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MCC Live-Tweeting: Oscars 2018

Jimmy Kimmel!

Tonight one random winner took home a statuette personally contaminated by the host himself!

The 90th Academy Awards kicked off Sunday night on ABC with a mildly amusing spoof of olde-tyme theatrical newsreels before returning host Jimmy Kimmel threw down an unprecedented gauntlet: winners were encouraged to speak on any topic they wanted to, no matter how political or incendiary, for as long as they wanted. This promise was eventually broken, much to the consternation of The Shape of Water producer J. Miles Dale, who got orchestra’d out of his spotlight moment because everyone had assumed director Guillermo Del Toro should have the last word.

Also intermittently livening up the night was Kimmel’s chief running gag, a promise of a free jet ski to whoever had the shortest speech. Thus began a night of push and pull, of comparison and contrast, of #MeToo and #TimesUp and diversity abounding and white guys still winning lots of things but not all the things.

Kimmel’s contributions and interruptions were kept to a barer minimum than last year, setting aside one segment that once again indulged his addiction to practical jokes on ordinary people. Assorted parties dropped a few wisecracks at the expense of high-ranking politicians as well as accused sex offenders, but a surprising amount of the commentary was kept on the positive side — a celebration of artists and advancement instead of roasting the haters and attackers. In that sense, some speeches were more refreshing than others.

The following movies won the awards, from most to any-at-all:

The Shape of Water: 4 — Picture, Director (Guillermo Del Toro), Original Score, Production Design
Dunkirk: 3 — Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing
Blade Runner 2049: 2 — Cinematography, Visual Effects
Coco: 2 — Animated Feature Film, Original Song (“Remember Me”)
Darkest Hour: 2 — Actor (Gary Oldman), Makeup and Hairstyling
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: 2 — Actress (Frances McDormand), Supporting Actor (Sam Rockwell)

Call Me by Your Name: Adapted Screenplay
Get Out: Original Screenplay
I, Tonya: Supporting Actress (Allison Janney)
Phantom Thread: Costume Design

A Fantastic Woman: Foreign Language Film
Icarus: Documentary Feature
Dear Basketball: Animated Short Film
The Silent Child: Live-Action Short Film
Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405: Documentary Short Film

Major (or “major”) nominees that walked out empty handed: Lady Bird; The Post; Mudbound; Roman J. Israel, Esq.; The Florida Project; All the Money in the World; The Disaster Artist; Logan; Molly’s Game; The Big Sick

For your entertainment and time code follow-along, rather than indulge in the 3000-word simulated live-blog summaries I used to compile for friends, enclosed instead are the results of my live-tweeting the 233-minute ceremony, which was three minutes longer than last year’s. I’ve iinserted annotations for value-added context where appropriate and/or to capture memorable seconds that I didn’t mention on the fly. Whenever actors’ names are invoked who weren’t nominees, it means they were presenters on stage.

(Peele’s very real accessory was a Get Out nod.)

(In response to a generic montage that one critic called “A Salute to Movies by Movies Starring Movies”.)

(Cameras kept pointing at audience member Jordan Horowitz, the La La Land producer who stepped forward last year to reveal the true Best Picture winner was Moonlight.)

(Effects specialists and aficionados will argue till the break of dawn to justify having two separate Sound categories, but more often than not, one movie wins both categories and inflates their total Oscar count, giving them an unfair boost in the next day’s headlines.)

(The one and only time Kimmel beat me to a punchline. I’d spent too long mentally searching for another adjective besides “boring”, but was too stubborn to delete the whole thing and just failed at reworking it.)

(In response to presenter and nominated The Big Sick co-writer Kumail Nanjiani, who had quipped, “I’m from Pakistan and Iowa, two places that Hollywood can’t find on a map.”

(My whiteness is showing. Mexican writer/director/actor Derbez has had decent US box office success with his films Instructions Not Included and How to Be a Latin Lover. I recall each film when they appeared on Box Office Mojo’s Top 10 lists and thinking to myself each time, “I have never heard of this.”)

(The trailer for the winner, Chile’s A Fantastic Woman, played in front of any and every showing I attended this season at Keystone Art Cinema, our local art-house theater.)

(Presenting two awards back-to-back as a team were Star Wars: The Last Jedi costars Mark Hamill, Oscar Isaac, Kelly Marie Tran, and BB-8.)

(Large portions of Twitter were deeply annoyed at the idea of Academy Award Winner Kobe Bryant. I don’t watch basketball and I thought highly of what animator Glen Keane did for Bryant’s narration.)

(A review of Alex Garland’s Annihilation will be forthcoming in the near future after some downtime. Cranking out 13,000 words for my “Oscar Quest” these past nine days — not including this entry — has me a bit burned out at the moment.)

(My Whiteness Is Showing II: Whitey’s Whiteout. That should be Girls Trip, not Girls Night. Either way I’d still like to hear more from Tiffany Haddish.)

(Everyone knew there’d have to be a special segment celebrating diversity and lambasting sexual harassment. Any related flame wars missed me as usual, though.)

(Kimmel poked fun at the elderly Christopher Plummer by asking him how he thought Lin-Manuel Miranda’s performance compared to the real Alexander Hamilton. Plummer is 88; James Ivory is 89.)

(I remember Wes Studi from Dances with Wolves and Mystery Men, but was surprised — though not complaining — that (a) he was their Native American representative of choice, and (b) the producers thought through their theme deeply enough to remember to include Native Americans. After taking an oblique potshot at President Trump that didn’t elicit much of a response, Studi also delivered part of his speech in Navajo.)

(Those hoping Mudbound‘s Rachel Morrison would make even more history and become the first woman to win the category were outnumbered by those with their fingers crossed for 716-time nominee Deakins, the Susan Lucci of cinematography.)

(I haven’t seen The Greatest Showman yet or ever heard of Keala Settle before tonight, but it was awesome to see a plus-size soloist in the house.)

(My wife doesn’t watch the Oscars with me, generally having no use for them except one: she always looks forward to their In Memoriam montage. I couldn’t tell you which actors they missed in this year’s, but I expect a full report from her in the morning.)

(…for Best Director.)

(…bringing the show’s Barbarella references grand total to 1. For, like, this entire millennium to date.)

(Best Actress Frances McDormand fully took Kimmel up on his initial promise. Among other bold declarations, she also had all the female nominees in all categories stand up in the audience while she continued. She ended her time at the mic teaching all of them the phrase “INCLUSION. RIDER.” I haven’t double-checked the exact wording, but I’m pretty sure this was her vehement recommendation to actresses and other female creative types that they insist their contracts henceforth include clauses demanding parity in gender and minority hiring on all their future jobs. A well-meaning perk if you have the clout to demand it.)

(I don’t need to explain the return of Beatty and Dunaway to present Best Picture again, do I? It’s late and I’m getting too tired to explain more jokes.)

(At the end, the man who clothed everyone in Phantom Thread with exquisite refinement was brought on stage is his new jet ski. Presumably a rehearsed gag. If not, my compliments to Mark Bridges for being totally game to play along.)

(Brendan. BRENDAN O’Brien. I was this close to surviving all four hours without a single annoying typo. THIS CLOSE.)

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