Well, at least they got the winners right this year.
The book has finally closed on the 2017 year in movies, with the 90th Annual Academy Awards now officially behind us. It was a night that felt a bit more somber in tone than normal, mainly due to the political climate in Hollywood with the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements really at the forefront of many people's minds. It wasn't the longest Oscars telecast in history (that would go to the 2002 show that clocked in at 4 hours and 23 minutes), but it sure felt like it. Host Jimmy Kimmel began the show and quickly addressed the elephant in the room (no not Harvey Weinstein, the other elephant): Last year's Best Picture debacle, that saw "Moonlight" win despite the fact that presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced that "La La Land" had won (they were apparently given the wrong envelope by Pricewaterhouse Cooper agents, leading to an unprecedented frenzy on stage). "It's just Waterhouse-under-the-bridge," Kimmel joked.
The fantasy-romance "The Shape of Water" was the night's big winner - if you can call it that - because it did win Best Picture and led all films with four total Oscar wins. But the movie had 13 total nominations, so it was anything but a dominant performance. In fact, there were very few surprises this year, and you know that there weren't that many big shocks when perhaps the biggest upset of the night came in the Documentary Feature category ("Icarus" upset the front-runner "Faces Places." Yes, please take a minute to catch your breath).
But even though the Awards were fairly predictable, that didn't mean that the night was without its big moments. Whittling the choices down (sorry Eva Marie Saint and Roger Deakins, we still love you), here are our Top 6 most memorable moments from this year's Oscars:
Jordan Peele makes history.
Did that just really happen? It sounds a bit crazy, but the latter-half of the Comedy Central super-duo Key and Peele just won an Academy Award, and made history in doing so. Jordan Peele became the first African-American to ever win the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Peele did not win for Best Director (that honor went to Guillermo del Toro) or for Best Picture ("The Shape of Water"), but his film, "Get Out," also became the first-ever horror movie to win Best Original Screenplay (both "The Exorcist" and "The Silence of the Lambs" won in the past, but for Adapted). Peele's acceptance speech (watch it above) was classy, but it was his childish grin and air of disbelief as he walked off stage that truly resonated. "I just won an Oscar. WTF?!?" Peele tweeted a few moments later. It'll be interesting to see how he follows up this success, but one thing is for sure: He is no longer just Peele from Key and Peele...he's the Oscar-winning screenwriter Jordan Peele.
Jimmy Kimmel's monologue and jet ski give-away.
One of the most-anticipated portion of the Oscars telecast is always the open, and this year especially, all eyes were on Jimmy Kimmel to see what he would do and say. There was the powerful swirl of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements (including the whole Harvey Weinstein scandal) and the tense political climate in the nation, but Kimmel quickly addressed the elephant in the room right off the top: Last year's Oscar screw-up that led to "La La Land" being incorrectly announced as the Best Picture winner, an honor that would eventually go to "Moonlight" after a confused on-stage melee at the very end of the show. He started off the monologue this time by joking, "This year, if you hear your name called, don't get up right away."
Kimmel's best bit may have been about Oscar himself, describing the statue as the "most respected and beloved man in Hollywood," mainly because Oscar "Keeps his hands where we can see them, never says a rude word and most importantly, no penis at all," adding, "He is literally a statue of limitations." Kimmel also had a plan to speed up Oscar speeches this year, promising that the person who gave the shortest Oscar speech this year would win a jet ski...it was a running gag throughout the show. But Kimmel eventually came through on his promise, when the Costume Design winner, Mark Bridges ("Phantom Thread"), later was wheeled out on stage on top of the ski...his winning short speech clocked in just over 30-seconds.
Kimmel and crew surprise a nearby movie theater audience.
A major theme of this year's show was to thank the movie-going fan-base for their support of the industry over the past century. The show put together an exciting montage of great movie moments, but Jimmy Kimmel took fan-appreciation to the next level when he decided to "drop in" on an unsuspecting nearby movie theater audience that had been mid-way through a promotional screening of the upcoming "A Wrinkle in Time."
Kimmel enlisted the help of A-List stars like Gal Gadot, Mark Hamill, Margot Robbie, Lupita Nyong'o, Emily Blunt, Ansel Elgort, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Armie Hammer and Guillermo del Toro, who shocked the group and handed out candy and snacks. Hammer was even equipped with a hot dog cannon. "Don't shoot it at the vegans," Kimmel warned. Yes, it was sort of gimmicky, and yes, it was seemingly unimportant in a show that already felt too long, but it was fun and created a good diversion to the otherwise subdued show. Off-script, Gal Gadot shouted more than once, "This is way better than the Oscars!" And she was right.
Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph steal the show.
2017 was definitely the year of Tiffany Haddish. The break-out star of "Girls Trip" presented two awards along with Maya Rudolph, and gave the Oscars a much-needed jolt of energy (watch their segment above). In response to the Oscars of a few years ago where #OscarsTooWhite began trending, Haddish asked, "Are the Oscars too black now?" "Don't worry," Rudolph responded. "There are so many more white people to come tonight."
The duo were so funny, that there have already been calls for them to co-host the Oscars next year, or at least get going on a movie together. One thing is for sure though, Haddish may not have anything in the works with Rudolph just yet, but she definitely wants to get something going with Meryl Streep. Going off-script, Haddish said to the actress, "Hi Meryl! I want you to be my mama one day." Are you listening, "Girls Trip 2"?
It's also humorous to note that the announcer flubbed Tiffany Haddish's name when announcing her on-stage...which could be considered karma after Haddish famously butchered several different names when she was on-hand to announce this year's Oscar nominations.
Hollywood addresses the big issues.
Harvey Weinstein's reign of abuse and manipulation is squarely in the rear-view, but Hollywood looked to capitalize on the momentum and ride the wave of truth into a new era, starting with the Oscar telecast. Kimmel joked about it, but the Academy also addressed the issue head-on when it had Weinstein victims Ashley Judd, Annabella Sciorra and Salma Hayek on-stage to herald "A new path forward." Yance Ford, the first-ever transgender director to be nominated for an Oscar (for the documentary, "Strong Island") was featured in a moving segment about the changing tide in Hollywood and across the country.
But it was Frances McDormand who made the biggest splash of the night during her acceptance speech for Best Actress (view it above). She left the stage after emphasizing two words, "inclusion rider," leaving the rest of the world to begin Googling the term (in case you're wondering, according to the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, an inclusion rider is a contract clause "designed to ensure equitable hiring in supportive roles for women, POC, the LGBT community, and people w/disabilities.") It will be interesting to see if real change takes place, but this time sure seems different.
Musical performances also steal the show.
Yes we watch the Oscars for the movies, but what a night for music. Mary J. Blige got things started with her powerful performance of the nominated song "Mighty River" from the Netflix film "Mudbound," and it was followed up by a lively performance from Miguel and Natalia Lafourcade, singing "Remember Me" from the animated film, "Coco." Sufjan Stevens and St. Vincent sang "Mystery of Love" from "Call Me By Your Name" and Common performed "Stand Up For Something" from the "Marshall" soundtrack. But it was Keala Settle's emotional, drop-you-to-your-knees rendition of "This Is Me" from "The Greatest Showman" that brought the house down.
But even as memorable as Settle's performance was, the best musical moment of the night came during the "In Memoriam" segment, when Eddie Vedder put a heartfelt spin on the late Tom Petty's "Room at the Top of the World." And while the In Memoriam segment did have some glaring omissions (no Della Reese? Adam West? Frank Vincent?), Vedder's performance was a fitting tribute to those we've lost this past year.