Sunday, February 26, 2017

"Moonlight" wins best picture after amazing last-second fumble at the Oscars 2017; "O.J.: Made in America" is an unusual Oscar winner in documentary


Jimmy Kimmel acts presidential enough tonight at Oscars 2017 in the Dolby Theater, it all its wonderful balconies and geometries.   He tweeted the real Donald Trump, and he didn’t have his running mate, Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant.   Jimmy Kimmel would be competent to serve as president of the United States.  How about James Franco?

The most important award tonight in my parlance was to “The White Helmets”, for best documentary short, a riveting documentary of volunteer rescuers in Aleppo.  For short live action, the Academy preferred the student solidarity in the Hungarian film “Sing” to either of the two films dealing with refugees (like "Silent Nights"). .



For best documentary feature, the Academy took the unusual step of awarding to what is essentially a TV series,  Ezra Edelman’s “O.J.: Made in America”, for ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentary series (over 5 hours).  But a reduced version is supposed to be available for theaters soon.  I’ve seen only portions of it, having remembered living through the radio talk shows (like Vicky Jones) in my car in the 1990s.

Mahershali Ali has won best supporting actor for the dramatic “Moonlight”, coming of age of a gay black man in a difficult neighborhood of south Florida.

The Salesman” is the only foreign language film I have seen so far this year.  Ashgar Farhadi could not be present to accept the award.   A statement was read in absentia, a strong protest of Donald Trump’s recent immigration 7-country ban, and the award was accepted by Iranian astronaut Anousheh Ansari.

Babyfaced Damien Chazelle’s “Lala Land” was mistakenly announced best picture.  But some sort of pro-football fumble of the cards, and "Moonlight" actually won (Washington Post story).   I would have picked “Arrival” (Qz analysis).

The Chicago Tribune’s  list of the winners is here.

I remember the 1998 awards (“Titanic”) when I dispatched my crutches for the first time and spent the evening at a party at the Oprheus in downtown Minneapolis.

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