‘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.

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