Highlights from the 2017 Oscars


William DeMuria, Pop Culture Editor, Writer

Hollywood’s most glamorous night finally arrived this past Sunday, Feb. 26, and it will without a doubt be one to remember. Each year, the Academy Awards honor the best films of the year and brings all of your favorite stars together to watch the best of the best receive the coveted “Oscar” trophy. This year, late night comedian Jimmy Kimmel hosted the ceremony, filling it with many memorable moments that will surely go down in Oscar history. Here are a few of these moments from the ceremony that had the media buzzing:

  1. Jimmy Kimmel’s Hosting!

From jokes about his “enemy” Matt Damon to newly inaugurated President Trump, it goes without saying that Kimmel was a perfect choice to be the master of ceremonies for Hollywood’s biggest night.

One of Kimmel’s many memorable recurring jokes of the night was by calling Meryl Streep “overrated” in reference to Trump’s tweet about Streep following her political Golden Globes speech in January. During his opening monologue, he kicked off this gag by saying, “Of all the great actors here in Hollywood, one in part has stood the test of time for her many uninspiring and overrated performances.” Even Streep herself couldn’t resist laughing despite being the center of the joke.

If you ever doubted Kimmel’s hosting abilities before, watching him host the Oscars for the first time definitely put that doubt to rest. Is it too early to hope for him to return as host next year?

2. Viola Davis Finally Wins!

The How to Get Away with Murder star has been nominated three times over the years for her astounding acting abilities. However, she finally earned an Oscar for “Best Supporting Actress” this past Sunday, and rightfully so, for her role in the film Fences. Additionally, Davis also played the same role in the Broadway production of Fences in 2010, and she also earned a Tony Award for her performance.

Davis’ acceptance speech was a arguably one of the most touching moments of the night. While accepting her first Oscar, Davis expressed to the audience what it truly means to be an actress in her eyes and how it has changed her life for the better. She went on say, “People ask me all the time, what kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola? And I say, exhume those bodies, exhume those stories, the stories of the people who dreamed.”

Fences, which Davis explained is “about people, and words, and life, and forgiveness, and grace,” was nominated four Oscars, including “Best Picture.” Despite the film only winning one award that evening, Fences still tells an incredible and uplifting story that all should see.

3. The Performances!

This year, the annual performances of the “Best Original Song” nominees definitely stole the show and left the audience and viewers in awe.

Justin Timberlake opened the show with a performance of his hit song, “Can’t Stop the Feeling!,” from the animated film Trolls. Timberlake began the performance outside the Dolby Theatre, where the Academy Awards are held each year, and soon made his way into the auditorium, where he was greeted by the crowd standing and dancing along to the irresistible beat. Though the song did not win the Oscar, it definitely won a place in our hearts.

The song “How Far I’ll Go” from the animated film Moana was also performed by the voice of film’s title character, and Hollywood newcomer, Auli’i Cravalho. The performance was opened with a rap introduction by Hamilton’s very own, Lin Manuel Miranda, who wrote most of the song’s for the film’s soundtrack. However, Cravalho and her powerhouse vocals were clearly the star of the performance. Though she was hit with a moving flag midway through the song, the newcomer, like a pro, barely flinched. It’s safe to say that Cravalho has rightfully earned her place in Hollywood this year and that we can’t wait to see what she does next.

Singer/songwriter John Legend also took the stage to perform not one, but two songs from the multi-nominated film La La Land, which he had a supporting role in. Filling in for stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, who sang the nominated songs in the film, Legend performed both “City of Stars” and “Audition (The Fools Who Dream).” This piano-led performance also featured a number of dancers who danced around Legend, two of whom even flew in reference to a scene in the film that featured Gosling and Stone. “City of Stars” also beat out the other nominations for “Best Original Song” and took home the Oscar that evening.

Other performances during the night included “The Empty Chair,” performed by English singer/songwriter Sting, from the documentary Jim: The James Foley Story. Despite this performance simply featuring Sting and a guitar, it surely resonated with the audience. In addition, Sara Bareilles also took the stage to sing Joni Mitchell’s song “Both Sides, Now” during the Awards’ In Memoriam tribute to the Hollywood greats who passed away this year.

Each of the five performances throughout the night truly made this year’s Academy Awards a special one and a standout among past years.

4. La La Land Lights Up the Night!

Going into the night, La La Land was a major contender with an astounding 14 nominations. The only other films to receive this many nominations in Oscar history are Titanic and All About Eve. La La Land, a film that is heavily reminiscent of films of Hollywood past, centers on Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, two dreamers in Los Angeles who stop at nothing to fulfill their dreams. The critically acclaimed film took home six Oscars, including “Best Actress,” “Best Director,” “Best Cinematography,” “Best Production Design,” “Best Original Score,” and “Best Original Song.”

In Stone’s emotional acceptance speech for “Best Actress” in her role as Mia, she went on to say that despite winning the award, she still has “a lot of growing and learning and work to do” and that the Oscar “is a really beautiful symbol to continue on that journey.” Also winning for “Best Director,” Damien Chazelle became the youngest recipient of this award at the age of 32.

Though La La Land was expected by many to take home the Oscar for “Best Picture,” one flaw in the night regarding this award led to one of the most shocking moments in Academy Awards history, which leads us to the final big moment of the night….

5. La La Land (Almost) Wins “Best Picture!”

Presenting the biggest award of the night were the stars of 1967’s Bonnie and Clyde, Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty. Though this was meant to be an exciting Oscar moment, it quickly turned into a rather awkward and surprising moment that will surely go down in Academy Award history.

After naming all of the nominees for the prestigious award, Beatty opened the envelope with the name of the winner and took a long look at it with hesitation before turning to Dunaway. After taking a quick glance at the card, Dunaway announced the winner to be La La Land and the audience rejoiced. The film’s cast members and production team then took the stage to accept their award, with some even making their emotional acceptance speeches. However, chaos quickly began to ensue.

During the producers’ speeches for La La Land, there was very noticeable ongoing mayhem occurring in the background, with crew members for the Awards even walking out from backstage. It was then that Fred Berger, a producer for the film, said to the audience, “We lost, by the way” and named Moonlight as the true winner of the “Best Picture” award, even going as far as to show correct card to the camera as proof.

Among the confusion, Warren Beatty returned to the microphone and explained what had occurred. He revealed that when he and Dunaway walked onto the stage, he was handed an envelope that, unbeknownst to him, contained the winner for the already announced “Best Actress” rather than for “Best Picture.” Since the card for “Best Actress” stated that the winner was Emma Stone in La La Land, Dunaway was quick to mistakenly announce La La Land as the winner.

After a period of realization, the cast and production team for Moonlight entered the stage and the La La Land team left. PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm responsible for counting votes for the Academy Awards, later released an apology and took responsibility for the mistake, saying, “We sincerely apologize to Moonlight, La La Land, Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, and Oscar viewers for the error that was made during the award announcement for Best Picture. The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered, was immediately corrected. We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred. We appreciate the grace with which the nominees, the Academy, ABC, and Jimmy Kimmel handled the situation.”

Though Hollywood’s most glamorous night did not go off without a hitch as hoped, it was certainly still one to remember and will definitely being going down in Oscar history!