Oscars 2018: According to script
As was expected, the 90th Academy Awards was a politically charged event. Almost every speech given ended with a weighty statement—in support of greater representation of all genders and races, in opposition to violence and bigotry. In the year of #MeToo, host Jimmy Kimmel did the only sensible thing he could: mention Harvey Weinstein prominently and clearly in his opening monologue. “What happened with Harvey, and what’s happening all over, was long overdue,” he said. “We can’t let bad behaviour slide anymore. The world is watching us.”
Though it wasn’t as scathing as the Chris Rock-hosted Oscars two years ago (the year of #OscarsSoWhite), this was an evening where Hollywood showed that it was, at least on the outside, ready for change. Three of Weinstein’s accusers, Ashley Judd, Annabella Sciorra and Salma Hayek, took to the stage to present a montage of “trailblazers” that included Kumail Nanjiani and Daniela Vega. “So we salute those unstoppable spirits who kicked ass and broke through the biased perceptions against their gender, their race and ethnicity to tell their stories,” Hayek said before it begun.
In a just universe, A Fantastic Woman would also have won Vega, a rare trans actress playing a trans character, an Oscar, or at least a nomination. Yet, the fact that this excellent but self-contained Chilean film won over The Square and On Body and Soul in the foreign film category was a rare surprise on a largely predictable night.
The two top awards went the way of The Shape of Water: Best Picture and Best Director for Mexico’s Guillermo Del Toro, who spoke movingly about being an immigrant and how cinema can help cut through divisions (“The best thing our industry does is to help erase the lines in the sand when the world tries to make them deeper”). Frances McDormand and Gary Oldman, to no one’s surprise, won Best Actor and Actress for their roles in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Darkest Hour, respectively. Sam Rockwell also won for Three Billboards (Best Supporting Actor), while Allison Janney brought down the house by winning Best Supporting Actress for I, Tonya and declaring on stage, “I did it all by myself!”
There were a few unexpected results. Jonny Greenwood might count himself unlucky to lose out on a Best Score Oscar for Phantom Thread (he lost to Alexandre Desplat for The Shape of Water). And possibly the best surprise of the evening was Jordan Peele winning Best Original Screenplay for Get Out—a brilliantly conceived script, but nevertheless a genre film, a category that the Academy doesn’t usually reward. Peele got a standing ovation, as did Best Adapted Screenplay winner James Ivory, 89, for Call Me By Your Name. In his acceptance speech, Ivory mentioned his long-time collaborators, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and Ismail Merchant.
In a ceremony that suffered from some weak writing and for erring on the safe side, Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph provided some much-needed sass. On stage to present the awards for Best Documentary Short Subject and Best Live Action Short Film, they reminded the audience of #OscarsSoWhite, then told them not to worry that this year’s event was turning out to be too black. Haddish topped that by angling for Meryl Streep to play her mother in a sequel to Girl’s Trip—one of the many inevitable callouts to Streep that evening. By the time they were done, there were demands being made on Twitter for the duo to host the Oscars next year. That would be a welcome move. The Oscars got woke this year, but a little rude energy wouldn’t be out of order.
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