This weekend, we watched as Hollywood feted a year we were hoping to forget — and surprisingly, the results were, on the whole, lovely. Viola Davis gave what should be her first of many Oscar speeches to come. Javier Bardem saluted Meryl Streep in The Bridges of Madison County. Mahershala Ali celebrated the birth of his daughter. With tears in her eyes and a word of remembrance for Bill Paxton, Jennifer Aniston introduced a blessedly muted tribute to last year’s fallen stars. But for all of the graciousness that made Sunday's Oscars one of the most genuinely moving celebrations of the year in movies that we’ve ever seen, the night was also peppered with enough moments of deliciously passive-aggressive behavior to justify skipping an episode of Big Little Lies. But what began as a series of mere paper cuts in an otherwise mild night ended as a prime-time massacre. We’ve broken down the best of the bloodbath.
Jimmy Kimmel’s Night of Self-Owns
Though the 2017 Oscars broadcast might very well be the best since the legendary Whoopi Goldberg triumph of 2002, this is not because of Jimmy Kimmel. At best, his job as a host was serviceable. At his worst, though — repeatedly insisting that no one has seen the nominated films, whining about not wanting to watch movies if they were sad, insulting the names of nonwhite guests despite the fact that he is an adult man who goes by “Jimmy” — Kimmel was a vicious self-roaster, revealing time and time again the depth of his own intellectual and comedic inadequacy.
Jimmy Kimmel and Matt Damon
And yet! Kimmel’s Matt Damon jokes might be a decade old, but they are in fact still funny. As an enthusiast of useless ephemera, I loved being reminded of We Bought a Zoo. As a watcher of Project Greenlight, it was a pleasure to see Matt Damon played off by a giant orchestra. And as a lover of box-office goss, I let out a legitimate gasp at hearing someone acknowledge out loud that Matt Damon lost $80 million on The Great Wall.
The Cookie Wars
Me, during Thin Mint season.
Asghar Farhadi’s Speech
True to Farhadi’s work, his speech in solidarity with those who have been affected by Donald Trump’s travel ban delivered in both content and form. Citing his respect for “the people of my country and those of [the] other six nations whom have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S.,” Farhadi added a second layer of shade by enlisting Anousheh Ansari — a NASA astronaut who became the first Iranian woman to travel into space — to read the statement.
Chrissy Teigen Sleeps Through the Boring Parts
Chrissy deserves special credit for finding a way to avoid watching Casey Affleck’s acceptance speech without the benefit of being able to change the channel when he came onscreen.
The Greatest Bloodbath of All: The Best Picture Fiasco, Part 1
One day we will know the full story behind the two-envelope, two Best Picture–winner fiasco of 2017, but until then, all we can do is break it down moment by moment to view the savagery that ensued.
We begin with the entrance of Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty to deliver a Bonnie and Clyde introduction to the new Best Picture winner. Though reports of backstage drama have emerged in the time since the broadcast, even we ignorant non-insiders should have known we were in for a wild ride when Shirley MacLaine waved to the stage from the audience. Despite the fact that Warren Beatty is her IRL-not-only-in-the-movies brother, Faye Dunaway still assumes (probably correctly!) that Shirley is waving to her and not to Warren. Hollywood: where water runs thicker than blood.
Warren makes moves to open the envelope. He seems confused from the beginning, and here is the moment when the subtle viciousness begins. Faye watches Warren struggle with the superior sympathy of a kindly nursing-home caretaker, her eyes and youthfully overlong sleeves seeming to whisper, “Ah, you once-beautiful dodderer, Annette Bening isn’t here to be your youth-crutch. I beat Jane Fonda for the role in Bonnie and Clyde and I may well be hotter than her now. I should be the one opening this envelope.”
The crowd starts to murmur, and at home, every auntie takes a moment to air their assumptions about Warren Beatty’s brain's age. Faye, clearly not wanting to be caught in the septuagenarian cross fire, tries to hurry Warren along, jokingly-but-not-jokingly calling out, “You’re impossible!” — and here is where the bloody tables turn yet again. Like the cranky not-yet-grandpa that he is, Warren gives up and bitchily hands Faye the envelope, knowing full well that it says "Emma Stone." Faye, in a rush of superlatively aged confidence, ignores the name, and just yells out the film written on the card: La La Land! Warren turns back to the crowd and lets Faye fall on their paper sword. As the La La Landers celebrate in their seats, Warren can be heard telling Faye, “It said Emma Stone.” Faye: “WHAT?”
Neither Warren nor Faye inform the La La Land producers of the problem. Two producers, Jordan Horowitz and Marc Platt, offer two speeches on the value of diversity and dreaming as Academy stage managers begin to rush the stage. Behind Platt, we can see as the La La Land team is informed of the error. Gosling laughs, Emma Stone is stunned and then laughs. But one producer, Fred Berger, decides he’s not going to give up his spotlight. He takes the mic after Platt and begins to thank his wife, his parents, and Damien Chazelle before the uproar behind him becomes unavoidable, and he gives up the dream, griping, “And we lost, by the way.” Jordan Horowitz takes the mic again, immediately correcting the error, showing the envelope, rightfully inviting the Moonlight team to the stage.
Jimmy Kimmel tells the La La Land producers to just keep the award before he tries to blame the confusion on Steve Harvey. Sorry, boo, this one’s on your watch!
At this point we are treated to the return of Warren. Fucking Warren! Warren, like so many woke bros who came before him and so many who have come since, encounters a problem which arose at least partly as the result of his own mistake ... and immediately finds a way to shift the blame to the nearest woman in the room. In his case, the nearest woman was Faye Dunaway, his copresenter.
“I want to tell you what happened. I opened the envelope and it said, 'Emma Stone, La La Land.' That’s why I took such a long look at Faye and at you. I wasn’t trying to be funny.”
Of course, by this point Faye was reportedly already backstage eating cashews. In a night of a thousand petty dramas, Faye Dunaway remains unbothered. Someone give this queen a comeback already. She knows DRAMA.