The 2018 Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel (for the 2nd time in as many years), paid homage to classic Hollywood films — an odd choice in a climate so bent towards a future without the prevalent harassment and sexism that has been a hallmark of Hollywood in the 21st century. The 90th Oscars wanted to celebrated “timeless classics,” but so many of these so-called “timeless” films were made by serial abusers, or perpetuate a patriarchal, rape-culture that predominated so many stories on film over the past several decades.
Best Actress winner Frances McDormand rallies the crowd. Presented by @ATT. #Oscars pic.twitter.com/6loAtYheKZ
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) March 5, 2018
In any case, host Jimmy Kimmel stepped out on to a gilded stage reminiscent of our 45th president’s abode in Manhattan replete with ornate cornices and lavish chandeliers. Kimmel got in his fair share of jabs at the Hollywood establishment, joking that the Oscar statue was the most beloved and respected man in the industry because most importantly he “has no penis at all.” While the straight white men of the 2018 American awards season — Seth Meyers on The Golden Globes, Nick Kroll and John Mulaney on the Spirit Awards, the Gotham Awards hosted by John Cameron Mitchell to name just a few — did manage to lead their evenings with grace and a preponderance of PC jokes, this author questions why more women and people of color aren’t at the helm of these celebrations of artistic craft.
In the first win of the night, Sam Rockwell, winning for Best Supporting Actor in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri recounted his early experience of being called to the principal’s office in elementary school. His father had apparently told the school administration that there was a health issue with his grandmother. “What’s wrong with Grandma,” Sam asked, and his father said, “nothing, we’re going to the movies’.” This lifelong love of movies culminates in Rockwell’s first nomination and first win.
There were many standout moments throughout the evening. “I just realized something: I’m older than the Academy,” said Eva Marie Saint, Best Supporting Actress winner from On The Waterfront, as she presented the award for Best Costume Design to Mark Bridges for Phantom Thread. Icarus, a story about Russian doping by Bryan Fogel and Dan Cogan, won for Best Documentary Film. It was the first win for a Netflix Documentary Feature Film.
Allison Janney took home the statue for her role in I, Tonya. “I did it all by myself,” Janney joked, before thanking her fellow nominees and the Academy. Kobe Bryant won for the short film he wrote, Dear Basketball, in the Best Animated Short Category, though director Glen Keane gave the speech upon accepting the award. The Twitter-verse was up in arms about Bryant’s win, citing his alleged 2003 sexual assault of a 19-year-old hotel employee.
Kimmel’s antics continued throughout the night with the help of several Oscar attendees, when he led them to conduct a surprise visit to the Chinese Theatre to bestow candy, hot dogs, and a six-foot sub to a crowd of unsuspecting A Wrinkle in Time viewers. He fired a hot dog gun into the crowd and interviewed members of the audience, including letting one lucky audience member introduce Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph. Haddish and Rudolph made far and away the best presenting duo of the night. The pair had some sharp jokes about white dudes with clipboards, including referencing #OscarsSoWhite.
Another standout speech of the night was filmmaker Rachel Shenton signing her acceptance speech for winner in the Best Live Action Short Film category, The Silent Child. Shenton said she had promised the film’s young star, Maisie Sly that she would use ASL to sign her speech should she win.
James Ivory won Best Adapted Screenplay for Call Me By Your Name. It was the 4th nomination for Ivory, who opened his speech by saying, “My rule number one for a screenwriter adapting a novel is to thank the author.”
Jordan Peele won Best Original Screenplay for his film Get Out. Peele said he stopped writing the film 20 times because he didn’t think it would work, let alone would anyone make it. He dedicated the award to his mother, “who taught me to love in the face of hate.”
Roger A. Deakins took home a surprise win in the Cinematography category for Bladerunner 2049.
Christopher Walken quoted Hans Christian Andersen announcing the nominees for Best Original Score: “When words fail, music speaks.” Alexander Desplat took home the award for The Shape of Water. The French composer noted that his mother was also turning 90 this year, in tandem with the Oscar ceremony itself.
Emma Stone pointedly said “these four men, and Greta Gerwig, created masterpieces of their own this year” when introducing the Best Director category. The Oscar ultimately went to Guillermo del Toro for The Shape of Water. “The greatest thing our art does, and our industry does,” said del Toro, “is erase the lines in the sand. We should continue doing that.”
Gary Oldman took home the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Darkest Hour. Only his second nomination, Oldman said upon winning to his mother watching from home, “put the kettle on, I’m bringing Oscar.”
Unfortunately, the Best Actress in a Leading Role montage featured a three cut sequence of women being kissed, a series of shots which would probably never be featured in the Best Actor sequence. Jennifer Lawrence and Jody Foster presented the category. Foster, on crutches, claimed her injury was due to getting “Tonya-ed” by Meryl Streep. Frances McDormand took home the Oscar for her moving role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. “If I fall over, pick me up because I’ve got some things to say,” McDormand started. She proceeded to have every female actress from every category stand together, for “perspective.” “Look around ladies and gentlemen, we all have stories to tell, and projects we need financed.” McDormand ended her epic acceptance speech with two words: “Inclusion rider.”
“Nothing could possibly go wrong,” Kimmel joked, before announcing introducing Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty — the very same presenters who announced the wrong winner for Best Picture last year.
The Shape of Water took home the evening’s biggest prize: BEST PICTURE. Del Toro dedicated the award to “the youth who are showing us how things are done.” He ended his speech by holding up the Oscar and saying, “this is a door — kick it open and come in.”
A complete list of nominees and winners is below.
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
ANIMATED SHORT FILM
LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
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