After hosting for the first time last year, Jimmy Kimmel returned to host the 90th Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, this Sunday night. There were touching speeches, actors surprising regular Los Angeles residents (a frequent activity in the last couple of shows) and lots of jokes about last year’s mistake in reporting best picture. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were back again to redeem themselves and announce best picture, and this time, they were flawless.
Between Lady Bird, Get Out, The Post, Phantom Thread, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri and I, Tonya, this year’s theaters saw incredible performances and a diverse range of stories.
At the start of the evening, the red carpet was “unusually cheery, optimistic and impassioned,” according to Vogue Magazine. Emily Blunt wore an airy light blue, high-collar gown, Sally Hawkins, star of The Shape of Water, wore a dazzling long sleeve Armani Privé gown and Emma Stone paired a Louis Vuitton bright red satin blazer and bright pink tie waistband with black satin dress pants and black heels.
In a 1940s style newsreel, Kimmel opened and introduced the major stars of the night with witty commentary. When introducing Lupita Nyong'o, he said, “She was born in Mexico and raised in Kenya, let the tweet storm from the president’s toilet begin.”
Kimmel’s opening monologue was rooted in joking about last year’s mistake. He warned winners to wait a moment to get up for their awards and shared the “untold story” of how the accountants tallying votes wanted to be funny by giving the wrong best picture envelope. He also announced that this year an award would be given out to whoever gave the shortest speech. Like in Jeopardy, he presented the prize – a jet ski – with actress Helen Mirren elegantly standing next to it in her sparkling gown. Mark Bridges, the winner for costume design for Phantom Thread, went home with the jet ski.
Besides the jet ski, the other most interesting award of the night was the Oscar that went to former basketball star Kobe Bryant for his animated short film Dear Basketball. Since when did retired Lakers start winning Academy Awards? Northwestern’s Charlie Hall better be next.
On a more serious note, Sam Rockwell won best supporting actor for his performance as a drunk, racist officer in Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri and Allison Janney won for her role as Tonya Harding’s mentally and physically abusive mother in I, Tonya.
In terms of its visual content, Blade Runner 2024, Ryan Gosling’s major film this year, won for cinematography and visual effects. After 14 nominations, this was renowned cinematographer Roger Deakins’ first win. If you have not seen it or the original Blade Runner, which features the handsome Harrison Ford, add it to your bucket list of must-see neo-noir sci-fi thrillers.
As always, the Disney film up for best animation won, this year it being Coco. Director Lee Unkrich gave a beautiful speech about the importance of children seeing characters that look and live like them on the screen. He also thanked Mexico and its culture for providing the context for Coco.
For a mid-show break, Kimmell selected stars from the crowd to visit moviegoers across the street seeing a preview of a A Wrinkle in Time. Stars such as Margot Robbie, Ansel Elgort, Lin Manuel Miranda and Guillermo del Toro showed up to the theater with snacks and hotdog canons for the audience.
Entering the movie theatre, Kimmel commented on the smell of weed and joked that it was a good thing they came loaded with snacks. Kimmel and the other stars thanked the audience for being dedicated moviegoers.
For those of you that thought you did not see many of this year’s nominated movies, think again. The box office hit Get Out, which virtually everyone has seen by now (unless you’re living under a rock), won best original screenplay. Jordan Peele became the first black screenwriter to win the award – a major step for minority representation and celebration in the film industry.
Call Me by Your Name, an intimate story about a young boy discovering love and his sexuality in his summer home in Italy, won best adapted screenplay. This story is highly emotional and is another important and groundbreaking film from this year to see. It also stars the adorable 22-year-old Timothée Chalamet.
Gary Oldman won best actor for Darkest Hour and Frances McDormand won best actress for Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. Besides McDormand’s awkward laugh throughout her speech, she made a beautiful dedication to all the women at the Oscars, asking everyone who participated in the production of this year’s nominations to stand. As a declared feminist, her speech was unequivocally female-positive.
Lastly, but certainly not least, the best production, original score, best director and best picture went to The Shape of Water, a stunning love story between a mute woman and a secret sea creature during the Cold War. The music, set designs, storyline and performances put it in a league of cinematic visual masterpieces. Mexican director Guillermo del Toro, known for his dark fantasy dramas, dedicated his award to the youth from every country who have dreams and are showing the world how things should be done.