Our Super Timely Oscars Recap

Though we’re hella late to discuss Hollywood’s biggest night, like Frances McDormand, we’ve got some things to say. Like all Academy Awards ceremonies, it had its highs and lows—very low lows. Let’s break it down:

Highs:

So Shiny

It’s impossible to not complain about the Oscars, but if there is one thing that keeps me coming back to the ceremony every year it is the glamour. The Oscars were all about the sparkle, with the stage adorned in 45 million shimmering Swarovski crystals.

Some of the best gowns of the night also delivered the dazzle. Lupita Nyong’o looked amaze, as usual, in a black and gold custom Atelier Versace gown. Gal Gadot continues to be a gorgeous Amazon in her Givenchy silver gown and diamonds. Overall, the night was a fantastic display of colossal wealth that even the cast of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills would envy, and of course, I was living for it.

Precious Men

In a year all about the terrible men who make our favorite movies, this awards season has been a great reminder that some men are just the best. Timothée Chalamet might not have won best actor, but he was just the happiest guy, smiling the entire night—but wouldn’t we all be smiling if we kissed Armie Hammer and got to see those balls dangling out of his booty shorts? Speaking of Armie Hammer, he was also there with a hot dog gun and still looking beautiful even next to Gal Gadot—a feat even Chris Pine couldn’t achieve. Staying within the Call Me By Your Name family, the film deservedly won best adapted screenplay, and screenwriter James Ivory, also enthralled with that Chalamet charm, wore a shirt with Chalamet’s face on it to accept his award. Everyone is Team Timothée:

Another precious man was Kumail Nanjani, nominated for writing The Big Sick. This is one of the few men who could possibly manage to successfully host an awards show. With every awards show appearance, he delivers solid jokes while making poignant statements about representation and immigration. Stephanie would slap me if I went without mentioning Mark Hammil. Sadly, he read from lame cue cards while presenting with other members of the Star Wars crew. Doesn’t the Oscars know that this man is funniest when speaking from the heart?

But the most precious man of all was the most lauded man of the night: Guillermo del Toro. Nobody’s love is purer than the love he has for monsters and movies and fairy tales. He also gave a moving speech about the global nature of filmmaking and the importance of continuing to champion our shared humanity and knock down borders.

Men Dressed to Impress

It’s about time men stepped up their red carpet game. Sure, there were still the boring classic black tuxes, but some guys mixed it up to my immense satisfaction. The screenwriter wasn’t the only well-dressed member of the Call Me By Your Name crew; Chalamet was looking like a prom prince in that white tux, and Hammer was sultry in red. The men from The Shape of Water wore the same colorful, marine-inspired pocket square (except for Alexandre Desplat, that party pooper). But the man who really shined was the one with the embellishments on his Givenchy jacket—King of Wakanda himself, Chadwick Boseman. Were those beads and sequins made from vibranium?

 

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Representation

Surprisingly, sexual assault wasn’t touched on too much at the ceremony, beyond a few jokes from Kimmel and comments on the need for change from a few of Weinstein’s accusers. The greatest political triumphs came courtesy of Frances McDormand and some groundbreaking awards and nominations. McDormand gave by far the most memorable speech, with her powerful recognition of women and advocation for greater representation. But she didn’t just deliver general platitudes about the importance of equality and whatnot; she advocated for specific action: the creation of inclusion riders and a call for executives to contact the talented women of the industry for their pitches.

Not to be a downer, but in the interest of encouraging more inclusive language, I have to call out McDormand’s request for all nominated “females” to stand. By using the word “females,” she left out non-female transwomen and gender queer individuals. This brings me to one of the more exciting appearances of the night: Daniela Vega. When introducing Sufjan Stevens, Vega became the first openly trans presenter in Oscars history. Even more exciting, A Fantastic Woman, the movie in which she stars, became the first Chilean film to win an Academy Award.

 

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Vega twirling on her haters (Image credit). 

 

Another high mark for representation was Jordan Peele’s win for best original screenplay. This was already a historical night for Peele, who was the first black man to have nominations for best original screenplay, best director and best picture in one night. Considering the remarkable impact Get Out has had on pop culture and the originality and smart racial commentary of his story, this was a deserved win, and nobody was more excited than Keegan Michael Key and Colin Hanks.

 

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Two final mentions: Rachel Morrison became the first woman nominated for best cinematography for her work for Mudbound. She lost to Roger Deakins (Blade Runner 2049), a cinematography legend with fourteen previous nominations under his belt and no wins—about time! Coco had a great night, winning for best animated feature. Though not a surprising win, the success that this movie about Mexican culture has had both commercially—especially in Mexico—and in the awards circuit is heartwarming and encouraging for the future of Latin representation. Of course the Oscars is still pretty damn white and dominated by cis-males, but this year saw a little progress.

Three Billboards Didn’t Win

In an awards season focused on uniting Hollywood to combat rampant sexual misconduct, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri would’ve served as the most divisive film of this year to win the best picture prize. I still stand by this film, which I think advocates  for compassion to a radical extreme. Sometimes taking an extreme stance is an effective method for exploring tough topics in new ways. For me, the redemption arc of Sam Rockwell’s character and the ruthlessness of Frances McDormand’s character were among many provocative and complex elements of a moving, though certainly problematic, film.

Though I defend its controversial approach to justice, I understand why audiences would rather see Sam Rockwell’s violent, racist character behind bars than redeeming himself and receiving undeserved kindness. There was also a lot to be desired from the film’s black characters, who served as plot or thematic devices more than fully fleshed out roles. Fortunately, a film that fell short in its representation of race lost out to a less divisive film that was also about radical compassion—so radical that it even argues in favor of love between a woman and a fish monster.

 

 

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Nailed it, Shepherd. (Image credit)

 

Lows:

3 Hours and 50 Minutes?!!

So long. So many montages. So many bad jokes and gags. I would rather watch Silence again. Okay, it wasn’t that boring, but still, 3 hours and 50 minutes to hand out awards?!!

Déjà vu

Remember when Jimmy Kimmel hosted the Oscars in 2017? Remember how people didn’t like it? Doesn’t it make sense to bring him back to deliver more bad jokes?

Remember how Jimmy Kimmel, just a year ago, brought a bunch of randos into the awards show, introduced them to celebrities, and insulted their names? Remember how everyone thought that was stupid? Wasn’t it a great idea to include a similar gag by bringing an odd assortment of celebrities into a theater of randos to shoot hot dogs at them?

Remember when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway fucked up the announcement for Best Picture by saying the wrong movie? Didn’t you enjoy seeing them return to present the award? Wasn’t that a totally not desperate plea for attention?

Remember when Common was one of the winners for Best Original Song for Selma? Okay, it was actually cool when Common and John Legend performed and won for Selma. But it was less cool when Common and Andra Day performed a less awesome variation of that song with activists just standing in the background. Shouldn’t they at least hold signs advocating their work, or maybe some of them could offer a statement about their beliefs—I don’t know, can’t we learn who they are?

Still Icky

In the midst of a movement focused on rooting out sexual assault perpetrators, Kobe Bryant’s win for best animated short film was . . . icky. In another icky moment, Gary Oldman won for best actor. Unlike Kobe Bryant, whose sexual assault case received intense media attention before its settlement in 2003, Oldman’s domestic assault allegations from 2001 haven’t been wide public knowledge.

I’m not criticizing the Oscars for awarding them but acknowledging that the Me Too movement has put violence and abuse against women at the forefront, and we are still determining what to do about this epidemic. What do we do about people with assault allegations from outside of the entertainment industry that were settled well over a decade ago? A;SLDKFJAD;LJFLAJFKDSAFLKJ. Yeah, that’s as good as I have for an answer right now.

So Damn Predictable

I was holding out just a little bit of hope that Willem Dafoe and Daniel Day-Lewis would snatch the male acting awards, but alas, all the acting categories played exactly as expected. I was moved by Sam Rockwell’s performance in Three Billboards, but that film received more than enough recognition this awards season. The Florida Project, on the other hand, was overlooked, especially at the Oscars where it earned only a best supporting actor nomination for Dafoe. It would’ve been nice for the film to get something, and also for a veteran actor to finally earn the movie industry’s most coveted trophy.

But for the lead actor category, I was not rooting for another veteran actor who has yet to win an Oscar—I was rooting for the guy who already has three. Sure, Gary Oldman is a fine actor, but from what I’ve heard about that Winston Churchill movie—shit, I don’t even know what the name is, and I don’t care—this is the most typical, stiff biopic performance. The kind of performance that can be credited more to makeup and prosthetics than to an actor’s talent. And, as already mentioned, there’s a bit of an ick-factor in giving the award to Oldman.

Day-Lewis gave one of my favorite performances of the year as a temperamental, megalomaniacal dress designer. Considering that this is said to be his last film, it would’ve been fitting to cap off a legendary career with a fourth Oscar win for a marvelous performance. Plus, he helped director Paul Thomas-Anderson name his character Woodcock. That alone deserves an award.

The ladies were also predictable, but who could have a problem with Frances McDormand winning for best actress? She was a tour-de-force on the screen and off the screen in her acceptance speech. It would’ve been exciting for Laurie Metcalf to win for best supporting actress for her nuanced performance in Lady Bird, but I can’t be mad at the Oscars for going with Allison Janney and her pet bird.

Ansel Elgort Was Called a Musician

I really don’t have anything to add her. When presenting with Elgort for sound editing and mixing, Eiza Gonzalez stated unironically that he was just as brilliant of a singer as he was an actor. I really hope somebody pulled her aside after she walked off stage and showed her this:

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