The Oscars 2017 Final Word

Not a long thing but just wanted to sum up my thoughts on the near-four extravaganza of last evening!

So here goes.

  • Moonlight probably deserved to edge ‘Best Picture’ in the end, for the political statement La La Land was totally lacking. I thought the latter would probably sneak it right up until the first award of the night was handed out, but as soon as Mahershali Ali took ‘Supporting Actor’ from under the nose of BAFTA-winner Dav Patel for his (superior, and more significant) work in Lion, that Moonlight would triumph felt slightly inevitable. There could have been – probably were – multiple factors in play here, including that Mahershali had a significant part in another ‘Best Picture’ nominee alongside Moonlight, but it seems unlikely he’d have snuck ‘Supporting Actor’ if The Academy hadn’t loved Moonlight to the extent necessary for it to win the big one.
  • Speaking of Lion, what a horrid snub! To go along with Hidden Figures, easily the travesty of the night. Jackie and Florence Foster Jenkins merited acknowledgement too, although their lack of success was more predictable for their relative lack of nominations. Hell or High Water was the other of the nine ‘Best Picture’ nominees to walk away with not even a minor technical category, although if you ask me that didn’t even deserve to be nominated for ‘Best Picture’, so it’s less relevant. Dev Patel wasn’t even nominated for Slumdog, though, so maybe when he pulls out his next major role in another eight years he’ll go the whole hog and manage to be nominated and win.
  • I’m thrilled The Jungle Book got a little something – in a weaker year it would have almost certainly have been nominated for ‘Best Picture’, so impressive were its visuals.
  • City of Stars winning ‘Original Song’ seemed totally nailed-on after John Legend’s sterling mash-up of the two La La Land songs which were nominated, although I still maintain both should have been overlooked in favour of any two from Another Day of Sun, Someone In The Crowd and Start A Fire. At least we can be glad Sting’s entry didn’t win – if not for the quote flashed up on screen at the end, I doubt anyone would have even noticed his dull performance.
  • I think they got the number of successes for La La Land about right in the end: with the possible exception of ‘Director’,  it merited the statuettes it got, and deserved to miss out in the seven categories it was beaten in. There were many things odd about Sky’s UK coverage this year – Rachel Riley’s place on the pundits sofa was unexplained and awkward – but the worst bit was the unanimous agreement La La Land would walk away with ‘Film Editing’, only for it to be roundly beaten by Hackshaw Ridge. That the best ‘clip of editing’ the production team could come up with for La La Land in that category’s ‘nominations reel’ was a simple kiss in a cinema screen more or less summed it up.
  • Regarding the ceremony as a whole, Jimmy Kimmel was fantastic – the best since Ellen without a shadow of a doubt – but not everything worked.. that whole segment with the ordinary members of the public being paraded in front of an entire theatre of Hollywood’s finest was awkward in every imaginable way – that the majority of the ‘plebs’ were too busy filming their experience through Snapchat to remember to look shocked was just horrible to witness, although it would’ve been symbolically apt if La La Land, with its easy to watch without really concentrating nature, had triumphed over one of its more thought-provoking and substantial rivals in the big one. Fair play to Denzel Washington and Jennifer Aniston for making the best of it, though.
  • What a speech by Viola Davis! Easily the most beautiful of what turned out to be a rather tame night politically, at least compared to expectations, although those calling for an end to the Syrian War and reading out a message from Iranian director Asghar Farhadi in his Trump-enforced absence also moved.
  • The actual editing of the ceremony wasn’t quite all there this time, sadly. Not only were some of the clips in the ‘nominations reel’ odd – as mentioned above, La La Land‘s ‘editing’ clip showed precisely no editing precision whatsoever, and Hackshaw Ridge had one clip which appeared to consist of little more than a shot of an arm – but you could’ve played a drinking game around spotting snobby uninterested faces every time Kimmel lowered his ‘treats’ into the stalls.
  • Moment of the night – speeches etc aside – has to go to little Sunny Pawar’s Lion King skit with Kimmel. Just ADORABLE.
  • And finally..
  • Can we have those wonderful magically rising and disappearing microphone stands in every TV show? I’ve managed to never notice them before but they’re great fun.



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