The Oscars save the best for last

Mahershala Ali, Emma Stone, Viola Davis, and Casey Affleck won awards for their acting performances. Courtesy of


Justin Timberlake singing his nominated song “Can’t Stop The Feeling,” before the ceremony.
Courtesy of

Hollywood’s biggest stars gathered on the red carpet to attend the Eighty-Ninth Annual Oscar Awards at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, California. Mr. Jimmy Kimmel hosted the event February 26 which featured many musical performances, political speeches, and humorous monologues.
Mr. Justin Timberlake began the Awards Ceremony by performing his hit pop song “Can’t Stop The Feeling.” Soon after, Mr. Kimmel’s opening monologue highlighted the night’s featured Hollywood stars and nominated movies.  While his monologue challenged  recent political events, Mr. Kimmel encouraged viewers to reach out to others with divergent political, social, and religious beliefs to stimulate positive conversation and unite the country.
For the past two years, the Academy had neglected to nominate an actor of color for a role in a cinematic production. At the Eighty-Eigth Oscar Awards, there was controversy over the diversity of the awards ceremony. The Oscars’ host Mr. Chris Rock inspired the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite during his opening monologue as a comedic way to challenge the Academy. According to, the hashtag trended worldwide and spread awareness about the diversity of this year’s ceremony. As a result, the Academy recognized more actors and producers of color.
President of the Academy Ms. Cheryl Boone Isaacs discussed the increasing diversity of the country.  
“Tonight is proof that art has no borders, no single language, and art does not belong to a single faith,” Ms. Boone Isaacs said. “That is the magic of movies and what we celebrate tonight.”  
Another highlight from the Oscars involved a political fashion statement in which actors and actresses wore blue ribbons. These ribbons supported the “Stand With ACLU” initiative. According to, The American Civil Liberties Union defends the Constitutional rights of American citizens.  
Mr. Mahershala Ali giving a speech after winning “Best Supporting Actor” for his role in Moonlight.
Courtesy of

Mr. Mahershala Ali received the first award of the night. He won “Best Supporting Actor” for his role as Juan in Moonlight. Mr. Ali is the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar, according to The film Moonlight is a story about a young man’s journey through his life in Miami where he is faced with many personal struggles.
After Mr. Ali received his award, Ms. Viola Davis won “Best Supporting Actress” for her role in Fences.
“We are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life,” Ms. Davis said, according to
Director of Zootopia Mr. Byron Howard won the “Best Animated Feature” award.  Zootopia is an animated movie about a community of animals who strive to work together and support each other. In addition, Pixar’s Piper received “Best Animated Short Film.” Piper is a animated short film about a baby bird that learns how to overcome her fear of water. 
Ms. Emma Stone on the red carpet before winning “Best Actress” for her role in La La Land.
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After La La Land won an “Achievement in Cinematography,” Mr. John Legend performed the songs “The Fools Who Dream” and “City Of Stars,” which won “Original Song,” from La La Land. Thirty-two-year-old Mr. Damien Chazelle was the youngest person to win “Best Director” for La La Land after Ms. Emma Stone won “Best Actress” for the same film. In total, La La Land received six Oscars.
Ms. Sara Barilles then honored those who passed away last year by singing “Both Sides Now” during the In Memoriam segment.  
In addition, Casey Affleck won “Best Actor” in Manchester by the Sea. The same film won “Best Original Screenplay” and honored screenwriter Mr. Kenneth Lonergan, according to
Musical artists continued to perform throughout the ceremony singing selected songs from nominated productions.  Mr. Lin-Manuel Miranda and 16-year-old Ms. Auli’i Cravalho sang “How Fall I’ll Go” from the new Disney production Moana. Sting also sang “The Empty Chair” from the movie Jim: The James Foley Story.
The night concluded with Ms. Faye Dunaway and Mr. Warren Beatty presenting the Academy Award for “Best Picture.” Ms. Dunaway first announced that La La Land had won, but after some confusion film producer Mr. Jordan Horowitz apologized and announced that Moonlight had actually won “Best Picture.”  
The Moonlight team accepting its award for “Best Picture.”
Courtesy of The New York Times

“I guess we made history tonight,” Ms. Stone said after the awards ceremony, according to “I think it’s an incredible outcome but a very strange happening for Oscar’s history.”
After director Mr. Barry Jenkins received the Academy Award for “Best Picture” for Moonlight, he shared his thoughts on the strength of the cinematic community.
I tell my students that I teach sometimes, be in the love with the process, not the result,” Mr. Jenkins said, according to The New York Times. “But I really wanted this result, because [many] people are watching, and all you people out there who think there’s no mirror for you, that your life is not reflected, the academy has your back, the ACLU has your back, we have your back.”
– Juliana Collins, Staff Writer