Tuesday, February 28, 2017

89th Oscars 2017: Sunday, February 26 2017

Derek McLean - designer
Charles West Film Group
After-Oscar Discussion
Monday, February 27 2017
1:30 3:30 pm
Party Room, Floor 31

We are grateful to Management
for very kindly giving us the use of the Party Room for our gathering.

We had such a lively discussion about the 2017 Oscars this afternoon.
Everyone was agreed that this Awards Ceremony is one of the best. The new producers, Michael de Luca and Jennifer Todd, have done a great job. The stage settings were beautiful. The opening with Justin Timberlake had everyone dancing, and set the atmosphere for a fun evening. Jimmy Kimmel was a fantastic host; relaxed yet kept things moving along. Even the dropping of candy from the sky and the trooping of unsuspecting tourists in one door and out another, across the front of the theatre, was part of the fun. The two tourists who were “married” by Denzel Washington will never forget that. Nor will those who shook hands with Meryl Streep and other stars ever forget their brief flash into the spotlight.

One or two of us would have given the Best Actor Award to Denzel Washington of Fences, rather than Casey Affleck of Manchester by the Sea. Emma Stone had no competition for the Best Actress Award.  Mahershala Ali of Moonlight deserved the Best Supporting Actor Award, and Viola David of Fences was a shoo-in for the Best Supporting Actress Award.

I would have given the Best Original Music Score to Mica Levi with Jackie, instead of Justin Hurwitz with La La Land. The haunting, emotional quality of Levi’s music does so much for the film. She is classically trained, and this is obvious in her music. She is also young, at 30 years old. Any film in future that she composes the score for, is a “must see”, or actually, a “must hear”, for me.

The fiasco around the Best Film Award was considered incredible. It was thought that Warren Beatty ought to have called for clarification when he saw that there was a problem with the card he had been given. He compounded the mistake by waving it at Faye Dunaway. She thought she was being asked to read out the winner, so read the name of the film on the card, La La Land. The huge contingent from La La Land trooped on to the stage. In the middle of the acceptance speeches in which everyone was thanking everyone from their parents for having given birth to them, to their spouses, children, dogs, and whichever avatar of their god they favoured, it became obvious there was a problem. Mr. Horowitz, a La La Land producer, acted quickly, and he announced that the Best Picture Award had been won by Moonlight. Everyone acted graciously. The La La Land people moved off stage, congratulating the Moonlight people as they came on stage.

My own reaction to Moonlight was that this is much more than just a film: it is a piece of Art of the highest quality. Barry Jenkins is a genius, in my opinion. He drew out the best from all his actors, and I found myself moved. This doesn’t happen too often for me. What I liked almost best of all is that he finished on a note of hope. The two childhood friends who had grown up through a difficult childhood, found each other, and came together at the end. After viewing the film, I knew that it might win the Oscar for Best Film, and it would do so on its own merits, not as any flourish to “diversity”.

What a great pity that the first time a black film director wins the Oscar with a beautiful, tender, Art piece about the growing up of a black boy, the pleasure is dissipated by such a fiasco.

The Red Carpet is such a large part of the Oscars, and didn’t disappoint. The gowns were all absolutely breathtaking, and the men’s suits were a striking foil. What a treat for the eyes!

Great discussion, and everyone enjoyed the delicious cookies Annette had made with her own fair hands, and shared with us. The wine brought by Maureen also helped add to the occasion.

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