‘Moonight’ actor wins
Mahershala Ali is named best suporting actor; Viola Davis wins best supporting actress for ‘Fences’
The 89th Academy Awards kicked off with Justin Timberlake dancing down the Dolby Theatre aisles, Jimmy Kimmel mocking Matt Damon and a standing ovation for the “highly overrated” Meryl Streep.
Timberlake’s ebullient song - “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” from the animated film “Trolls” - was an early cue that the Oscars would steer toward festiveness instead of heavy-handed politics. Protests, boycotts and rallies have swirled ahead of Sunday night’s Oscars. But host Kimmel, in his opening monologue, quickly acknowledged that he “was not that guy” to heal a divided America.
Kimmel instead struck an irreverent but sarcastic tone, singling out Streep, whom President Donald Trump derided as “overrated” after her fiery Golden Globes speech last month. Listing some of her credits, Kimmel said Streep has “phoned it in for over 50 films.” He led a standing ovation for the “overrated” actress before adding a pointed punchline: “Nice dress, by the way,” he said. “Is that an Ivanka?”
The host then predicted Trump was sure to tweet about the night’s awards at 5 a.m. “during his bowl movements.”
As expected, the night’s first winner was Mahershala Ali for best supporting actor. The “Moonlight” co-star glowed on the stage as he informed that crowd that he and his wife, Amatus Sami-Karim, welcomed a daughter four days earlier. He thanked his wife for “being such a soldier through the process.”
Viola Davis won the supporting actress Academy Award for her role in “Fences.”
Davis won for her portrayal of a mother determined to hold her family together despite the rages of her husband, who is played by best actor nominee Denzel Washington.
The Oscar win comes in a role that Davis previously won
a Tony Award for when she starred opposite Washington in a Broadway revival of “Fences.” The film is the first big-screen adaptation of an August Wilson play.
Davis said in her acceptance speech, “Here’s to August Wilson
who exhumed and exalted the ordinary people.” She also praised Washington and her parents, breaking down in tears.
Most expect another day of sun for Damien Chazelle’s celebrated musical “La La Land,” up for a record-tying 14 nominations. But its night started off with an upset, losing out on costume design to the Harry Potter spinoff “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”
Ezra Edelman’s “O.J.: Made in America” took best documentary, making it - at 467 minutes - the longest Oscar winner ever, beating out the 1969 Best Foreign Language Film winner “War and Peace” (431 minutes). Edelman’s documentary, while it received an Oscar-qualifying theatrical release, was seen by most on ESPN as a serial, prompting some to claim its place was at the Emmys, not the Oscars.
Edelman dedicated the award to the victims of the famous crime, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
“This is also for other victims, victims of police violence, police brutality,” Edelman said. “This is their story as it is Ron and Nicole’s.”
The “OscarsSoWhite” crisis of the last two years was largely quelled this season by a richly diverse slate of nominees, thanks to films like “Moonlight,” ”Fences“and ”Hidden Figures.“A record six black actors are nominated. For the first time ever, a person of colour is nominated in each acting category. And four of the five best documentary nominees were also directed by black filmmakers.
“Remember last year when it was the Oscars that were racist?” joked Kimmel in the opening.
The nominees follow the efforts by Academy of Motions Pictures Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs to diversify the membership of the largely white, older and male film academy. In June, the academy added 683 new members: 46 per cent of them were female; 41-per cent were nonwhite; and they pulled from 59 countries.
Mahershala Ali accepts the award for best actor in a supporting role for “Moonlight” at the Oscars on Sunday at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
Host Jimmy Kimmel speaks at the Oscars on Sunday at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.