The 2017 Academy Awards: Awardees, Politics, and Hilarious Mistakes

By Sanho Kim.

“Very clearly, even in my dreams this could not be true,” Moonlight director Barry Jenkins said upon receiving the Best Picture award, “but to hell with dreams, I’m done with it, ‘cause this is true. Oh my goodness.”

Dreams. Politics. The Hollywood society — some struggling to stay in it, others competing to enter it. Stories of miracles. Stories of backstage gossip. The Academy Awards ceremony (aka The Oscars), is the biggest award ceremony in the film industry and a golden, star-studded mess of all these things.

Led by host Jimmy Kimmel, the 89th Oscars was a definitive moment in today’s popular culture. It made political implications and critiques. It declared the success of black talent, and ventured into the LGBT society. It featured rock stars and movies about movies. It had live, televised errors and burning tweets. Red Vines were falling from the sky.

Flashes and Fails

The perfect addition to the fashion and stardom was, of course, a random group of ordinary people. The tourists walked straight into the front row, to the surprise of both the actors and the visitors. A black couple, Vicki and “Gary from Chicago” led the skit to success, as they received an impromptu “marriage ceremony” from Denzel Washington and explored the theater carrying their phones and selfie sticks.

The giddy confusion, however, was later replaced with real chaos. When Warren Beatty announced La La Land as the Best Picture winner, the crew behind the already award-winning film stepped up and began making their speeches. However, disruption occurred onstage as officials rushed in to reveal that Moonlight was the actual winner. It turned out that Warren Beatty was given the wrong envelope.

This hilarious mistake, unfortunately, was not the only error — it was later pointed out that during the In Memoriam performance, a wrong picture was used to represent Janet Patterson. The woman in the picture was actually Jan Chapman, a longtime friend and former colleague of Patterson.

“I am alive and well,” Chapman wrote to Variety.

Raised Voices

If last year’s show was noted by the absence of black talent, this year’s Oscars was overflowing with it. All acting categories had at least one black actor, including Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, and Octavia Spencer. Most notable were the black and brown people behind Moonlight, a film about a black man which touches social issues such as homosexuality. The movie ultimately grabbed some of the biggest wins of the ceremony, including the Best Picture award.

Another hit was “The Salesman”, an Iranian film that won Best Foreign Language Film. Director Asghar Farhadi made a statement against Donald Trump, boycotting the Oscars in protest of the US government’s travel ban against six, select countries. Additionally to his words — read out loud by Iranian-American astronaut Anousheh Ansari — was the absence of Khaled Khateeb. Khateeb is the Syrian cinematographer of The White Helmets, which won Best Short Documentary; he was prevented from flying to LA from Istanbul despite the nomination.

Overall, the show was steeped in an inclusive, open atmosphere — at least more than last year — as black stars took home Oscars, political issues were broached straightforwardly, and movies argued.

Barry Jenkins, the writer of Moonlight, put it best: “And all you people out there who feel like there’s no mirror for you, that your life is not reflected (…) We have your back. And for the next four years we will not leave you alone. We will not forget you.”

The Complete List of Winners and Nominees:

  1. Best Visual Effects

Deepwater Horizon

Doctor Strange

Kubo and the Two Strings

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Winner: The Jungle Book (Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones, Dan Lemmon)

  1. Best Film Editing


Hell or High Water

La La Land


Winner: Hacksaw Ridge (John Gilbert)

  1. Best Costume Design


Florence Foster Jenkins


La La Land

Winner: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Colleen Atwood)

  1. Best Makeup and Hairstyling

A Man Called Ove

Start Trek Beyond

Winner: Suicide Squad (Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini, Christopher Nelson)

  1. Best Cinematography





Winner: La La Land (Linus Sandgren)

  1. Best Production Design


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Hail, Caesar!


Winner: La La Land (David Wasco, Sandy Reynolds-Wasco)

  1. Best Sound Mixing


La La Land

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Winner: Hacksaw Ridge (Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie, Peter Grace)

  1. Best Sound Editing

Deepwater Horizon

Hacksaw Ridge

La La Land


Winner: Arrival (Sylvain Bellemare)

  1. Best Original Song

“Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from La La Land

“Can’t Stop The Feeling!” from Trolls

“The Empty Chair” from Jim: The James Foley Story

“How Far I’ll Go” from Moana

Winner: “City of Stars” from La La Land

(Music by Justin Hurwitz, Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul)

  1. Best Original Score





Winner: La La Land (Justin Hurwitz)

  1. Best Animated Short Film

Blind Vaysha

Borrowed Time

Pear Cider and Cigarettes


Winner: Piper (Alan Barillaro, Marc Sondheimer)

  1. Best Live Action Short Film

Ennemis intérieurs

La Femme et le TGV

Silent Nights


Winner: Sing (Kristóf Deák, Anna Udvardy)

  1. Best Documentary (Short Subject)


4.1 Miles

Joe’s Violin

Watani: My Homeland

Winner: The White Helmets (Orlando von Einsiedel, Joanna Natasegara)

  1. Best Documentary (Feature)

Fire at Sea

I Am Not Your Negro

Life, Animated


Winner: O.J.: Made in America (Ezra Edelman, Caroline Waterlow)

  1. Best Foreign Language Film

Land of Mine

A Man Called Ove


Toni Erdmann

Winner: The Salesman (Iran; Ashgar Farhadi)

  1. Best Animated Feature Film

Kubo and the Two Strings


My Life as a Zucchini

The Red Turtle

Winner: Zootopia (Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Clark Spencer)

  1. Best Adapted Screenplay



Hidden Figures


Winner: Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney)

  1. Best Original Screenplay

Hell or High Water

La La Land

The Lobster

20th Century Women

Winner: Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)

  1. Best Supporting Actress

Naomie Harris (Moonlight)

Nicole Kidman (Lion)

Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures)

Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)

Winner: Viola Davis (Fences)

  1. Best Supporting Actor

Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)

Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea)

Dev Patel (Lion)

Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals)

Winner: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)

  1. Best Actress

Isablle Huppert (Elle)

Ruth Negga (Loving)

Natalie Portman (Jackie)

Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

Winner: Emma Stone (La La Land)

  1. Best Actor

Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge)

Ryan Gosling (La La Land)

Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)

Denzel Washington (Fences)

Winner: Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)

  1. Best Director

Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge)

Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)

Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea)

Denis Villeneuve (Arrival)

Winner: Damien Chazelle (La La Land)

  1. Best Picture


Fences Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

Hidden Figures

La La Land


Manchester by the Sea

Winner: Moonlight

 Image Source:

Featured Image:  This image was originally posted to Flickr by Disney | ABC Television Group. The image has been licensed for fair use by the creator under the Creative Commons license – Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0). No changes were made.


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