ridge

Visual Effects – The Jungle Book

Foreign Language Film – The Salesman

Costume Design – Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them

Feature Documentary – O.J: Made in America

Short Documentary – The White Helmets

Sound Editing – Arrival

Sound Mixing – Hacksaw Ridge

Makeup & Hairstyling – Suicide Squad

Production Design – La La Land

Short Animation – Piper

Short Live Action – Sing

Let’s just blitz through some one sentence thoughts on the rest of these winners shall we!? I have been singing, humming and whistling songs from La La Land every day since the day I saw it. War films done well always have excellent editing. Jon Favreau and The Jungle Book made the most beleiveable CG animals anyone has ever seen and started a new effects phenomenon. After the story of director, Asghar Farhadi not being originally able to attend the ceremony due to the immigration bans in the US, the fact that his film, The Salesman won and that he was there to accept it was awesome.

Yeah, I suppose the best thing about Fantastic Beasts was the way the character’s dressed. 13th should’ve won Best Documentary. Didn’t see any short docs. Sound Editing and Sound Mixing going to Arrival and Hacksaw Ridge, a sci-fi film and a war film, it makes sense they’d have pretty good technical filmmaking in them. Okay I guess Suicide Squad is now an Oscar winning film…not so sure about that one. La La Land again was beautiful so obviously it was going to win production design. Piper played before Finding Dory and I was far more interested in that the actual feature film. I sadly didn’t see any of the short films nominated.

An there we have it for 2017’s awards season!! Now as March begins and the blockbuster season gets ever earlier, let’s move our attention to the next film that’s likely to make me emotional, Logan…I now only have 2 days to wait!!

Be sure to let me know your thoughts on the results of this year’s Oscars, use #PurpleDonMovies to talk and check me out on Twitter and Instagram!

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