The most awaited event of the year in the Cinema industry, The Academy Award Oscar ceremony was staged February, 26th. Since 1929, the Oscar “honor outstanding moviemaking achievements and thereby encourage excellence in all facets of motion picture production.” (Source) This year, the 89th version will award the best movies of 2016.

The Oscar ceremony is followed by more than 30 millions viewers in the US and hundred of million in more than 225 countries worldwide. Behind the SuperBowl, it is the most watched program on the American television. But the popularity of the contest is in decline. The audience of the show dropped 4% from last year ceremony, to reach 32.9 millions viewers. Hosted this year by the TV presenter Jimmy Kimmel, the ceremony didn’t stop surprising us, until the very end.

Nomination

In the past 2 years, the Academy has been under fire for having a lack of racial diversity in the nominees. At the time, it caused a big upset among influential black personalities who spoke up about that concern.

This year, for the first time in the Academy’s history, each acting category had black actors and for the fourth time, a black director. For others ethnicities, the problem seems to be continuous. The National Hispanic Media Coalition stated that latino actors are “not getting the opportunities to work in front of the camera, and with few exceptions, at the back of the camera as well.” For the Asian community, only one actor was nominated this year.

“La La Land” received the most nomination this year. Equalling a record of 14 nominations, previously hold by “All about Eve” and “Titanic”. “Arrival” and “Moonlight”, both received 8 nominations; 6 nominations for “Hacksaw Ridge”, “Lion” and “Manchester by Sea”. The new movie by Denzel Washington, “Fences” received 4 nominations just like “Hell or High Water” by David Mackenzie.

The Ceremony

The ceremony started not on a cinematographic tone, but rather a political one. Allusion made by Fallon to immigration, discrimination and the widely criticised politic from the new-elect president Trump. Fallon also took the opportunity to ask the audience in The Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles to give a well-deserved ovation to actress Meryl Streep, who has been called “one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood” by President Trump, despite her 20 Oscar nomination and 3 Academy Awards. A reminder that the Academy award doesn’t shy away from his militant responsibilities.

The awards

Best Picture: Moonlight

Best Director: Damien Chazelle in La La Land

Best Actor: Casey Affleck in Manchester by the sea

Best Actress: Emma Stone in La La Land

Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali in Moonlight

Best supporting Actress: Viola Davis in Fences

Best Original Screenplay: Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester by the sea

Best Adapted Screenplay: B. Jenkins and T. A. McCraney for Moonlight

Best Animated Feature Film: Zootopia

Best Foreign Language Film: The salesman from Iran

Best Documentary-Feature: O.J.: Made in America

Best documentary-Short: The White Helmets

Best Sound Editing: Arrival

Best Sound Mixing: Hacksaw Ridge

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Suicide Squad

Best Visual Effects: The Jungle Book

La La Land end the night with the most awards, receiving 6 Oscars.

Moonlight “snatched” the Oscar of the Best picture and finish with a total of 3 Oscars.

Manchester by Sea, produced by Matt Damon; and Hacksaw Ridge, end up with 2 Oscars each.

Damien Chazelle becomes the youngest Oscar winning Director at 32.

All the actors, leading and supporting actors, win their first Academy award.

Conclusion

This year, movies nominated were more focus on stories than spectacle (Fences, Moonlight, Manchester by the sea). La La Land reminded us that musical movies are not obsolete and can still be popular. We also learn that the Academy rewards quality and meaningful movies over big blockbusters. And we love it for that. Moonlight, being the movie with the less box office gross sales among the nominees, earn the ultimate grail in the Cinema World. A recognition well earned.

In a time of change and uncertainty, especially in the US at the moment but also globally, films are a great source of entertainment and inspiration. A mission that the Academy Awards, and the others film awards, must preserve and continue. Because, and we can’t forget that, the best movies are the one spreading a story that can connect us all.

Antoine Barthelemy