For three hours and 40 minutes, there was no story. The 89th Annual Academy Awards, for the most part, had unfolded exactly as many predicted. Yeah yeah yeah, Gary from Chicago was charming, but the tour bus groom-to-be would have gone the way of Ken Bone in 14 minutes and counting. And then came the instant-classic Best Picture goof that will haunt co-presenter Warren Beatty way more than the decision to make Rules Don’t Apply. What else got people talking? Us Weekly film critic Mara Reinstein breaks down that shocker — and the rest from the never-dull Oscars. Check out the videos!
1. Moonlight Takes Best PIcture! (No, Really. This Is Not a Joke)
For a half of a second, didn’t it just seem like a goodwill gesture? Aw, how sweet. The La La Land producers are giving their Best Picture award to Moonlight just like Adele “gave” her Album of the Year Grammy to Beyoncé! Except this was a legit once-in-89-years mistake. Moonlight, the powerful and acclaimed coming-of-age indie, really did nab the biggest award of the night. It’s a shame that in the immediate aftermath, the win will be overshadowed by the Steve Harvey–esque blunder. Hopefully in the years to come, the embarrassment will fade and only the significance of the award will remain.
2. La La Land Is Denied!
Come on, it’s not like Faye Dunaway read Arrival off the envelope. Until that moment, La La Land had won A-list trophies such as best actress, best director and best original score. It made sense for the coronation to be completed. So what happened? The La La backlash that had been stirring for weeks — “it’s too lightweight”; “Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone can’t sing”; “It’s no Singing in the Rain” – came to fruition. And, in retrospect, maybe there was something to that SAG Award Best Ensemble snub. (The cast didn’t get a nomination.) Ultimately, in this fraught political age, voters decided to give the award to a serious socially minded drama instead of a frothy musical.
3. Casey Affleck Takes Best Actor
So much for that controversy. Casey Affleck’s frontrunner status for Manchester by the Sea got knocked down a peg in recent weeks as insiders whispered that his sexual-harassment lawsuit settlements would be his downfall. It didn’t make a difference: The star who delivered the most gut-wrenching performance of the year got his trophy, beating presumed (and worthy) runner-up Denzel Washington. And Casey declared his love for big bro Ben Affleck to boot! When he presents Best Actress in 2018, that gnarly beard better be gone.
4. Lion Gets Shut Out
It was one of the most beloved dramas of the entire season. Grown men wept at the closing scene. And it was backed by the venerable Weinstein Company. And yet Lion, the amazing true story about a boy longing to find his biological family, did not win a single award all evening. The competition in the top categories was just too steep. At least precious li’l star Sunny Pawar got ample screen time and candy. Take the consolation prize.
5. Suicide Squad Is an Oscar Winner!
Final tally: Suicide Squad 1, Lion 0. It also has more Oscars than — ready? — Shawshank Redemption, Citizen Kane, The Color Purple, Boogie Nights and Rear Window combined. The much-maligned comic book film may have lacked, um, any semblance of a plot, but it did feature outstanding makeup. In a garish Jared Leto-is-a-freaky-Joker kind of way. And for that, the pic struck gold. Still, anyone who thinks that Suicide Squad truly is worthy of being labeled an Oscar-winning movie is living in la la land.
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