It’s finally here: The 89th Annual Academy Awards, a celebration of cinema presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS). It’s the one awards ceremony in which members of every branch of the entertainment industry get to vote for the best pictures, performances and technical achievements of the year, and it’s always one of the most watched television events of the year.
Every Academy Awards ceremony seems to come pre-packaged with a narrative and this year is no exception. La La Land, Damien Chazelle’s nostalgic music about young, struggling artists in Hollywood has been nominated for a whopping 14 Academy Awards, a feat only match twice before in history, by All About Eve and Titanic. And although La La Land faces stiff competition in many categories from films like Fences, Moonlight and Hidden Figures, the real question on everyone’s minds is just how much DOES the Academy love this musical?
Could La La Land really sweep the Academy Awards? We’ll find out when the Oscars are announced this evening, but we’ll be very surprised if it doesn’t win most of the gold statues this evening. Hollywood has gone gaga for La La, to the extent that the film even has to compete against itself in the Best Original Song category, where it’s been nominated twice.
Meanwhile, industry analysts are watching closely for any potential surprises at this year’s ceremony. So many of the awards seem like a sure thing that even the smallest upset is likely to make headline news. Could Ryan Gosling take Best Actor away from Casey Affleck and Denzel Washington, who seem to be neck-and-neck for their acclaimed performances in (respectively) Manchester By The Sea and Fences? Can anything beat Zootopia in the Best Animated Feature category? Heck, at this point pundits will lose a gasket if The Jungle Book doesn’t win for Best Visual Effects, that’s how tied up the race is right now.
The Oscars are about to be handed out, so there’s no point in speculating any further. Join us now as we watch the Academy Awards with you, live, and update you on the fly with all the winners and all the analysis you can handle. And the Oscars go to…
Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Mahershala Ali wins the first Oscar of the night, for his incredible supporting performance in Moonlight. Mahershala Ali plays Juan, a drug dealer who becomes a profoundly positive influence for a young, gay black boy as he grows up in Florida. It’s the first Oscar win for Moonlight this evening, and the first Oscar win for Mahershala Ali (who was also celebrating his first ever nomination). It’s been quite an impressive year for Ali, who also appeared in the Oscar nominee Hidden Figures and the hit television series Luke Cage.
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Suicide Squad
The Oscar for makeup and hairstyling goes to Suicide Squad, a film that proved quite divisive amongst fans and critics but which undeniably had a LOT of makeup and hairstyling.
Best Costume Design: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Colleen Atwood wins her fourth Oscar, for the Harry Potter prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a film that combines fantasy elements and a period setting. Colleen Atwood has previously won Oscars for the films Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha and Alice in Wonderland.
Best Documentary Feature: O.J.: Made in America
Ezra Edelman wins his first Academy Award for O.J.: Made in America, a 467-minute documentary that chronicles the life of O.J. Simpsons from a sports hero to a convicted felon. It’s only the latest accolade for Edelman’s documentary, which has won nearly universal acclaim since its debut early this year, despite some early controversy over whether the film – which was produced for television – qualified for the Oscars.
Best Sound Editing: Arrival
A film that relies entirely on innovative sound editing won well-deserved Academy Award. Arrival is the story of mankind’s first interaction with an alien species, and focuses the struggles between the two races to communicate.
Best Sound Mixing: Hacksaw Ridge
Mel Gibson’s World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge wins the Academy Award for Sound Mixing, an unexpected win for a film that many expected would go home empty-handed tonight. Hacksaw Ridge was Kevin O’Connell’s 21st Oscar nomination and – ending a streak that lasted decades – his very first win.
Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis, Fences
Viola Davis wins her first Academy Award for Fences, playing a role she also performed on Broadway with her co-star and director Denzel Washington. Viola Davis has been nominated for two Oscars before tonight, for Best Actress in The Help and Best Supporting Actress in Doubt, and there are many who would argue that her award is long, long overdue.
Best Foreign Language Film: The Salesman (Iran)
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Asghar Farhadi wins his second Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, after previously winning the Oscar for his drama A Separation, in 2011. Asghar Farhadi was not present to accept his award, and sent a message protesting America’s recent travel ban, highlighting the dangers of dividing the world and sabotaging our capacity for empathy. His film, The Salesman, is a dramatic mystery about an actor whose own capacity for empathy is challenged when his wife is victimized by a stranger.
Best Animated Short Subject: Piper
The Pixar animated short Piper, about a little bird who befriends a crab and discovers a new way to hunt other crustaceans, wins the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. It’s an adorable little movie that played in front of the blockbuster feature Finding Dory.
Best Animated Feature: Zootopia
Disney’s unexpectedly political animated comedy Zootopia, about a metropolis comprised of different animal species who are torn apart by distrust and speciesism, wins the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. It was heavily favored for this award since it broke the box office and earned nearly universal critical acclaim in early 2016.
Best Production Design: La La Land
La La Land wins its first Academy Award of the evening, for Best Production Design, an award that many expected would go to the musical for capturing the many facets of Los Angeles from a nostalgic and magical point of view.
Best Visual Effects: The Jungle Book
Jon Favreau’s ambitious visual effects blockbuster The Jungle Book, which created photorealistic animal characters and wilderness environments that fooled many audience members, earns the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. This award comes as no surprise but it is, obviously, well-deserved.
Best Editing: Hacksaw Ridge
In the biggest upset of the evening so far, Mel Gibson’s World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge wins the Academy Award for Best Editing. John Gilbert earns his first Oscar here. He was previously nominated in 2002 for his work on The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings. It’s an impressive showing for a film that, again, many expected to be overlooked entirely this evening.
Best Documentary Short: The White Helmets
The Netflix documentary The White Helmets wins the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short. It’s a brutal and harrowing documentary about the rescue teams that save bombing victims in Syria.
Best Live-Action Short Subject: Sing
The intriguing and suspenseful Sing wins the Academy Award for Best Live-Action Short Subject. It’s the story of a young girl who is asked to keep a troubling secret by her choir teacher, and the way that her classmates respond to the oppression of their elders. And it is not, obviously, to be confused with the animated feature film of the same name, which premiered in theaters last December.
Best Cinematography: La La Land
Linus Sandgren wins his first Academy Award for La La Land, a film that colorfully evokes a whole spectrum of romantic moods and musical moments. It’s his first nomination as well, after a career that includes the David O. Russell dramas Joy and American Hustle.
Best Original Score: La La Land
Justin Hurwitz wins the Academy Award for Best Original Score for the musical La La Land. He’s been nominated for three Oscars, all of them tonight. We’ll see if he wins a second Oscar for co-writing the songs “City of Stars” or “Audition” in just a few moments.
Best Original Song: “City of Stars,” from La La Land
La La Land beats La La Land to win in the Best Original Song category, and yes, Justin Hurwitz just won his second Academy Award. One can only imagine how mad Justin Hurwitz must be at Justin Hurwitz for winning this award instead of Justin Hurwitz.
Best Original Screenplay: Manchester By The Sea
Kenneth Lonergan wins his first Academy Award for writing Manchester By The Sea, an acclaimed and beautiful drama about the many complex, sad, and frequently humorous ways people deal with death and loss. Kenneth Lonergan is also nominated for Best Director tonight. He was previously nominated for Best Original Screenplay for his directorial debut You Can Count On Me and Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York.
Best Adapted Screenplay: Moonlight
Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney win the Academy Award for their screenplay Moonlight, which is based on a play by McCraney titled In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue. It’s a coming of age drama told in three acts by three different actors at different times in a young man’s life, as he becomes a product of his many influences and gradually accepts his homosexuality in an environment that doesn’t welcome him.
Best Director: Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Damien Chazelle becomes the youngest Best Director recipient in Oscars history, narrowly edging out Norman Taurog (who won the award for Skippy in 1930/1931 ceremony). This award usually goes hand-in-hand with Best Picture but it’s been a rather unexpected night, and although La La Land has won more Oscars than any other film, it hasn’t received as many as industry analysts expected. Could there still be an upset? (Probably not, but maybe!)
Best Actor: Casey Affleck, Manchester By The Sea
Casey Affleck wins his first Academy Award for Manchester By The Sea, in which he plays a man destroyed by grief who tries to avoid returning to family life after his brother dies and forces him to take custody of his nephew. He was previously nominated for Best Supporting Actor for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford in 2007.
Best Actress: Emma Stone, La La Land
Emma Stone picks up the Oscar for La La Land, an award she had long been expected to win. She was previously nominated for Best Supporting Actress in 2014 for the Best Picture winner Birdman.
Best Picture: Moonlight
IT’S THE BIGGEST BLUNDER IN ACADEMY AWARDS HISTORY. After Warren Beatty announced that La La Land won the Oscar for Best Picture, and after the producers of La La Land gave their acceptance speech, it was revealed that Moonlight actually won Best Picture instead. Warren Beatty claims he was given the wrong envelope, which read “Emma Stone, La La Land.” Jimmy Kimmel says “the good news is we got to see some extra speeches” and promises he’ll never come back after this. Wow. Just… WOW.
When Oscar Nominations Go Bad | The Academy’s Biggest Losers
Top Photo: Lionsgate / A24
William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on The B-Movies Podcast and Canceled Too Soon, and watch him on the weekly YouTube series What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.
The Biggest Oscar Losers
The Color Purple (1985)
The Turning Point (1977)
American Hustle (2013)
Gangs of New York (2002)
True Grit (2010)
The Little Foxes (1941)
Peyton Place (1957)
The Elephant Man (1980)
The Nun's Story (1959)
The Remains of the Day (1993)
The Sand Pebbles (1966)