An Oscars Disaster? An Academy Awards Recap

Ofelia Yeghiyan, Editor

The 89th Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, kicked off at 8:30 P.M, February 26th and has been the topic of discussion for the past few days. While it mostly went as planned, tiny mess-ups, political jabs, and a major mistake that left the crowd reeling made this award ceremony a little different from the last.

Jimmy Kimmel hosted the show, and, along with the usual humor, came a slew of political jokes, all aimed at Donald Trump. From saying “This broadcast is being watched live by millions of Americans and around the world in over 225 countries that now hate us”, to thanking Trump for making last year’s Oscars no longer look racist, jabs were made at the president like never before. He also referenced the angry tweets against Meryl Streep by Trump that called her “overrated” and “a Hillary flunky”, much to the laughter of both Streep and and the audience, before asking them to give her a standing ovation. He also spoke about Trump’s tweeting habits, and around two hours in explained his surprise that Trump had not tweeted about them yet, sending him a message on Twitter that said “hey @realdonaldtrump u up?” and “#merylstreepsayshi”. He also targeted supposed frenemy Matt Damon with a couple of jokes, even conducting the orchestra beneath the stage to play over him when it was his turn to speak.

But jokes aside, there was one moment that will be forever preserved in Oscars history: the legendary mix-up between La La Land and Moonlight for best picture. The mess-up was due to Warren Beatty, who was to announce the winner, getting the wrong red envelope. What followed were a couple seconds of confusion, before he handed it to fellow announcer Faye Dunaway who read the card out loud: “La La Land”. The happy crew came up, on the stage for at least three minutes, giving speeches, before commotion began to take place. People began coming to the stage and speaking with La La Land’s crew, causing frowns and concern behind the speech-givers before producer Jordan Horowitz told the confused audience and viewers that La La La Land had lost, Moonlight had won, and it was not a joke.

So who was to blame for the fiasco? According to The New York Times, it’s the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), and its partner Brian Cullinan. He and a fellow partner are responsible for giving the announcers the winners’ envelopes. For extra security there are two of them, and Warren Beatty ended up receiving the second envelope for Emma Stone’s Best Actress Oscar. This explained his moment of confusion: “I read the card that was in the envelope,” Beatty told reporters on his way to the Governors Ball, a post-show party. “I thought, ‘This is very strange because it says best actress on the card. And I felt that maybe there was some sort of misprint.” Twitter may have been responsible for Cullinan’s fatal error: around the time Beatty was set to announce the winner, he tweeted a picture of Emma Stone with her Oscar, pictured below.

There were other highlights of the night, however, such as Viola Davis’ emotional speech for Best Supporting Actress in Fences. This was her third nomination and first win, the prior two nominations for Doubt and The Help (she lost the latter, somewhat controversially, to Meryl Streep). In her acceptance speech, Davis 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.” She continued on for a long and memorable speech, crying tears of joy as she did so, rewarded at the end by vigorous applause by the A-list audience.

Davis played Rose Maxson in Fences, the down-to-earth housewife of Troy Maxson, and a woman who did what she could to keep her family thriving amid turmoil. She described the movie as “a movie that is about people, and words, and life, and forgiveness, and grace.” Her Twitter was full of praise for her achievement, which includes not only the Oscar, but being the first black actress to win a Golden Globe, Tony, and Oscar for acting. Whoopi Goldberg is also an EGOT (Emmy, Golden Globe, Oscar, Tony) winner, but her Tony is for producing.

Another little mess-up, not nearly as immense as the Best Picture mistake, also took place on the awards stage Sunday night. Auli’i Cravalho, the Hawaiian actress who made her debut as the voice of Moana in the hit Disney film Moana, was hit in the face by a dancer’s flag while she was singing the song “How Far I’ll Go.” She was introduced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, a fellow co-star who voices Maui, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the song and is accredited with the well-known musical Hamilton, who rapped a few lyrics before she took the stage. Though she winced for only a second during the incident, she smoothly continued the song like nothing had happened.


Jimmy Kimmel also explained a surprise that had been set up: unsuspecting tour bus passengers, who had been told they were going to an Oscars dress exhibition, instead walked through open doors to find themselves at the Academy Awards. Most whipped out their phones to film and record, taking selfies with Mahershala Ali and his Oscar. Jennifer Aniston gave her sunglasses to one lucky passenger, while Ryan Gosling gave a gift to another. Another passenger told Kimmel she was there with her fiance, (nicknamed “Gary from Chicago”), and her favorite actor was Denzel Washington, who got up and pretended to marry the two. They also came up to kiss the hands of Meryl Streep and Halle Berry while Jimmy Kimmel joked that Casey Affleck was not “a vagrant” in the audience.

There was also a political statement against Trump when it came to the foreign film category. An Iranian film, “The Salesman” won, but its director, Asghar Farhadi, chose to boycott the show in protest of Donald Trump’s travel ban that forbade people from seven pre-dominantly Muslim countries (Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen) from entering the U.S. Instead, Anousheh Ansari, an American-Iranian businesswoman, accepted the award and read out a message from Farhadi, explaining that he was not attending to stand up for those “who have been disrespected by the inhumane law,” referring to those who were affected by the ban.

Diversity played out too, with a record-breaking six black nominees, and Mahershala Ali the first Muslim actor to take home an Oscar (he played Juan in Moonlight, a film about the struggles of a young gay black man raised in the ghettos in poverty, with Juan, his neighbor, who took care of him). Here is a complete list of the Oscar winners and nominees:

Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Mahershala Ali, Moonlight (WINNER)
  • Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
  • Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
  • Dev Patel, Lion
  • Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Makeup and Hairstyling

  • A Man Called Ove, Eva von Bahr and Love Larson
  • Star Trek Beyond, Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo
  • Suicide Squad, Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini, and Christopher Nelson (WINNER)

Costume Design

  • Allied, Joanna Johnston
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Colleen Atwood (WINNER)
  • Florence Foster Jenkins, Consolata Boyle
  • Jackie, Madeline Fontaine
  • La La Land, Mary Zophres

Documentary Feature

  • Fire at Sea
  • I Am Not Your Negro
  • Life, Animated
  • O.J.: Made in America (WINNER)
  • 13th

Sound Editing

  • Arrival, Sylvain Bellemare (WINNER)
  • Deepwater Horizon, Wylie Stateman and Renée Tondelli
  • Hacksaw Ridge, Robert Mackenzie and Andy Wright
  • La La Land, Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan
  • Sully, Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman

Sound Mixing

  • Arrival, Bernard Gariépy Strobl and Claude La Haye
  • Hacksaw Ridge, Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie, and Peter Grace (WINNER)
  • La La Land, Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee, and Steve A. Morrow
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, David Parker, Christopher Scarabosio, and Stuart Wilson
  • 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush, and Mac Ruth

Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Viola Davis, Fences (WINNER)
  • Naomie Harris, Moonlight
  • Nicole Kidman, Lion
  • Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
  • Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Foreign Language Film

  • Land of Mine (Denmark)
  • A Man Called Ove (Sweden)
  • The Salesman (Iran) (WINNER)
  • Tanna (Australia)
  • Toni Erdmann (Germany)

Animated Short Film

  • Blind Vaysha
  • Borrowed Time
  • Pear Cider and Cigarettes
  • Pearl
  • Piper (WINNER)

Animated Feature Film

  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Moana
  • My Life as a Zucchini
  • The Red Turtle
  • Zootopia (WINNER)

Production Design

  • Arrival, Patrice Vermette and Paul Hotte
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Stuart Craig and Anna Pinnock
  • Hail, Caesar! , Jess Gonchor and Nancy Haigh
  • La La Land, Davis Wasco and Sandy Reynolds-Wasco (WINNER)
  • Passengers, Guy Hendrix Dyas and Gene Serdena

Visual Effects

  • Deepwater Horizon, Craig Hammack, Jason Snell, Justin Billington, and Burt Dalton
  • Doctor Strange, Stephane Ceretti, Richard Bluff, Vincent Cirelli, and Paul Corbould
  • The Jungle Book, Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones, and Dan Lemmon (WINNER)
  • Kubo and the Two Strings, Steve Emerson, Oliver Jones, Brian McLean, and Brad Schiff
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, John Knoll, Mohen Leo, Hal Hickel, and Neil Corbould

Film Editing

  • Arrival, Joe Walker
  • Hacksaw Ridge, John Gilbert (WINNER)
  • Hell or High Water, Jake Roberts
  • La La Land, Tom Cross
  • Moonlight, Nat Sanders and Joi McMillon

Documentary Short Subject

  • Extremis
  • 4.1 Miles
  • Joe’s Violin
  • Watani: My Homeland
  • The White Helmets (WINNER)

Live Action Short Film

  • Ennemis Intérieurs
  • La Femme et le TGV
  • Silent Nights
  • Sing (WINNER)
  • Timecode


  • Arrival, Bradford Young
  • La La Land, Linus Sandgren (WINNER)
  • Lion, Greig Fraser
  • Moonlight, James Laxton
  • Silence, Rodrigo Prieto

Original Score

  • Jackie, Mica Levi
  • La La Land, Justin Hurwitz (WINNER)
  • Lion, Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka
  • Moonlight, Nicholas Britell
  • Passengers, Thomas Newman

Original Song

  • “Audition (The Fools who Dream),” La La Land, music by Justin Hurwitz, lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
  • “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” Trolls, music and lyric by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin, and Karl Johan Schuster
  • “City of Stars,” La La Land, music by Justin Hurwitz, lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (WINNER)
  • “The Empty Chair,” Jim: The James Foley Story, music and lyric by J. Ralph and Sting
  • “How Far I’ll Go,” Moana, music and lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Original Screenplay

  • Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan
  • La La Land, Damien Chazelle
  • The Lobster, Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou
  • Manchester by the Sea, Kenneth Lonergan (WINNER)
  • 20th Century Women, Mike Mills

Adapted Screenplay

  • Arrival, Eric Heisserer
  • Fences, August Wilson
  • Hidden Figures, Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi
  • Lion, Luke Davies
  • Moonlight, Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney (WINNER)


  • Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
  • Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Damien Chazelle, La La Land (WINNER)
  • Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
  • Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Actor in a Leading Role

  • Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea (WINNER)
  • Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Ryan Gosling, La La Land
  • Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
  • Denzel Washington, Fences

Actress in a Leading Role

  • Isabelle Huppert, Elle
  • Ruth Negga, Loving
  • Natalie Portman, Jackie
  • Emma Stone, La La Land (WINNER)
  • Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Best Picture

  • Arrival
  • Fences
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell or High Water
  • Hidden Figures
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Moonlight (WINNER)

What was your favorite Best Picture nominated movie?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...