A night for the movies
Jimmy Kimmel opens Oscars with standing O for Streep
LOS ANGELES — 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.”
The best supporting actress Oscar went to Viola Davis for her role in “Fences,” which she originated on Broadway seven years ago for which she won a Tony Award.
Montreal’s Sylvain Bellemare won the best sound editing Oscar for “Arrival.” He won in a field that also included teams from “Deepwater Horizon,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” “La La Land” and “Sully.” It was Bellemare’s first Oscar nomination.
The “OscarsSoWhite” crisis of the last two years was largely quelled this season by a 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.
Academy of Motions Pictures Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs worked to diversify the membership of the largely white, older and male film academy. In June, the academy added 683 new members from 59 countries: 46 per cent female; 41-per cent nonwhite.
Politics have taken the spotlight ahead of Hollywood’s big night. On Friday, the United Talent Agency, forgoing its usual Oscar party, instead held a rally protesting Trump over immigration. “We will not tolerate chaos and ineptitude and warmongering,” Jodie Foster told attendees.
A political context larger than that of films themselves swept Iran’s “The Salesman” into the limelight and effectively solidified its win in the best foreign language category at the Oscars. Iranian astronaut Anousheh Ansari accepted the award on behalf of director Asghar Farhadi, who was absent from the ceremony in protest of Trump’s travel ban.
“I’m sorry I’m not with you tonight,” Ansari read in a statement. “My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of other six nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S.”
Firouz Naderi, a former NASA director, and an Iranian, stood beside Ansari as she read Farhadi’s words.
Viola Davis accepts the Oscar for best actress in a supporting role for “Fences.”
Ryan Gosling, left, and Emma Stone introduce a performance at the Oscars.
Alan Barillaro, right, and Marc Sondheimer accept the Oscar for best animated short film for “Piper.” Barillaro is from Chippawa, Ont., and is a graduate of Oakville’s Sheridan College.
Alicia Vikander, left, presents Mahershala Ali with the award for best actor in a supporting role for “Moonlight.”
Meryl Streep received an early standing ovation from the crowd at the Dolby Theatre.