Tourists with selfie sticks and a surprise Hollywood ending make Jimmy Kimmel’s Oscars unforgettable – Los Angeles Times
Of all the things we expected from the Oscars this year, making us feel better was not one of them.
The last few major awards shows, after all, were not only about handing out trophies but a chance for honorees and presenters to voice their white-hot anger toward President Trumpâ€™s executive travel ban, Mexican wall and a divisive America they no longer recognized.
Sunday, however, the academy appeared to take a step back, and counterbalance the political tension of the past few months by refocusing on what Hollywood does best â€” entertain.
Some of the levity was delivered via intentional stunts, such as candy and snacks dropping out of the ceiling attached to parachutes, while other moments â€” presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway naming â€œLa La Landâ€ the winner for best picture when it was in fact â€œMoonlightâ€ â€” was not.
In one of the top moments of the evening before the showâ€™s surprise ending, host Jimmy Kimmel ushered a group of stunned tourists whoâ€™d just disembarked from a Starline bus on Hollywood Boulevard into the Dolby Theatre mid-ceremony. Dressed in cargo shorts, baseball hats and carrying selfie sticks, they were introduced to gown- and tux-clad luminaries such as Nicole Kidman, Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep.
â€œWhoâ€™s your favorite actor?â€ Kimmel asked one of the dazed tourists.
â€œThat man right there,â€ said the woman, pointing at Washington. The â€œFencesâ€ star got up and hugged her before performing a mock wedding ceremony for her and her fiancÃ©.
For theÂ stars being honored, it was a reminder that much of America is still drawn to their celebrity, regardless of the political storm outside the theater.
Thatâ€™s not to say there wasnâ€™t an edge to the proceedings. â€œI feel like youâ€™re ignoring the white celebrities,â€ said Kimmel to Edmund, Shelly, Pete and all the other tourists he was now on a first-name basis with. Kimmel was riffing on the criticism the Oscars have gotten over the last few years for a lack of diversity.
There were plenty more comments about America post Nov. 8, but the tone was less charged than that at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Golden Globes last month, when honorees such as Streep angrily ripped into Trump and his policies.
Gael Garcia Bernal called for respect of Mexican immigrants and the rejection of a border wall. A speech about international unity was read for foreign language film winner Asghar Farhadi, who boycotted the Oscars because of the travel ban imposed on Muslim-majority countries, including his nativeÂ Iran. Engineer Anousheh Ansari, the first Iranian to go into space, accepted the award on Farhadiâ€™s behalf. Presenter Mark Rylance (â€œBridge of Spiesâ€) commented about the importance of opposition and how women seem to be better at opposing without hate.
â€œI want to say thank you to President Trump,â€ said Kimmel in his opening monologue. â€œI mean, remember last year when it seemed like the Oscars were racist? It has been an amazing year for movies. Black people saved NASA and white people saved jazz. Thatâ€™s what you call progress.â€
He added: â€œAs you know, I donâ€™t have to tell anybody, the country is divided right now. Iâ€™ve been getting a lot of advice. Itâ€™s time to bring people together. You have to say something. Letâ€™s just get something straight off the top. I canâ€™t do that. Thereâ€™s only one â€˜Braveheartâ€™ in the room, and heâ€™s not going to unite us either. Mel [Gibson], you look great. I think the Scientology is working. I really do.â€
After playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney won the Oscar with director Barry Jenkins for the â€œMoonlightâ€ screenplay and made a speech about accepting the transgendered community, Kimmel quipped: â€œAnd remember, just because a screenplay is adapted, it doesnâ€™t mean we love it any less.â€
Interestingly, Trump was rarely mentioned by name unless it was by Kimmel himself, who joked that he was worried about the president because he hadnâ€™t tweeted about the late night hostâ€™s performance during the ceremony thus far.Â
Hollywood wasnâ€™t checked out, it just needed a breather, and perhaps a bit of levity. Besides, many of the films being honored â€” â€œHidden Figures,â€ â€œFences,â€ â€œMoonlight,â€ â€œLionâ€ â€” addressed the very issues on the forefront of the national discussion: race, gender identity and fear of The Other.
A celebratory tone was set early on with the opening number, an upbeat musical performance of â€œCanâ€™t Stop the Feelingâ€ by Justin Timberlake.Â
An Oscar version of â€œJimmy Kimmel Liveâ€™sâ€ mean tweets was read by the stars. Emma Stone read a tweet: â€œEmma Stone looks like a crack whore in every role she plays.â€ Then Ryan Gosling: â€œOh look at me Iâ€™m Ryan Gosling and perfect cheekbones. Go … yourself Ryan Gosling.â€
But it was the spectacular closer, when Dunaway announced the wrong best picture winner, that made an entertaining ceremony unforgettable. The entire â€œLa La Landâ€ cast was onstage when someone finally read the card and realized it that in fact â€œMoonlightâ€ had won.
It almost seemed like another Kimmel prank, like the ones heâ€™d pulled earlier in the evening on Matt Damon. But no, it was the real deal, a moment so dramatic it of course had to happen during Hollywoodâ€™s biggest night.
â€œI wasnâ€™t trying to be funny,â€ said Beatty.
â€œYeah,â€ Kimmel said, â€œbut you were.â€Â
Write a Reply or Comment:
You must be logged in to post a comment.