Oscars the Morning After: 'Moonlight' Outshines 'La La Land,' Viola Davis Wins Best Acceptance Speech, 'Suicide Squad' Gets One

BY Sarah MurphyPublished Feb 27, 2017

The 89th Academy Awards were held in Los Angeles last night (February 26), but the ceremony offered so much more than simply handing out gold trophies — and even that proved a challenging task by the end of Hollywood's longest night.
The broadcast was hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, who took the mic after an opening number from Justin Timberlake that managed to get every actor, filmmaker and seat filler in the Dolby Theatre up and awkwardly dancing like zombies to the Oscar-nominated Trolls hit "Can't Stop the Feeling."

Kimmel's snarky bits throughout the night flopped for the most part, and while he got in a few solid jabs at President Donald Trump (and plenty more at Matt Damon), he came under Twitter fire for a Lion King gag involving Lion young star Sunny Pawar that many immediately deemed racist.

Things didn't go so well during his "regular people" segment either, where unsuspecting tourists were brought into the theatre to be ogled by celebrities. In addition to dragging on for far too long and making everyone involved feel super awkward, Kimmel mocked a visitor named Yulerie, announcing "now that's a name" after her fiancé introduced himself as Patrick. Compounded with an earlier poke at Best Supporting Actor winner Mahershala Ali about what he named his newborn daughter, Kimmel came across as a pretty tone-deaf white dude.

Kimmel wasn't the only thing to get upset about, though. Surprise winners like Suicide Squad in the Makeup and Hairstyling category and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them left many baffled.

Of course, there were also some trophies handed out to those deemed perfectly deserving, and those recipients didn't waste their platform. Iranian director Asghar Farhadi won Best Foreign Language Film for The Salesman, and as promised, he didn't attend the ceremony to protest Trump's travel ban. He did deliver a message by proxy, though, making a powerful political statement despite not being physically present.

Viola Davis delivered the most memorable acceptance speech of the night, though, for her spirited toast to the craft of acting while accepting the award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Fences. She said, "People ask me all the time — what kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola? And I say exhume those bodies. Exhume those stories — the stories of the people who dreamed big and never saw those dreams to fruition, people who fell in love and lost... I became an artist and thank God I did because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life."

Between the hosting bits and awards, there were also musical performances to take in, courtesy of the Best Original Song nominees. Timberlake's opening number was followed by Sting's rendition of "The Empty Chair" from Jim: The James Foley Story, Auli'i Cravalho and Lin Manuel Miranda's "How Far I'll Go" from Moana and John Legend's renditions of "Audition" and "City of Stars" from La La Land.

Finally, what seemed like a million years after the show began, Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty came out to give away the biggest award of the night — Best Picture. In a spectacular fuck-up, Beatty was given the wrong card to read from, announcing La La Land as the winner (later revealing that he had been presented with the card that announced Emma Stone from that film as Best Actress).

Midway through the film's massive cast, crew and production team accepting the award, it was announced that Moonlight had actually been the intended recipient. It was a glorious moment for the La La Land haters hoping the Academy would break from predictability, though undeniably unfortunate that Moonlight's big moment was dampened by a collective "WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING" from everyone watching.

Moonlight director Barry Jenkins was nevertheless pleased to take his prize, and those in attendance and watching from home welcomed the rightful winner.

The mix-up and ultimately historic win certainly provided an exciting ending to an otherwise painfully long, drawn-out ceremony. For the full list of the night's winners head over here.

Latest Coverage