Oscars 2017: Laughs, Gaffs, Short Speeches and Political Diatribes

Last year’s telecast was watched by 34.4 million viewers in the U.S.

Oscar winners Ali, Stone, Davis and AffleckThe 89th Academy Awards clocked in at 3 hours, 15 minutes and although it wasn’t the longest telecast in Oscars history, it was certainly the most memorable.

Viola Davis

Held at the Hollywood’s Dolby Theater, first-time host comedian Jimmy Kimmel kicked off the show after an energetic performance by Justin Timberlake who opened with his Oscar-nominated hit “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from the animated film “Trolls.” Although Kimmel supplied a slight jab at President Trump about the country’s division, he spent most of his opening monologue on tame humor focusing on award nominees. “It has been an amazing year for movies. Black people saved NASA and white people saved jazz. That’s what you call progress,” he joked.

The night’s first award, best supporting actor, went to Mahershala Ali for his portrayal of a fatherly figure in the drama “Moonlight.” Ali’s heartfelt speech clocked in at just two minutes as he thanked his teachers, the film’s cast, crew and his own family mentioning that his wife had just given birth to their daughter four days earlier.

The night’s next Oscar, for makeup and hairstyling, was given to “Suicide Squad,” followed by a win by “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” for the film’s costume designer Colleen Atwood. “Hamilton” mastermind teamed with “Moana” star Auli’I Cravalho for a rendition of “How Far I’ll Go,” and John Legend treated audiences to “City of Stars” and “Audition,” from the film “La La Land.” The cast of “Hidden Figures” Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monae and Octavia Spencer introduced Katherine Johnson, one of the NASA research mathematicians portrayed in the Oscar-nominated film, who received a standing ovation.

Halfway through the show, Kimmel, concerned he hadn’t seen any tweets from President Trump, sends the president two tweets, one asking if he’s still up and the other with the hashtag #Merylsayshi, mocking the president who had called actress Meryl Streep an “underrated actress” last month. Although she didn’t win last night, Streep has the highest number of acting nominations in Oscar history.Producers Jeremy Kleiner (L) and Adele Romanski (C), winners of the award for Best Picture for Moonlight with filmmaker Barry Jenkins

Major winners at the 89th Academy Awards included “Moonlight,” which picked up three awards total. Nominated for eight, the moving drama scooped up adapted screenplay, (the supporting actor for Ali), and the best picture of the night after presenters Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty read the wrong card and mistakenly identified “La La Land” as the winner.  The accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)— which has run the Oscars balloting for the past 83 years has since apologized for the Best Picture gaffe, citing the presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered, was immediately corrected. Despite 14 nominations heaped on the musical “La La Land,” the film surprisingly only took home six Oscars, including best director for Damien Chazelle, who became the youngest person to ever win the honor — and best actress for Emma Stone.  The longest speech of the evening was made by Viola Davis who won best supporting actress for “Fences” at just under three minutes.

“O.J. Made in America” won the best documentary feature over Ava DuVernay’s “13th” and Casey Affleck of “Manchester by the Sea” picked his first Oscar win, for supporting best actor over Denzel Washington, who was nominated in the same category for “Fences.” Singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles performed the “In Memoriam” segment, which didn’t include the passing of Bill Paxton and mistakenly featured the image of a producer who’s still alive.

Last year’s telecast was watched by 34.4 million viewers in the U.S., and although the numbers are not officially in, organizers says it’s far more this year especially given the record number of historically diverse nominations.

(Pictured Top: Oscar winners Mahersala Ali, winner of the award for Actor in a Supporting Role for ‘Moonlight,’ Emma Stone, winner of the award for Actress in a Leading Role for ‘La La Land,’ Viola Davis, winner of the award for Actress in a Supporting Role for ‘Fences,’ and Casey AffleckViola Davis  (middle) Moonlight producers Jeremy Kleiner (L) and Adele Romanski (C), winners of the award for Best Picture for ‘Moonlight,’ pose with filmmaker Barry Jenkins (bottom )

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