When it came to awards, the 2018 Oscars were the all about The Shape of Water, but the ceremony for the 90th Academy Awards was full of much more varied highs – and lows. The annual Oscar ceremony is always a highlight of the cinematic calendar. Across the globe, millions tune in to see who will be taking home one of the coveted gold statuettes. Whatever your opinions – whether you feel the right movies, actors, or directors won – there’s one thing everyone tends to agree on; the ceremony itself is always worth watching because something always happens.
Granted, there was never going to be another shocker like there was in 2017, when Warren Beatty was given the wrong envelope and accidentally named La La Land as Best Picture instead of Moonlight. There are now additional procedures in place to ensure something like that never happens again, but even so, the Oscars 2018 still threw up plenty of surprises, great moments and… well, some that weren’t so great.
Jimmy Kimmel’s Hilarious Opening Monologue
This being the 90th Oscars, there needed to be something of a celebration, and that came with the opening montage. Shown in black and white, in the style of an old cinefilm, host Jimmy Kimmel talked us through the red carpet arrivals, and then the ceremony came alive with a burst of color.
Kimmel seemed like a safe pair of hands last year, despite the now legendary mix-up, but his opening speech for 2018 didn’t pull any punches. When discussing Chadwick Boseman’s red carpet arrival, Kimmel mused about Wakanda having a Black leader. “Can you imagine?” he asked wickedly. “Wouldn’t that be swell?” That dig at the current President was quickly followed by a nod to Lupita Nyong’o; noting that she was born in Mexico and raised in Kenya, Kimmel then added that he was expecting the President to begin his bathroom tweeting spree any second.
The speech covered more than just Trump, marking Kimmel out as one of the most dextrous hosts. One subject that is currently at the forefront of our volatile socio-political climate is the #MeToo movement. Kimmel tackled the subject with ease, calling the statue of Oscar a “statue of limitations,” and the perfect guy because he “has his hands where you can see them, never says a rude word, and he doesn’t have a penis.” Kimmel then raised the matter of Harvey Weinstein being expelled from the Academy, adding that “if we can work together to stop sexual harassment in the workplace, if we can do that, women will only have to deal with harassment all the time at every other place they go.”
Another hot topic for Kimmel throughout the night was the popularity of Black Panther, which is still reigning supreme at the top of the box office. “I remember a time when a minority or a female couldn’t front a superhero movie,” Kimmel said, referencing Black Panther and Wonder Woman. “And I remember that because it was March last year.” Boseman certainly appreciated the nods, too; later on, when returning from a commercial break, Kimmel quipped “In the first 38 minutes of the ceremony. Black Panther has grossed another $48 million dollars at the box office,” and Boseman laughed, rubbing his hands together with glee.
The Various Attempts To Make Speeches Shorter
A long-running Oscar joke is the length of the ceremony each year. It’s renowned for overrunning, and in recent years we’ve become accustomed to the music cutting in over the end of acceptance speeches, so Kimmel decided to get in there first. Teasing the audience to keep things quick, he then told them the person with the shortest acceptance speech could win a “fabulous jet ski,” which was then expertly modeled by none other than Helen Mirren. Just in case the audience had forgotten, though, Kimmel said he’d decided against the music and he had a new tact to try. Enter Lakeith Stanfield yelling “Get Out!” in full character costume from the movie.
The running gag didn’t stop there though; as the evening progressed, Kimmel upped the prize, throwing in a trip to Lake Havasu as well. However, all of this may have backfired with the Best Picture awarding: The Shape of Water‘s producers were played off after Guillermo del Toro’s first speech, leading to confusion on stage.
The Star Wars: The Last Jedi Cast Present Coco Animated Feature
There was seemingly no end to the impressive stars that Kimmel had supporting him, although the highlights may have to be Star Wars: The Last Jedi‘s Mark Hamill, Kelly-Marie Tran, and Oscar Isaac (joined by BB-8) presenting Best Animated Short, and Best Animated Feature. Their entire time on stage was a delight, with Isaac rubbing the droid’s belly and entering into a running gag about understanding BB-8’s chirps. Hamill was on classic form, with Dad jokes aplenty (including “don’t say La La Land,” as he opened the envelope to announce Dear Basketball as the Best Animated Short winner).
Perhaps best of all, though, was Isaac’s sheer exuberance at announcing Coco as the winner of Best Animated Feature.
The Never-Ending Movie Montages
Again in honor of this being the 90th Academy Awards, the evening was peppered with movie montages, which lifted the mood of the evening and provided great entertainment. The centerpiece was a lengthy piece covering iconic movie moments, but others were used to put focus on certain aspects and announce the four acting categories.
However, not everyone was on board with the montages: on social media, many viewers found them overly long or to be padding out the runtime. Considering the show was nearly four hours long – and despite an earlier start time still finished as late as always – they’re not totally wrong.
Kimmel and Friends Gatecrash a Movie Showing
Ellen started it all with her selfie and pizza delivery, and now, each and every year we have the Oscar presenter trying to go one better by pulling some madcap stunt. Last year, Kimmel had an LA tour bus stop off in the middle of the ceremony, and this year tried to top it.
Kimmel decided to lead a group of celebrity guests next door to a theater where a preview for A Wrinkle in Time was showing: Gal Gadot, Mark Hamill, Guillermo del Toro, Lin Manuel Miranda, Ansel Elgort, Margot Robbie, Armie Hammer, and Lupita Nyong’o all made the short walk, surprising the audience with candy, a sub, and hot dog canons. Did it work? While it may have been fun on paper, though, in practice, it was rather awkward and insanely out of control – especially as the gang interrupted the movie to do it. The best part? Gal Gadot introducing herself and Kimmel with “I don’t know if you know who we are? Oh, you do.”
Best Live-Action Short Acceptance Speech In Sign Language
Best Live-Action Short isn’t usually a category that draws that much attention, but the acceptance this year was something special. It was won by Chris Overton and Rachel Shenton for their short, The Silent Child, which tells the story of Libby, a profoundly deaf four-year-old. Shenton wrote the movie, and also stars in it as the social worker who teaches Libby sign language. When arriving on stage to collect the Oscar, Shenton preempted her speech by saying she’d promised Maisie Sly, the little girl who plays Libby, that she would sign her acceptance speech. She found it difficult as her hands were shaking, but she managed it beautifully and fluently. The acceptance was rounded off with Overton thanking Shenton, his fiancee, for her performance and script.
Me Too and Time’s Up
Credit to the Academy for not ignoring two of the biggest social movements right now: Me Too and Time’s Up. In a special segment, the Academy put the spotlight firmly on those who have, in previous years, been overlooked in Hollywood. We heard from women in film, from minorities, and from all of those who have had to deal with under-representation their whole lives. As Kumail Nanjiani rightly pointed out, he’s spent his life watching movies made by straight white men starring straight white mean, and he’s found something to identify with. Now it’s the other way around, and why shouldn’t it be?
The segment was a powerful reminder of the impact movies can have on all of us, and how fantastic it is to be seeing the status quo finally starting to shift to be more inclusive.
Frances McDormand’s Speech
Best Actress was awarded to McDormand, for her emotive and spellbinding performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. When collecting the award, McDormand thanked all the usual friends and family that you’d expect. Then she set Oscar on the floor, and encouraged all female nominees, from all categories, to stand. It was a powerful and emotional moment, but McDormand didn’t milk it at all. In fact, she played it perfectly; using humor to emphasize her point, encouraging male filmmakers to call these women into their offices for meetings about future projects. Seeing the pedigree of women standing, she definitely has a point.
She left the stage with two words: inclusion rider. A contractual clause that requires a certain level of diversity on a project, this is likely to start a major wave of change in Hollywood.
Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty Return
Throughout the ceremony, Kimmel didn’t shy away from poking fun at last year’s Best Picture mixup. The big homage came at the end, with the Academy giving Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty another shot at presenting Best Picture – this time without any mistake. Kimmel kept it light: “We’re nearing the end. What could possibly go wrong?” he asked, before introducing the pair on the “now 51st anniversary of Bonnie and Clyde.” The duo made light of the situation, and aside from Beatty struggling at first to get the card out of the envelope, all went off without a hitch – although Guillermo del Toro did want to check the card before starting his speech.
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