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Oscar Night Recap: The Top 5 Moments

  • Ryan Duncan blogspot for and Ryan Duncan, Entertainment and Culture editor
  • Updated Feb 27, 2017

No one ever accused the Oscars of being short on surprises, and last night’s Academy Awards had plenty to go around. From stunning upsets, to surprise guests, the show appeared determined to keep both viewers and actors on their toes. By now, social media is probably abuzz with the evening’s winners, but what about the ceremony itself? Well, as is tradition here at Crosswalk, let’s take a brief moment to look back on the best moments of the 89th Academy Awards. Here are the top five highlights of last night’s broadcast!

Viola Davis Thanks God in Acceptance Speech

After years of waiting, Viola Davis finally received her first Oscar win for a breathtaking performance in the movie Fences. As she accepted her statue, Davis gave an emotional speech about the tragedy of lost potential and thanked God repeatedly for the people He put in her life.

“I became an artist, and thank God I did because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.”     

All in all, it was a well-deserved victory for one of cinema’s most dedicated and hard-working figures.

The Academy Pays Tribute to Katherine Johnson

Before presenting the award for Best Documentary, the cast of Hidden Figures - Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monáe, and Octavia Spencer – welcomed a special guest to the stage: Katherine Johnson herself. The real-life NASA scientist Henson portrayed in the film was met with thunderous applause by the assembled guests as she was wheeled out into the spotlight. To watch this exceptional woman (who achieved so much while combating systemic racism) finally receive the recognition she was due brought a tear to more than a few eyes. As inspiring moments go, this one was hard to beat.

The White Helmets Wins Best Short Documentary

Though a fairly innocuous category, the award for Best Short Documentary became a lightning rod of political activity this year when three of the nominees chose to spotlight the Syrian civil war. In the end, the Oscar went to The White Helmets, which tells the story of everyday civilians who risk their lives to rescuethose injured in bombings. Director Orlando von Einsiedel accepted the award and urged viewers to help end the bloodshed in Syria, a speech which earned him a standing ovation. Amidst all the Oscar glint and glamor, it was encouraging to see the Academy honor a group of truly selfless heroes.

La La Land Wins Big, but…

From the beginning, La La Land was the Oscar movie to beat. The beloved musical had received 14 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (for Gosling), Best Actress (for Stone), and a slew more for its musical talents. As the evening progressed, La La Land gained steam and managed to scoop up awards for Best Director, Best Score, Best Original Song, and even a Best Actress statuette for Emma Stone, but when the time came for Best Picture…

Moonlight Wins Best Picture in Stunning Upset

Confusion reigned on stage last night over the Academy’s most coveted award. At first, it was announced that (to nobody’s surprise) La La Land had won Best Picture. However, in a sudden twist, it was revealed that the program’s card had actually been misplaced, and the true winner was Moonlight. Moonlight, which tells the story of a young, gay, African American man’s journey out of poverty and drug addiction, had been lauded by critics but was considered a dark horse in the race for Best Picture. Not only was this a stunning upset over Hollywood’s color-coated musical, it also raised new questions for viewers.

How does the Academy choose and monitor the Best Picture winner? What does it mean for filmmaking when a small, independent movie can topple a box office juggernaut? Have the new struggles of our modern culture finally overtaken the dreams of the past? I guess we will simply have to wait and find out the answers next year.     

What about you? What Oscar moments left you feeling shocked or surprised? Be sure to check out Crosswalk’s Top 10 Movies of the Year by following this link!

*Publiushed 2/27/2017