The 89th annual Oscars in review

By Andrew Tyrrell, Managing Editor

The Oscars. An event we all sit down and watch for a grueling five hours just to find out which actors and actresses won awards for movies we didn’t see or couldn’t understand.

I’m going to get straight into it and skip the pleasantries.

Actor in a Supporting Role

It seems that every year the Best Supporting Actor category is stacked with talent. This year was no different.

This year the nominees were Mahershala Ali for Moonlight, Jeff Bridges for Hell or High Water, Lucas Hedges for Manchester by the Sea, Dev Patel for Lion, and Michael Shannon for Nocturnal Animals.

Who Won: Mahershala Ali won for his work on Moonlight. Ali is the first Muslim to win an Academy Award and has been in the industry for a few decades.

He is perhaps most famous for portraying Remy Denton on House of Cards on Netflix.

Who Should Have Won: Without a doubt it should have been Ali. He received universal acclaim for his role as Juan in Moonlight.

However, I wouldn’t’ve had any issue with Lucas Hedges winning. The young man has an exceptionally bright future ahead of him.

Actress in a Supporting Role

Much like the Best Supporting Actor category, the Best Supporting Actress category is also a tough choice.

This year’s category had only one actress who had never before received a nomination: Naomie Harris, who received her first nomination for her work on Moonlight.

Her fellow nominees were Viola Davis for Fences, Nicole Kidman for Lion, Octavia Spencer for Hidden Figures, and Michelle Williams for Manchester by the Sea.

Who Won: Viola Davis took home her first Oscar for Fences. She also became the first African-American woman to complete the so-called Triple Crown of Acting, having won an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Tony, the latter of which she won for the stage version of Fences.

Who Should Have Won: Naomie Harris definitely has an argument here but this was Davis’s time. No one was more deserving than her. This was one of the few awards that I had absolutely no problem with.

Best Actor

This award ended up being a tad controversial, and I’ll explain why. The Best Actor category featured some old talent as well as a new face in the form of Andrew Garfield.

Two of these men stood above the rest, but one of them was the most deserving. The nominees were Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea, Viggo Mortensen for Captain Fantastic, Denzel Washington for Fences, Andrew Garfield for Hacksaw Ridge, and Ryan Gosling for La La Land.

Who Won: For his role of Lee Chandler in Manchester by the Sea, Casey Affleck took home the award. His winning the award turned out to be controversial due to a sexual assault scandal from a few years ago.

Who Should Have Won: Denzel Washington is one of the greatest actors in history, and I think anyone would be hard pressed to find an argument against that. Ryan Gosling is one of the great young talents of Hollywood who is slowly but surely starting to get into the category of those owed an Oscar.

Andrew Garfield has a very bright future after a year in which he got to work with Mel Gibson, and Viggo Mortensen is perhaps one of the most underrated actors in the industry who has long past earned the recognition of an Oscar.

But Casey Affleck was the best actor this year. Yes, there is the sexual assault scandal, yes he’s an awful person. But that doesn’t diminish his ability as an artist.

Affleck delivered a clinic in subtlety in Manchester by the Sea. Overt emotion is easy, but to be subtle, to be so deliberate and to convey emotion and meaning with every action is perhaps the most difficult thing to do as an actor.

He did it with such skill that I am still in awe months after seeing the film. The best actor won the award this year, though Denzel certainly has a solid argument.

Best Actress

It’s a shame that only one of these exceptionally talented women could win this award, but that is the nature of awards.

Natalie Portman was nominated for her work in Jackie, and was accompanied in the category by Isabelle Hupert for Isabelle, Emma Stone for La La Land, Ruth Negga for Loving, and the goddess herself, Meryl Streep for Florence Foster Jenkins.

Who Won: Emma Stone.

Who Should Have Won: If you follow me on Twitter you will see that I love Emma Stone, and I’m happy that she won this award…but really it belonged to Portman or Hupert.

I think Stone, who certainly did an incredible job, won over Portman because she’s already won and Hupert was in a foreign language film, and the Academy always has some reluctance to hand out an award for those.

Oh, and Amy Adams flat out got snubbed. They should give her an Oscar.

Best Picture

This got screwed up horribly.

The short version is this: Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were chosen to announce who won Best Picture on the 50th anniversary of Bonnie and Clyde.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, who handle the vote counting and print the envelopes, had some sort of mix up and a secondary Best Actress card was given to Beatty.

When Beatty opened the card he showed a great amount of confusion, with Dunaway ultimately reading off La La Land. The problem is that Moonlight actually won best picture.

The other nominees in the category were Arrival, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures, Lion, and Manchester by the Sea.

I have no disagreement whatsoever with Moonlight taking home Best Picture, since it was indeed the best film. I also think it was wonderful for once that the Academy didn’t take the bait.

La La Land is all about Hollywood, and it’s exactly the kind of film that would normally win, but this turned out to be an abnormal year for the Academy.

I’d like to recommend both of the winning documentaries this year, O.J.: Made in America, which was originally aired on ESPN, and explores the intersections of race and celebrity in America by examining the OJ Simpson trial.

The White Helmets is also worth a watch to gain some insight into the brave souls who are trying to save others during the ongoing conflict in Syria.

All in all, the 89th Academy Awards was a ceremony to remember. Many deserving men and women took home awards for creating beautiful works of art, Kimmel did a serviceable job hosting, and we had the greatest snafu in the history of the ceremony, which made the several hours long event worth watching.

Moonlight is perhaps most deserving of all for its win, and Damien Chazelle was the only director that mattered, which is why I didn’t even bother to cover that category.

For once, the Academy didn’t give people a whole lot to complain about. For once they actually got it all pretty much right.

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