LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Sunday’s Oscars ceremony offered something for everyone, tackling Hollywood’s sexual misconduct scandal and last year’s best-picture blunder while sharing its awards love with first-timers, LGBT movies and films about other cultures.
In a ceremony marked by calls to activism across several fronts, gay romance“Call Me by Your Name” won best adapted screenplay and racial satire“Get Out” won best original screenplay.
“A Fantastic Woman,” Chile’s groundbreaking story about a transgender woman, played by transgender actress Daniela Vega, won best foreign language film, and Mexican-inspired“Coco” was named best animated feature.
Opening the show before an A-list audience of actors and filmmakers, Jimmy Kimmel pulled no punches about the sexual misconduct scandal that has led to the downfall of dozens of once-powerful men in Hollywood and overshadowed the movie industry’s awards season.
Noting that it was the Academy Awards ceremonies’ 90th year, Kimmel said the tall golden Oscar statue itself was“the most beloved and respected man in Hollywood.”
“He keeps his hands where you can see them, he never says a rude word and most importantly he has no penis at all. He is literally a statue of limitations. That’s the kind of man we need more of,” Kimmel quipped.
Referring to Fox Searchlight’s 13-time Oscar-nominated fantasy romance“The Shape of Water,” in which a cleaning lady falls in love with a mysterious river creature, Kimmel joked:
“We will always remember this year as the year men screwed up so badly that women started dating fish.”
In some of the strongest moments, rap artist Common and singer Andra Day brought the leaders of activist movements, including #MeToo and Black Lives Matter, onstage for a performance of their Oscar-nominated song“Stand Up for Something.”
And celebrities ranging from director Ava DuVernay, Salma Hayek and Kumail Nanjiani spoke in a video segment about attempts to smash barriers in the industry around racism, sexism and prejudice against gays and lesbians.
Kimmel also turned last year’s embarrassing envelope mix-up over the best picture winner into a running joke, warning this year’s nominees,“This year when you hear your name called, don’t get up right away!.”
Kenyan-Mexican actress Lupita Nyong’o and Pakistani-American Kumail Nanjiani spoke out on behalf of America’s so-called Dreamers – hundreds of thousands of young people whose parents brought them to the United States illegally, and whose fate is now uncertain.
“Dreams are the foundation of Hollywood and dreams are the foundations of America,” Nyong’o said.
Among award winners, Sam Rockwell, and Allison Janney took home their first Oscars in their supporting roles in Fox Searchlight dark comedy“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and independent ice-skating movie“I, Tonya” respectively.
Warner Bros. British World War Two movie“Dunkirk” picked up most of the awards in the early running, including sound editing, sound mixing and film editing.
But the best picture Oscar – presented at the end of the 3-1/2-hour show – is seen as a close race between“The Shape of Water,”“Three Billboards” and Universal Pictures racial satire“Get Out.”
“Three Billboards,” the tale of an angry woman seeking justice for her daughter’s killer, scooped multiple honors earlier this year, but“Get Out,” a bold horror movie that became a talking point around modern-day race relations in America, appears to have gained momentum in the last two weeks.
Additional reporting by Nichola Grrom, Lisa Richwine and Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Jonathan Oatis