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The Best Moments from the Crazy 2017 Oscars

The Best Moments from the Crazy 2017 Oscars

Celebrate the best of the Oscars, we thought. Highlight the funniest moments and the best performances, pay tribute to the most tender speeches, and celebrate our favorite winners. It’ll be fun! And for nearly three hours and 40 minutes things were going swimmingly.

And then Mia walked out of Seb’s.

But even during the most chaotic, and what might become the most infamous moment in the 89-year history of the Academy Awards, there was indeed something to celebrate. So here are our favorite moments from the show, starting with the most memorable moment by a mile.

How the Cast and Crew of La La Land Handled “the Moment”: Imagine reaching the height of your profession, fulfilling an impossible dream, and experiencing it all in front of hundreds of millions of people the world over.

…and then in front of that same audience being told, “Oops.”

It’s impossible to picture yourself in that situation, so it’s impossible to know how any of us might react. But we’d like to think that we would handle the moment with even a modicum of the grace that we saw from the cast and crew of La La Land. Not only did they not make the situation worse, they took charge of the chaos by making it clear this wasn’t a joke (initially we thought this was some sort of stupid, meta Steve Harvey gag). But the reason it was truly special was how they endeavored to make sure the cast and crew of Moonlight could begin celebrating their historic win properly. They didn’t want to rob their colleagues of the moment, even though it had been taken from them in such cruel fashion.

I feel horrible for everyone involved with La La Land, even though I wanted Moonlight to win, but they rose above the moment by responding with dignity, and they deserve a Best for how they handled the worst moment in Oscars history.

That said…

Moonlight Wins Best Picture: Let’s put aside the circumstances of the announcement (please, someone let the Moonlight team come out on Jimmy Kimmel Live tomorrow night and give their speeches again, since we don’t remember a thing that was said when they took the stage), and focus on the fact that a gorgeous, important film pulled off an upset we didn’t think would happen.

This movie, one about a gay black child struggling with his identity from preadolescence to adulthood, awed us, and it deserves its place in the hallowed ground of Best Pictures winners. If you haven’t seen it yet, watch it now. If you have seen it, go watch it again.

Okay, now for all the stuff we liked before the disaster. (This was a pretty good Oscars, even if it was on the long side.)

The Ever-Changing Stage: I tried keeping track early on of all the different sets they were using, but gave up when it became clear they would be constantly changing all night. Those changes were seamless and impressive, and every set was elegant and befitting the grandeur of the show. The giant circle of blue lights that framed the whole thing made it that much better too. Visually there was a classic Hollywood feel to it.


Jimmy Kimmel Was a Great Host: People complain about the Oscar host no matter how well he or she does. I’d like to proclaim that Kimmel was really funny and on point, both with his written jokes and when he was working off the cuff (the way he riffed on the audiences’ weird groan about his OJ/bologna joke was masterful). He made us laugh out loud throughout, like when he said Hollywood doesn’t discriminate against people based on their home countries, but “based on their age and weight,” and even if some of our favorite jokes didn’t work with the live audience–“The only happy ending of all the nominees was in the middle of Moonlight.”–they worked with us.

But his best work came at the expense of an old nemesis…

Jimmy Kimmel Spends the Night Embarrassing Matt Damon:

“I’ve known Matt so long when I first met Matt, I was the fat one.”

“He handed what turned out to be an Oscar-caliber role over to his friend, and made a Chinese ponytail movie instead.”

Not to mention the fake “Inspiration” segment, where Kimmel made fun of Damon for We Bought a Zoo (I like that movie!), and then had the orchestra play him off when he was handing out an award.

The joke worked all night, which shouldn’t have been surprising since it’s been working for over a decade now. Still, running gags can sometimes grow tiresome at these shows, but not this one.

Montages for Former Acting Winners: We love a good montage, and the intro to each acting category, which showed past winners and their speeches, got to us every time.

Mahershala Ali’s Speech Thanking His Teachers: There were lots of great speeches and moments celebrating diversity and inclusion–like Anousheh Ansari reading director Asghar Farhadi’s powerful letter, and Gael García Bernal’s heartfelt comments about being a Mexican actor–but Ali’s speech thanking his teachers was universal enough that it spoke to everyone that ever had a mentor who believed in them.

Kate McKinnon’s “Makeup” Explanation: Just have Kate McKinnon give out every award. And be in every movie. And host all the award shows. Just let Kate McKinnon do everything.

Sting telling Colleen Atwood she would win for Costume Design: Sure, lots of people have won Oscars. But how many have had Sting predict it?

The Women of Hidden Figures Bringing the Real Katherine Johnson on Stage: Hidden Figures made me feel good about the world, and had me smiling long after I saw it. Seeing the real American hero at the heart of the film get recognized by a worldwide audience for her contributions to humanity was truly wonderful.

Auli’i Cravalho–TROOPER: The young Moana star got hit in the head by one of her accompanying flag-wielders turing her beautiful performance of the animated film’s Oscar-nominated original song “How Far I’ll Go”… and she didn’t even flinch.

She’s only 16, and she handled getting hit in the head–while singing in front of the whole world–better than I handled dropping a spoon while making dinner.

Honorable Mention to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s awesome intro to the song, as well as The Rock’s charming intro to Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The Inspiration Segments: Charlize Theron talking about Shirley MacLaine was sweet, and then MacLaine’s sass and wit made it even better. We think Michael J. Fox should be celebrated all the time, and the only way to do it right is to bring the DeLorean on stage with him. Seth Rogen made the segment even better with his Nike Mag shoes, and his joke about Tilda Swinton dressing like future Doc Brown killed us. And that was before he sang some Hamilton!

Gary and Vickie from the Tour Bus: Based on Twitter, reactions to this segment were divided, but we loved Gary and Vickie so we loved the whole thing. We would hope they’ll invite the whole world to their wedding now. Seems only right.

Nicole Kidman Being Proud of her Alien Heritage:

Wait, what? She’s Australian, not Alien? Then what the hell was that?

Free Candy Falling from the Sky: “Free candy falling from the sky” kind of explains itself, right? You can’t really do better than that in life.

Free Donuts and Cookies Falling from the Sky: Oh, well yeah, that’ll do it.

John Cho and Leslie Mann on the Academy’s Scientific and Technical Awards:
The funniest presenters of the night made a topic we–and they–don’t know much about feel special, and now we demand they get a TV show together.

Celebrity Mean Tweets–Specifically, the Tilda Swinton Dog:


It was a GREAT night for Tilda Swinton jokes.

John Legend Singing “City of Stars” and “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)”: The whole segment was gorgeous, and no offense to either Emma Stone or Ryan Gosling, but those two songs have never sounded better. A beautiful performance all around, and one that made us like the movie even more.

Sara Bareilles’ Rendition of “Both Sides Now” During the In Memoriam: A classic song and a perfect choice for the segment, it was a pretty and touching arrangement with an equally beautiful vocal performance.

Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway Look Amazing: Sure, no one will ever focus on this now, but Dunaway is 76 an Beatty is 79. Daaaamn. No, no don’t focus on that envelope that says “Actress in a Leading Role.”

Hopefully we look half as good if we’re ever involved in the next worst moment in the history of the Oscars.

But what was your favorite moment from the show? Double check your answers, then tell us yours in the comments below.

Images: ABC

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