“And the Oscar goes to… ‘La La Land’.” Audiences remember that infamous moment when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced the wrong Best Picture Award at the 89th Academy Awards. While this year’s ceremony steered clear of major flubs, long runtimes and political jokes made for a major drop in ratings, “down 20 percent compared to the 2017 numbers, averaging 26.5 million viewers” according to Fox News.
After a catastrophic Oscar ceremony last year, Jimmy Kimmel tried again. The late-night host opened the 90th Academy Awards with a monologue about sexual harassment, the wage gap and a jet ski. He explained that Oscar, the golden statue awarded to every category winner, was “the most respected, beloved man in Hollywood,” because he “keeps his hands where you can see them.”
He continued, highlighting the wage gap scandal that saw Mark Wahlberg earn millions for “All the Money in the World” reshoots, as opposed to Michelle Williams’ 80-dollars-a-day-salary. Perhaps the most entertaining portion of his opening monologue was a cameo appearance from Helen Mirren modeling a brand-new jet ski. In hopes to speed-up the event, Kimmel offered a new jet ski to whoever had the shortest acceptance speech. “Why waste precious time thanking your mom when you could be taking her for the ride of her life: on a brand-new jet ski! This is not a joke. I will be timing you. I have a stopwatch,” said Kimmel. “Phantom Thread” costume designer Mark Bridges won that jet ski with a 30 second speech.
First time Oscar nominee Allison Janney won Best Supporting Actress for her role as LaVona Harding in the drama “I, Tonya.” The jet ski would have been hers if she ended her speech after her opening line: “I did it all by myself.” Jordan Peele, writer and director of the mystery-horror hit “Get Out,” was the first African American to win Best Original Screenplay. CNN reported, “Peele made history [by] becoming the first black director to receive nominations in the writing, directing, and best picture categories for his directorial debut.” Similarly, Guillermo del Toro became the third Mexican to win Best Director. His film, “The Shape of Water,” was the most nominated picture of the night with 13 nominations.
Taking a break from acceptance speeches, Kimmel led a caravan of celebrities, including Margo Robbie, Lupita Nyong’o and Ansel Elgort, to the TCL Chinese Theatre next door to surprise some unexpecting moviegoers. Handing out candy and shooting hot dogs into the crowd, “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot said, “This is so much better than the Oscars!”
Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph provided some comic relief during their presentation of Best Documentary Short Subject and Best Live Action Short Film. In fact, that night saw Haddish wear her $4,000 Alexander McQueen dress for a third time – the previous two times at the “Girls Night” premiere and her hosting gig at Saturday Night Live. Shutting down petty taboos, Haddish said “I spent a lot of money on this dress! This dress cost way more than my mortgage…I’m going to wear this dress multiple times.”
Major awards were presented later on in the show. Many winners followed the trend of previous award shows, and for the most part there were no surprises in the top categories. Frances McDormand picked up the award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Mildred Hayes in the drama “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” while Gary Oldman won Best Actor for his role as Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour.” Senior Ben Connor commented, “Gary Oldman’s performance was top notch.” One moment that stood out during the ceremony was McDormand’s speech that encouraged all female nominees and winners to stand for recognition.
Redeeming last year’s Best Picture disaster, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway presented the Best Picture award to “The Shape of Water.” The night ended when del Toro said, “everyone that is dreaming of using fantasy to tell the stories about the things that are real in the world today, you can do it. This is the door. Kick it open and come in.”
Despite an inspiring night, the 90th Academy Award rung in its lowest rating in history. Junior Hampton Henderson said, “I think the Oscars are corrupt. It’s all about who can put the most money into it; that’s why they win.” Despite possible corruption, audiences enjoyed the films represented at the awards show. College Advising Assistant Dayna Thomson commented, “To be honest I wish ‘I, Tonya’ had been nominated for Best Picture because it was my favorite of all of the movies this Oscar season. Of the ones nominated for Best Picture, I thought ‘Three Billboards in Ebbing, Missouri’ was the most likely to win, but I enjoyed watching ‘Lady Bird’ the most.