A thoroughly refreshing 89th Academy Awards telecast

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You know what was refreshing for a change of pace? The 89th Annual Academy Awards broadcast Sunday evening. And especially these things:

Moonlighting’s Mahershala Ali was refreshing. In an honest, emotional and tear-filled acceptance speech after winning the award for Actor in a Supporting Role, Ali began the broadcast by baring his soul. And damn if it wasn’t affecting.

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Outside of host Jimmy Kimmel’s several mentions, there wasn’t a single instance of political commentary during the entire show from any of the Oscar recipients. Oh … there was a hint of such during Barry Jenkin’s acceptance speech for his win (along with Tarell Alvin McCraney) for Writing for an Adapted Screenplay for Moonlight (“…. for the next four years we will not leave you alone, we will not forget you …” referencing folks in industry and the general public at large) but it was just a quick sidestep and you missed it if you weren’t paying attention when he said it. Imagine that: Zero political diatribes of any kind. They were heavily anticipated during the broadcast but not a one ever raised its ugly head.

Candy falling from the ceiling on host Jimmy Kimmel’s cue was refreshing. As well it was delightful to see the audience with mouths agape munching Red Vines awkwardly. You don’t see that every day on a nationally telecast awards show.

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Casey Affleck’s off-the-cuff acknowledgments for his Oscar win as Best Actor in a Leading Role. It was unrehearsed, slightly unsettling and completely refreshing to see an actor so stunned and barely able to put a few sentences together while framed in disheveled hair and scraggly beard.

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That tour bus staged to deposit tourists right smack dab in the middle of the Oscar telecast, stunned faces and all, was a welcome grin from ear to ear. Two of the participants in particular – Gary and his fiancée Vicky – were blissfully gobsmacked as they came face to face with the likes of Nicole Kidman, Ryan Gosling and Denzel Washington. It was a joy to behold.

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Sting’s breathy and too-close-to-the-microphone performance of the nominated “The Empty Chair” from Jim: The James Foley Story, while flawed, was completely refreshing. There may have been a few warts during its execution but they were superseded by the underlying beauty of the composition. Speaking of nominated songs, it was also refreshing (to me, at any rate) to substantiate the plainness and “just there” quality of La La Land’s “City Of Stars” as realized by John Legend’s undertaking. I can’t recall a more empty, lifeless offering performed on The Oscars. Understand: I harbor no ill will to the number, it’s just that it’s freaking boring as all get out.

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Finally, there was the show-ending two-fer we were refreshingly graced with. First, prior to the “winning reveal” by Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty (proof Bonnie and Clyde are still up to no good), Beatty was stumblingly stunted in his delivery of the night’s final award. And with good reason as he later explained when he read the contents of the envelope. Why was Emma Stone’s name on the card for Best Picture?

And then? The most stunning and exhilarating and unique moment – the graciousness of La La Land’s producer Jordan Horowitz as he explained the mistake and conceded the win to Moonlight, the actual winner of the Best Picture category. “I’m going to be really thrilled to hand this to my friends from Moonlight” he stated authoritatively. He’s a producer after all. It’s his job to pull things together, even in light of the huge bungle played out before the audience at hand and around the world.

Can we have more refreshing events such as these throughout the rest of this year, please and thank you?

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The 89th Annual Academy Awards Complete List of Winners

BEST PICTURE

  • Moonlight
  • Moonlight [Blu-ray]

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ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

  • Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
  • Manchester By The Sea

    Price: $12.96

    2.8 out of 5 stars (2480 customer reviews)

    30 used & new available from $5.50

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

DIRECTING

  • Damien Chazelle, La La Land

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

  • Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

  • Zootopia
  • Zootopia

    Price: $19.09

    4.7 out of 5 stars (8382 customer reviews)

    89 used & new available from $8.79

CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • La La Land

COSTUME DESIGN

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

  • O.J.: Made in America
  • O.J.: Made in America

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DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

  • The White Helmets

FILM EDITING

  • Hacksaw Ridge

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

  • The Salesman

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

ORIGINAL SCORE

ORIGINAL SONG

PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • La La Land

ANIMATED SHORT FILM

  • Piper

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM

  • Sing

SOUND EDITING

  • Sylvain Bellemare, Arrival

SOUND MIXING

  • Hacksaw Ridge

VISUAL EFFECTS

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • Moonlight

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • Manchester by the Sea

 
What did you think of this years awards? Tell us in the comments below. We want to hear from you!

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