HOLLYWOOD—It has finally come to an end people, awards season wrapped Sunday, February 26 with the 89th Annual Academy Awards from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. The talk all season has been the battle between the musical “La La Land” and the indie drama “Moonlight.” And for the most part “La La Land” has been the front-runner, but the drama “Hidden Figures” has gained traction lately. So would “La La Land,” “Moonlight” or “Hidden Figures” take the ultimate prize for Best Picture?

It was “La La Land” who walked away with a total of 6 Oscars, but “Moonlight” took home the prize for Best Picture, as well as Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay in a shocking turn of events (read more on that later).

The ceremony kicked off with an energetic number by Justin Timberlake performing his Oscar-nominated hit “Can’t Stop the Feeling” which had the entire audience on their feet and dancing along to the jazzy tune. That soon transitioned to the hit “Lovely Day” which probably produced the most energy I’ve ever seen at the Oscars in years.

Justin Timberlake.
Justin Timberlake.

Late night talk show host and funnyman Jimmy Kimmel kicked off the ceremony with some jokes to say the least, by first taking a stab at the number of hosts the ceremony has had in recent years and the political division of the country, and a dicey dig at Mel Gibson, that was funny, but cringe-worthy slightly. He decided to end his ongoing feud with Matt Damon, and pointed out to the failure of Matt’s latest flick “The Great Wall.”

Donald Trump did indeed become the topic of discussion with racism, and talk about NASA being saved by blacks and jazz being saved by whites. Kimmel later talked about the greatest living actress still alive Meryl Streep who was slightly shy on the camera; totally a dig on Trump and his comments made back in January. Some of those jokes worked, some I would say not so much. The first prize of the night Best Supporting Actor was a win for Mahershala Ali for “Moonlight.” Ali was quite humble while accepting his award giving thanks to the teachers/professors who taught him the importance of elevating the characters he has portrayed during his career.

The Oscar for Best Makeup and Hairstyling was a win for “Suicide Squad.” “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” won for Best Costume Design. It was definitely a moment to see the real-life Katherine Johnson take the stage to receive a thunderous ovation. Best Documentary Feature went to “O.J.: Made in America.” Man that performance of “How Far I’ll Go” from the film “Moana” by Auli’i Cravalho was sensational. That was an amazing moment to see Kimmel drop down candies from the sky for the hungry crowd; I mean they are sitting for a good 3-4 hours, so candies are indeed a nice surprise.

Oscars for Best Sound Editing and Sound Mixing went to “Arrival” and “Hacksaw Ridge” respectively. Another big prize of the night for Best Supporting Actress was handed out to a well-deserved Viola Davis for her riveting performance in the drama “Fences.” Davis was moved to tears while on stage, giving a resounding speech about those who dreamed, but never got the opportunity to make those dreams come to fruition. It was indeed a moving speech that brought so many to tears.

The Oscar for Best Foreign Film went to “The Salesman.” That speech earned a well-deserved applause from the audience bringing up a discussion about how fear can lead to war. “Piper” took home the Oscar for Best Animated Film, whereas “Zootopia” took the Oscar for Best Animated Film. When it comes to Production Design it was time for “La La Land” to get a bit of love for the night. I mean the film has 14 nominations and it took nearly 90 minutes before the musical received some accolades. I will admit Jimmy’s skit with the Hollywood tour bus seemed a bit exhausting to say the least, but it paid off in the end because the reactions from the tourists and the celebrities was classic. Hilarious and unexpected!

Of course that montage about the universality of cinema across the world was a dig at President Donald Trump before the prize for Best Visual Effects was awarded to “The Jungle Book.” A possible sign to where the Best Picture prize could land was the Oscar for Best Film Editing which went to “Hacksaw Ridge,” but I don’t think that flick has a chance. The Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject was a victory for “The White Helmet.”  “Sing” was honored with the Academy Award for Best Live-Action Short Film. That was hilarious to see Kimmel actually sent tweets to President Donald Trump.

Viola Davis won the prize for Best Supporting Actress for her work in the film "Fences."
Viola Davis won the prize for Best Supporting Actress for her work in the film “Fences.”

Meryl Streep and Javier Bardem handed the prize for Best Cinematography to “La La Land.” Oh, that ‘Mean Tweets” skit from actors and actresses was the funniest thing I’ve seen in years. Best Original Score was a win for Justin Hurwitz for “La La Land.” The Oscar for Best Original Song went to “City of Stars” from “La La Land.” Ben Affleck and Matt Damon presented the prize for Best Original Screenplay to Kenneth Lonergan for “Manchester by the Sea.” It was Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney from “Moonlight” who took the prize for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Hmm, it’s looking like the 2017 Academy Awards will stretch close to the 210 minute mark, as the big awards of the night didn’t get passed out until many were probably prepping for sleep. Oscar winner Halle Berry presented the award for Best Director to Damien Chazelle “La La Land” who made history becoming the youngest person to ever win the Best Director prize. Time for the big prizes of the night Best Actor and Best Actress!

Many thought it was a duel between Casey Affleck and Denzel Washington and it was indeed, but Affleck came out on top with his performance in “Manchester by the Sea.” He was indeed in awe of his win. Leonardo DiCaprio presented the Oscar for Best Actress to Emma Stone for “La La Land.” Stone was taken aback while accepting her award, and gave an emotional speech thanking all those involved in the production of the musical.

The final award of the night Best Pictures was presented by “Bonnie and Clyde” co-stars Fate Dunaway and Warren Beatty. Beatty gave a political speech promoting diversity before the Oscar was handed to the producers for “La La Land.” However, it was a moment unlike ever because the wrong name was READ, and it was actually “Moonlight” that won the prize for Best Picture. Stunning moment and shocking change of events. It created some friction, crazy dialogue and tons of shocked faces in the audience and viewers at home.

So awards season is over people, “La La Land” might have had the wheel, but it was “Moonlight” in the end that garnered the traction to rouse up the people in the Academy to honor and amazing film to say the least. Ok, the 2017 Oscars was entertaining and hell, with plenty of surprises and stunners along the way. I’m really wondering how in the world the 2018 Academy Awards will top such shock!