Wow. Did not see that coming. In fact, thanks to my DVR running out of space two minutes into La La Land’s acceptance speech for their well-deserved best picture win, I had eight glorious hours thinking my favorite movie in a long time was rightly declared the premier film of the year.
The next morning, wanting to soak in the entirety of the ebullient victory, my baby daughter on my lap, I looked on first with utter confusion, then shock and then, well, EARMUFFS! at the spectacle playing out before both of our unbelieving eyes. Look: I loved Moonlight. It was a beautiful, spare, important film. But La La Land was, well, perfect. And transcendent. I very much doubt there will ever be a movie quite like it again.
But kudos to the grace of everyone on stage—especially the La La Land producers—to make a horrible situation somewhat tenable.
All of that unfortunately overshadowed what was an unpredictable and very rewarding evening. Clearly the long overdue diversification of Academy voters is already paying immediate dividends.
Before we delve any further into the night that was, here is a breakdown of my selections and the evening’s winners in alphabetical order:
|Category||Predicted Winner||Actual Winner|
|Animated Feature Film||Zootopia||Zootopia|
|Animated Short Film||Piper||Piper|
|Best Picture||La La Land||Moonlight|
|Cinematography||La La Land||La La Land|
|Costume Design||La La Land||Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them|
|Directing||Damian Chazelle, La La Land||Damian Chazelle, La La Land|
|Documentary Feature||O.J.: Made in America||O.J.: Made in America|
|Documentary Short Subject||The White Helmets||The White Helmets|
|Film Editing||La La Land||Hacksaw Ridge|
|Foreign Language Film||The Salesman (Iran)||The Salesman (Iran)|
|Lead Actor||Denzel Washington, Fences||Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea|
|Lead Actress||Emma Stone, La La Land||Emma Stone, La La Land|
|Live-Action Short Film||Ennemis Intérieurs||Sing|
|Makeup and Hairstyling||Star Trek: Beyond||Suicide Squad|
|Original Score||La La Land||La La Land|
|Original Screenplay||Manchester by the Sea||Manchester by the Sea|
|Original Song||‘City of Stars’, La La Land||‘City of Stars’, La La Land|
|Production Design||La La Land||La La Land|
|Sound Editing||Hacksaw Ridge||Arrival|
|Sound Mixing||La La Land||Hacksaw Ridge|
|Supporting Actor||Mahershala Ali, Moonlight||Mahershala Ali, Moonlight|
|Supporting Actress||Viola Davis, Fences||Viola Davis, Fences|
|Visual Effects||The Jungle Book||The Jungle Book|
As you can see above up until both best picture announcements, I was most upset about Casey Affleck winning lead actor for Manchester by the Sea over the incredible Denzel Washington in Fences. Affleck was very good with his grieving minimalism. Washington, however, made August Wilson’s words sing. He was masterful.
I also missed on a surprising six other relatively minor awards: editing, live-action short film, makeup, the always confusing sound mixing and editing, not to mention my constant bugaboo: the dreaded costume design!
For comparison purposes to this year’s 16 of 24 correct picks, I only got 15 right two years ago, before rebounding for 18 of 24 last Oscars. Of course my finest moment came in 2014 when I accurately predicted a ridiculous 23 of 24 Academy Award winners, missing only . . . costume design.
More high—and low—lights from an Oscars that will never be forgotten:
Best Speech: Viola Davis. Is there anything she can’t do?
Worst Speech: Casey Affleck. Mumble, mumble, mumble. Really?! But good on you Brie Larson!
Best (electric) Moment: Could it be anything else? The so-called #EnvelopeGate will never be forgotten in the Academy annals.
Best (awkward) Moment: Ibid.
Biggest Upset: Hmm let me think . . . um . . . oh, yeah . . . err . . . um . . . right . . . best picture!
Biggest Disappointment: Two words: Denzel Washington!
Worst Dressed: Dakota Johnson