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article imageOp-Ed: Oscar post-mortem — You win a jet ski (Helen Mirren not included)

By Sarah Gopaul     Mar 5, 2018 in Entertainment
The 90th Academy Awards unfolded in a politically charged climate and everyone that took home an Oscar was also given the opportunity to say their piece without interruption.
This year I skipped an Academy Awards preview and decided to just watch the show rather than frequently share my thoughts over 280 characters. Which is not to say I didn’t have my favourites in most categories, or that I didn’t agree/disagree with some of the winners. Instead, I opted to put together a selection of observations in a single post-mortem.
  • First, the physical symbols of support for the Time’s Up/Me Too/Never Again movements were not nearly as visible as they were at the Golden Globes. In fact, it looked as if many people had lost their pins after the January broadcast. However, it still appeared to be top of mind for host Jimmy Kimmel and many of the winners, so maybe it’s a sign of the industry taking action vs. flaunting empty promises.
  • Kimmel’s opening monologue was a humorous mix of jabs at Harvey Weinstein, several nods to last year’s Best Picture mix-up and the usual fun-making of some of this year’s nominees, namely the ages of youngest nominee in 80 years, Timothée Chalamet, and the oldest nominee at 88, Christopher Plummer. Overall, it was generally tasteful and received a sufficient amount of laughter.
  • With it being such a politically and socially charged year, the decision not to interrupt anyone’s soapbox moment by playing them off was a respectable one (even if it did result in an extra long show).
    • However, the promise of a jet ski to the winner that delivered the shortest acceptance was a gag that just kept giving throughout the show, so kudos to whoever came up with that one.
  • There weren’t a lot of surprises when it came to who got to take home the golden statue for most categories… but there were a couple:
    • Jordan Peele’s win for Best Original Screenplay for the terrific and socially conscious horror movie, Get Out, was an incredibly pleasant surprise. It was great to see the Academy reward such stimulating writing.
    • Conversely, it was a bit of a shock to hear Coco’s “Remember Me” prevail over the empowering anthem, “This is Me,” from the otherwise mediocre The Greatest Showman. The song’s message is so powerful and relevant, and Keala Settle’s performance brought down the house, eliciting a standing ovation from the audience — the only one for a Best Original Song nominee. The Mexican ballad is memorable, but not more deserving of the win.
  • Guillermo Del Toro’s double first-time wins for Best Director and Best Picture only confirmed the film’s excellence. The Shape of Water won four of its 13 categories, adding Best Production Design and Best Original Score.
  • It was nice to see Roger A. Deakins finally take home an Oscar for Best Cinematography for Blade Runner 2049, considering this was his 14th nomination, which trumps Meryl Streep’s one-in-seven record.
  • France McDormand gave yet another poignant speech when she won the Oscar for Best Actress in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri — anyone should feel free to keep recognizing that woman’s talent and providing her with a forum to address… well… everyone. First she asked every nominated woman to stand with her before suggesting they all be contacted regarding job opportunities this week, and then she ended with two mysterious but meaningful words that she explained in the press room backstage: “inclusion rider.”
    • On that note, Lupita Nyong'o and Kumail Nanjiani’s message of support to fellow “dreamers” was just one more inspiring moment in a pretty heartfelt ceremony.
  • Every year someone is left out of the “in memoriam,” but this year horror fans were very disappointed to see major influencer and legend Tobe Hooper excluded from the list (though they did remember George A. Romero, so it doesn’t seem to be a genre thing).
  • The replacement of individual best picture nominee montages — as if they were that much more informative than the movie’s trailer or the snippet that plays as the nomination is announced — in favour of “moments in history” with some of the Academy’s eldest winners was a welcome update.
    • Also, those best acting montages that ran before each of the four categories were stellar reminders of some of the great pictures and performances of the past. Now one can only hope it’s a change that sticks for years to come and not just a special detour from regular programming due to the milestone anniversary.
Now where can I get a hot dog cannon, because Armie Hammer made it look so fun?
Happy 90th Oscar! See you next year.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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