The Oscars: An evening aimed to celebrate and empower

 Jimmy Kimmel speaks at the Oscars on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Jimmy Kimmel speaks at the Oscars on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

On a stage that looked like a set from a live action “Frozen,” Jimmy Kimmel served as the host for the 90th Oscars Awards ceremony, opening with his own brand of Oscar-themed political humor and offering a pair of Jet Skis to whoever gave the shortest speech. Characteristically, he read the first “joke” told at the first Oscars, which played into his own running joke about about Christopher Plummer’s age.

Given that it was the 90th anniversary of the Oscars, there was not excessive fanfare, although there was an emotional movie montage thanking audiences for 90 years of watching movies. Later, to thank the audiences even more personally, Kimmel led a troupe of celebrities across the way to the TCL Chinese movie theater, where audiences were treated to a surprise meeting with actors such as Ansel Elgort and Gal Gadot. Really, the thanking of audiences is a little ironic because, as Kimmel pointed out at the beginning of the evening, films nominated for Best Picture largely aren’t the most financially successful movies of the year.

The night featured four performances of original songs. The first was “Mighty River,” from “Mudbound,” performed by Mary J. Blige, the first person to be nominated for both Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Song. Later, Miguel showed up for a performance of “Remember Me” from “Coco,” highlighting Latin culture. “Mystery of Love” was performed by composer Sufjan Stevens, a song from “Call Me By Your Name.” Lastly, “This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman” was performed by Keala Settle, a stunning song preaching self-acceptance. The Oscar for Original Song eventually was awarded to “Remember Me,” while the Best Original Score went to “The Shape of Water.”

Dave Chapelle also introduced Common and Andra Day to perform, “Stand Up For Something,” sung in honor of unsung heroes. This performance received a standing ovation. Eddie Vedder also sang a Tom Petty song while commemorating those in the film business who passed away this year.

Later on, meaningful social changes were also honored when a clip was played of directors and actors speaking to how movies like “The Big Sick,” “The Post,” “Wonder Woman” and “Mudbound” are beginning to show audiences that straight white men aren’t the only ones with stories worth telling.

Cast members from the latest Star Wars movie made some sub-par Star Wars jokes before presenting the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film to “Dear Basketball” and the Oscar for Animated Feature Film to “Coco” with the award for Best Animated Feature Film. Coco’s win prompted speeches thanking the culture of Mexico and speaking to the importance of representation, a theme throughout the evening.

The Best Documentary Feature award went to “Icarus,” a Netflix documentary about doping in sports. Maya Rudolph and Tiffany Haddish gave the Documentary Short Subject Award  to “Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405” and the award for Live Action Short Film to “Silent Child,” a film about a deaf child growing up in a hearing world, leading Rachel Shenton to give her speech in sign language, again emphasizing inclusivity.

For the most talked about award of the evening, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway came back after presenting the wrong award last year to correct their mistake and award Best Picture to “The Shape of Water.”

Best Actor went to Gary Oldman from “Darkest Hour” and Best Actress went to Frances McDormand from “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” who asked all the female nominees to stand with her in a touching moment of female empowerment.

Emma Stone, who won Best Actress last year, presented the Award for Directing to Guillermo del Toro with “Phantom Thread.”

Viola Davis, last year’s Actress in a Supporting Role, presents the award for Actor in a Supporting Role to Sam Rockwell from “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Mahershala Ali, winner of Actor in a Supporting Role presented to Allison Janney the Actress in a Supporting Role Award for her work in “I, Tonya.”

Ansel Elgort and Eiza Gonzaléz presented the Oscars for both Sound Editing and Sound Mixing to “Dunkirk,” which must have been a little disappointing given that their own movie, “Baby Driver,” was also nominated for both awards. “Dunkirk” also won the Film Editing.

Eva Marie Saint presented the award for Costume Design to Phantom Thread, which sort of makes sense given that it was a movie about a dressmaker. Lupita Nyong’o and Kumail Nanjiani presented the Oscar for Achievement in Production Design to “The Shape of Water.” These two wins left “Beauty and the Beast” going home Oscar-less.

Rita Moreno, stunning in her 1961 role as Anita in West Side Story, presented the Foreign Language Film to “A Fantastic Woman.” Sandra Bullock presented the Cinematography award to “Blade Runner,” which also won for Visual Effects. Gal Gadot and Armie Hammer present Hair and Makeup to the team from “Darkest Hour.”

Best Adapted Screenplay was awarded to James Ivory with “Call Me By Your Name,” and the Best Original Screenplay was awarded to Jordan Peele for “Get Out.”


Alex Houdeshell is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at alexandra.houdeshell@uconn.edu.