Live Coverage

The Oscars Have Never Ended Like This

Moonlight won Best Picture, but only after La La Land was mistakenly announced as the winner.

Barry Jenkins accepting the award for Best Picture for 'Moonlight.' Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP

A largely predictable Oscars ceremony ended in the most stunning way possible, as Moonlight was named Best Picture—but only after the producers of La La Land took the stage, gave their speeches, and then were interrupted with the news that the wrong envelope had been opened. The final moments of the 89th Academy Awards are likely to be pulled apart and obsessed over for generations; it was the epitome of live television, the kind of epic screw-up that dreams are made of. Perhaps it was fitting for such a surprising win: For most of the night, La La Land’s victory seemed obvious as it collected six trophies, including Best Director.

But it was Moonlight that won the final trophy of the evening, snagging three Oscars in all (including Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali and Best Adapted Screenplay). Its victory represents a hugely unexpected triumph for the writer/director Barry Jenkins, and the indie studio A24. That a film about a young gay African-American boy growing up in Miami, made for $1.5 million by a filmmaker with only one minor feature to his name, could break through over a throwback showbiz musical that has grossed $140 million and counting at the box office was unanticipated, to say the least.

Some analysts will surely argue that Moonlight’s triumph speaks to the efforts of Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs to diversify the Oscar voting body, after controversy erupted over its all-white acting nominee slate last year. But though Isaacs has enacted serious reforms at the AMPAS, the voter makeup did not significantly shift this year (only growing younger and more diverse by a few percentage points); her efforts were focused on longer-term changes. La La Land was probably done in by fatigue over the perception that it would sweep, not helped by its record-tying 14 nominations; that was the same expectation that undid Saving Private Ryan at the 1999 ceremony (it lost to Shakespeare in Love).

La La Land was still the night’s big winner with six trophies (Best Director, Best Actress for Emma Stone, Best Cinematography, Best Score, Best Song, and Best Production Design). World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge won for Best Editing and Best Sound Mixing, Kenneth Lonergan’s dark drama Manchester by the Sea took Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay, and Viola Davis was named Best Supporting Actress for her work in Fences, giving one of the night’s most memorable speeches. In the end, though, this ceremony won’t be defined by that, or by Jimmy Kimmel’s performance as host, or even (as some expected) by the barrage of political speeches and jokes aimed at the Trump presidency. It’ll be remembered for that final, far-out moment, and its awkward, but unexpectedly heartwarming, conclusion.

— David Sims


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Best Picture: 'Moonlight'—No Really, We Promise

A24 / Paul Spella / The Atlantic

In what has to be the most bizarre series of events ever to transpire on the Oscar stage, Moonlight took the Best Picture trophy, in the strangest manner possible—after the La La Land crew had been told they won the trophy, and took the podium, and gave their speeches. But it turned out there had been an error. Presenter Warren Beatty, upon opening his envelope, said that Emma Stone’s Best Actress notice was inside—hence the reason for his long, dramatic pause upon seeing it. His co-presenter Faye Dunaway took the envelope and announced La La Land had won, and its producers and cast took the stage, reading their prepared speeches.

Then they were interrupted, by Beatty and a (delightfully) frantic Jimmy Kimmel. Beatty had gotten the wrong envelope; Moonlight, in an incredibly unexpected surprise, had won Best Picture. Of course, it made perfect sense for the La La Land team to take the stage because its triumph seemed so pre-ordained, especially after Damien Chazelle won Best Director. But no, Moonlight, the tale of the adolescence and adulthood of a gay African American boy in Miami, had actually won. It’s the lowest-grossing film to win Best Picture in a generation, and one of the most critically acclaimed; its triumph would have been surprising and uplifting no matter how it happened. It capped an Oscars that had otherwise been largely predictable, and Moonlight took its trophy in a way that will certainly be remembered forever.

'Moonlight' Director Barry Jenkins, Interviewed by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Atlantic Live

In November, at an Atlantic Live event called “Unfinished Business: An Atlantic LGBTQ Summit,” Ta-Nehisi Coates interviewed Barry Jenkins, the director of the newly crowned Best Picture Moonlight. The two men had a searching conversation about the film, how it came about, and how they each related to the material. Watch the whole thing:

Best Actress: Emma Stone in 'La La Land'

Lionsgate / Paul Spella / The Atlantic

Though Best Actor rarely goes to a younger star, Best Actress is frequently a category that crowns Hollywood’s young ingenues when they break out with a major, critically acclaimed role—in recent years going to performers like Brie Larson, Jennifer Lawrence, Natalie Portman, and Reese Witherspoon. Emma Stone continued that trend by winning for La La Land, in which she plays Mia, a young actress and writer who dreams of Hollywood success and stardom. “This moment is such a huge confluence of luck and opportunity,” she said, thanking her director Damien Chazelle and her co-star Ryan Gosling. Though La La Land’s momentum stalled out early in the night, it has now collected six trophies.

Best Actor: Casey Affleck in 'Manchester by the Sea'

Amazon Studios / Paul Spella / The Atlantic

Casey Affleck was the frontrunner for this award almost the entire year, and his performance as a caretaker tortured by grief in Manchester by the Sea received universal critical acclaim. But he was dogged by both his muted behavior on the campaign trail, and resurfaced allegations of his on-set harassment of women from a 2010 film he directed. After Denzel Washington won the SAG Award for Fences, the race seemed like it might be close, but Affleck took the Oscar, and gave thanks to his fellow nominee. “One of the first people who taught me how to act was Denzel Washington, and I just met him tonight for the first time. Thank you,” he said to Washington, who had tears in his eyes.

The Best Director is Damien Chazelle, for 'La La Land'

Richard Shotwell / Invision / AP / Paul Spella / The Atlantic

The 32-year-old Damien Chazelle became the youngest director in history to win an Oscar, winning (as expected) for La La Land, only his third feature film. In a brief and simple speech, he thanked his longtime collaborator Justin Hurwitz, who composed the film’s music and who he’s worked with since he was a teenager. Splits between the Best Director and Best Picture categories are not rare at the Oscars, but this would have been the place for La La Land to lose out. Chazelle’s victory makes its Best Picture win a relative certainty.

Best Screenplays: 'Moonlight' and 'Manchester by the Sea'

Tim P. Whitby / Getty / Paul Spella / The Atlantic

Were La La Land in sweep mode, it might have threatened for Original Screenplay. But that trophy went to the very deserving Kenneth Lonergan, whose Manchester by the Sea represented a real comeback for him after years in the Hollywood wilderness (because of his legal struggles to release his preferred cut of his last film, Margaret). Best Adapted Screenplay went to another critical favorite—Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney, the writers of Moonlight (also directed by Jenkins). The Miami natives poured much of their own life stories into the film, as McCraney noted in his speech, calling himself and Jenkins “Two boys from Liberty City…representing 305.”  

Mean Tweets, Oscars Edition


“Tonight is a celebration of the movies and those who lift us up,” Jimmy Kimmel told the crowd. “But we must also acknowledge those who push us down: the internet trolls who use their words to keep us grounded day after day, night after night.”

With that, Kimmel introduced the Oscars version of his late-night show’s long-running segment: Celebrities Read Mean Tweets.

Natalie Portman, reading musings from @Alex[redacted]: “feel like if u went to lunch w Natalie Portman she would only order a hot tea with Lemon and MAYBE some toast. Definitely not an entree tho.”

Portman turned to reveal her very large baby bump, as “Everybody Hurts” began playing in the background. “You’re wroooong,” she said, looking down at her midsection.

Ryan Gosling read the thoughts of @dtak[redacted]: “Oh, look at me...I’m Ryan Gosling, I have perfect bone structure and kind eyes. Go *** yourself Ryan Gosling.”

And then: “I’m going to white balance my TV on Jessica Chastain’s chest.”

“I don’t know what that means,” Jessica Chastain said.

@tyler[redacted]: “Tanner raised his arms and my dad looks at his armpit hair and says “YOU LOOK LIKE YOU HAVE WHOOPI GOLDBERG IN A HEADLOCK.”

“Really?” Goldberg asked. “That’s it?”

“Are we all just ignoring the fact that Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones have the same face?” Felicity Jones read.

“Dear eddie redmayne, i hate your stinking guts you make me vomit you’re the scum between my toes,” read Eddie Redmayne, who really does not look anything like Felicity Jones.

“Lin-Manuel Miranda looks like he’s getting a 1996 NBC sitcom with his haircut,” Lin-Manuel Miranda read, dissolving into giggles.

“Emma Stone looks like a crack whore in every role she plays,” Emma Stone read.

The short segment accomplished what every such segment will: It allowed a kind of reclamation of the insults that are flung so freely in the egg-shelled corners of the internet. It reminded viewers that celebrities are Just Like Us not just in that they get groceries and pump gas, but also in that they are human.

The segment also reminded viewers that celebrities, despite and because of all that, can also be really good at laughing at themselves.

“Samuel L. Jackson has resting fart face,” Samuel L. Jackson read.

He looked at the camera, grinning. “Yes, I do,” he said.

'La La Land' Sweeps the Music Categories

Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul won the Oscar for Best Original Song. Hurwitz also won the prize for Best Original Score. (Lucy Nicholson / Reuters)

La La Land is one of the first original film musicals to be a hit with the Oscars in decades, so it’s hardly surprising that it swept the music categories, winning for both Best Original Score and Best Original Song (for “City of Stars”). The composer Justin Hurwitz, who created the film’s jazzy score, won in both categories. Musical theater team Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who wrote the lyrics for the film’s songs, were co-winners in Original Song. “I was educated in public schools, where arts and culture were valued and recognized,” Paul said at the end of a very excited speech.

That means that tonight nobody will be added to the hallowed list of EGOT winners—performers who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony. Lin-Manuel Miranda, who has two Grammys, an Emmy, and three Tonys, was nominated for “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana, but he’ll have to wait to complete that unusual quadruple crown.

John Legend's Dreamy Spin on the Songs of 'La La Land'

Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

In La La Land, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone sing the big numbers, but the Oscar-nominated “City of Stars” and “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” were given a new, dreamy treatment tonight by John Legend. He remained seated at his piano as ballroom dancers swirled amid a forest of lamp posts and benches—calling back to the La La Land sequence calling back to Singing in the Rain—who then dispersed as the backdrop evoked a starry night.

The Ads of the Oscars

Vlogger Casey Neistat in an ad for Samsung (YouTube)

Watching the ads during the Oscars, you could be forgiven for thinking it was three weeks ago at the Super Bowl. The ad breaks, traditionally a safe haven for cups of tea and bathroom breaks, were this year dominated by statement commercials, like Walmart’s three short films inspired by a grocery list. And many, like this year’s Super Bowl ads, had a distinctly political flavor.

There was the vlogger Casey Neistat for Samsung, wearing a tuxedo and introducing “the rest of us,” a.k.a. filmmakers who shoot their footage not with the backing of major studios and big budgets, but with cellphones, and “duct tape and parking lots and guts.” (Possibly Neistat hasn’t seen Tangerine.) There was Rolex, with a nice supercut of (maybe) every Rolex appearance in every movie ever that featured a sad cameo from the late Bill Paxton.

Walmart, which co-sponsored the Academy Awards this year, debuted three minute-long short films commissioned by the superstore chain, directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Magnificent Seven), Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace, Finding Neverland), and Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. The challenge: Come up with a short inspired by the items on a shopping list, namely bananas, paper towels, batteries, a scooter, wrapping paper, and a video monitor. Fuqua’s felt like a shameless Stranger Things/E.T. homage/ripoff. Forster’s felt like a mashup of Wall-E and The Force Awakens, with kids. Rogen’s and Goldberg’s felt like an ad for … Target.

But a number of the ads took pains to emphasize their social-justice credentials. Cadillac, for example, acknowledged that “we are a nation divided,” but emphasized that “we carry each other forward, no matter who we are or what we believe.” Google re-aired a 2013 ad featuring Saroo Brierley, the central character in the movie Lion, who found his way back to his birth mother with the help of Google Earth. Audible’s ad featured Zachary Quinto reading aloud from George Orwell’s 1984.

With the ceremony equally stuffed with speeches, subtweets, and real tweets aimed at President Donald Trump, the ads were a reminder that brands taking stands are here to stay.

Kimmel Tweets to the President: 'U Up?'

@jimmykimmel / Twitter

“You know, we’re more than two hours into the show,” Jimmy Kimmel said, “and Donald Trump hasn’t tweeted at us once.” He paused. “And I’m starting to get worried about him.”

With that, Kimmel pulled out a smartphone. “Hold on a second,” he said. “Can you put my phone up on the screen?”

The producers obliged. The stage’s screen was emblazoned with Twitter’s disctinctive “What’s Happening?” field.

Kimmel typed, dramatically.

“Hey @realDonaldTrump ... u up?”

The crowd guffawed. Kimmel pressed “Tweet.”

Then he added another message:  

“@realDonaldTrump … #MerylSaysHi.” The crowd laughed some more.

It wasn’t just an Oscars bit, though: Kimmel posted the “u up?” tweet to his personal Twitter feed.

As of this writing, that tweet has more than 177,000 retweets and more than 274,000 likes.

'The White Helmets' Wins Best Documentary Short

Netflix / Paul Spella / The Atlantic

The winner for Best Documentary Short was The White Helmets, a 40-minute film about the Syrian Civil Defense, a volunteer humanitarian group in the war-torn country. The film’s Syrian cinematographer was barred from the U.S. by the Department of Homeland Security in a last-minute decision. The director Orlando von Einsiedel read a statement from the group’s founder, saying, “We're so grateful this film has highlighted our work to the world. Our organization is guided by a verse in the Koran: To save one life is to save all of humanity.”

Von Einsiedel then added, “This war's been going on for six years. If everyone could just stand up and remind them that we all care that this war ends as quickly as possible.” The White Helmets is available to stream on Netflix now, as are many of the other nominated documentary short films.

Real People Go to the Oscars

Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP

In either one of the best or one of the cruelest pranks of all time, Jimmy Kimmel arranged for a busful of tourists to stop by the Oscars and meet the stars … without any prior notice or idea of what was happening. Put aside the obvious question of how anyone agrees to visit the Dolby Theatre at 10 p.m. on a Sunday night in February without having any idea that something might be happening. Because by all appearances, the normals really were floored by their sudden appearance on live TV, and by their proximity to Hollywood’s biggest actors.

Kimmel teased the arrival of the tourists midway through the show, prompting a concerned look from Mel Gibson. Later, a camera revealed the group getting off the bus, while Kimmel told everyone to quiet down and dim the lights. Then in came a dozen or so extremely surprised people, whose immediate instincts were to hold up their cameraphones. The obvious, most memeworthy star was Gary Alan Cole from Chicago, wearing a Hollywood sweatshirt and accompanied by his fiancée, Vicky, clutching a selfie stick. Both confidently shook hands and took photos with the actors in the front row. “I feel like you’re ignoring all the white celebrities,” Kimmel told Gary. “That’s cause I am,” Gary replied. Denzel Washington, on being told he was Vicky’s favorite actor, genially agreed to be best man at their wedding. Jennifer Aniston gave Vicky her sunglasses.

The skit went on for possibly longer than it could have—enough time for most people present to touch Mahershala Ali’s Oscar and hug Meryl Streep—but it was a fun change of direction for the ceremony, not to mention an opportunity for all the A-listers to demonstrate their “real people” cred.

Best Film Editing Unexpectedly Goes to 'Hacksaw Ridge' Over 'La La Land'

Whatever sweep was expected for La La Land can now certainly be downgraded. The ritzy musical lost for Best Film Editing, a category in which it was hotly tipped, to Mel Gibson’s war drama Hacksaw Ridge. War films often win in this category—recent examples include The Hurt Locker and Black Hawk Down—but La La Land’s Tom Cross (who won in 2015 for Whiplash) was certainly regarded as the frontrunner. Instead, New Zealand native John Gilbert took the prize, thanking an overjoyed-looking Mel Gibson from the stage (as well as his wife and kids). La La Land has now lost in four of the five categories it was nominated for.

The Best Animated Feature Is 'Zootopia,' and 'La La Land' Takes Its First Trophy

Disney / Paul Spella / The Atlantic

Best Animated Feature went to one of the biggest global hits of the year, Zootopia, Disney’s furry tale of prejudice and police profiling starring cute anthropomorphic animals. In his speech, the director Rich Moore said he was pleased that the film’s message of “tolerance being more powerful than fear of the other” had resonated around the world.

Next, Best Production Design went to La La Land, the first trophy for the supposed favorite of the night. Husband-and-wife team David Wasco and Sandy Reynolds-Wasco, longtime collaborators of Quentin Tarantino, won the first Oscars of their career, praising La La Land director Damien Chazelle in what’s likely to become a recurring theme for the night.

Sting's Spare 'The Empty Chair' Pays Tribute to Journalist Jim Foley

Lucy Nicholson

Alone on a darkened stage, with just a guitar in hand and one foot on an amp, Sting delivered “The Empty Chair,” his Oscar-nominated song from Jim: The James Foley Story. Introducing the performance, actor Dev Patel told the audience about the subject of the documentary: Foley, a 40-year-old American journalist killed by ISIS in 2014. “The walls of this prison are as cold as clay,” Sting sang. “But there's a shaft of light where I count my days / So don't despair of the empty chair / And somehow I'll be there.”

As Sting finished the song, a quote from Foley showed on the screen behind him: “If I don’t have the moral courage to challenge authority … we don’t have journalism.”

Iran's 'The Salesman' Wins Best Foreign-Language Film, and Its Director Pleads for Empathy

Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

The Best Foreign-Language Film category took on a new dimension from the moment President Trump signed an executive order last month barring the entry of non-citizens to the United States from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. In response, Asghar Farhadi, the director of the Iranian film The Salesman, announced that he would not attend the Academy Awards even if he were granted an exception to the ban. The Salesman won (Farhadi’s second Oscar, after winning the same award in 2012 for A Separation) and Anousheh Ansari, an Iranian American engineer and scientist, accepted in his stead, reading a statement from the director.

“My absence is out of respect for the people of my country, and those in other six nations that have been disrespected by [this] inhumane law,” Farhadi’s statement read. “Dividing the world into the us and our enemies categories creates fear.” Honoring foreign filmmakers and artists, he noted, “creates empathy between us and others. An empathy which we need today more than ever.”

Viola Davis Wins and Salutes August Wilson, 'Who Exhumed and Exalted the Ordinary People'

Paramount / Paul Spella / The Atlantic

Viola Davis’s victory in the Best Supporting Actress category was all but assured—but that didn’t make it any less thrilling when she took the stage. Nominated twice previously (for Doubt and The Help), Davis won her first Oscar for Fences, in which she reprised her Tony Award-winning role from the 2011 Broadway production of August Wilson’s play.

“There's one place that all the people with the greatest potential are gathered. One place, and that's the graveyard,” she said. “People ask me all the time, what kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola? I say exhume those bodies, exhume those stories. The stories of the people who dreamed big, and never saw those dreams to fruition. People who fell in love, and lost. I became an artist, and thank god I did, because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life. So here's to August Wilson, who exhumed and exalted the ordinary people.”

Davis saved special praise for her Fences co-star and director, Denzel Washington, who she addressed as, “O Captain, my Captain,” thanking him for “Putting two entities in the driving seat, August and God. And they served you well.”

Auli‘i Cravalho Sings 'Moana,' With a Hamiltonian Intro

Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

The performance of Moana’s Oscar-nominated song “How Far I’ll Go” was a three-hander. First, actor Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson gave a jokey intro where he said the producers declined to have him sing his character’s signature tune. Then Lin-Manuel Miranda performed a short rap that sounded a lot like Hamilton’s opening number, and not just because it was about a young islander with dreams beyond their land.

Then the Disney movie’s remarkable 16-year-old star Auli‘i Cravalho sang the song in front of a luminous set with a whirling, sculptural sun and dancers carrying blue flags evoking the ocean. Cravalho could have won raves even without all the setup and backup. She was that good.

Only one hiccup:

'O.J.: Made in America' Wins the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature

ESPN Films / Paul Spella / The Atlantic

This year’s documentary feature category had particularly strong contenders, but Ezra Edelman and Caroline Waterlow came away with the Oscar for O.J.: Made in America. The eight-hour-long work, which first aired on TV in five parts, was a profound and intense examination of the O.J. Simpson murder trial that seriously considered the role race played in the case. (My colleague David Sims, who also reviewed the documentary, wrote about the debate over whether O.J.: Made in America should be considered a film or a TV show.) The film beat out Fire at Sea, I Am Not Your Negro, 13th, and Life, Animated.

In his acceptance speech, the director Edelman paid tribute to the late Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown, in addition to “the victims of police violence, police brutality, racially motivated violence, and criminal injustice. This is their story as well as Ron and Nicole's.” His win notably comes on the fifth anniversary of the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, whose killing in 2012 sparked protests and a renewed national discussion of racial profiling.

The Best Sound Trophies Go To 'Arrival' and 'Hacksaw Ridge'

Both sound awards went to Best Picture contenders—but neither to La La Land, as the most-nominated film of the night continues to go empty-handed (though it has plenty more bites at the apple coming up). Best Sound Editing, an award for a film’s sound effects and Foley work, went to the science-fiction tale Arrival, which concerned the deciphering of an alien language.

Best Sound Mixing, which considers the overall balance of music, sound effects, dialogue and other aural elements in a film, went to Mel Gibson’s World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge. That win was notable because one of the trophies went to sound re-recording mixer Kevin O’Connell, who had been the record holder for most nominations ever received without a win—21. The industry veteran was first nominated in 1983 for Terms of Endearment, and was justifiably thrilled when accepting his trophy.

Best Supporting Actor in Jimmy Kimmel's Monologue: President Trump

Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP

“Maybe this is not a popular thing to say,” Jimmy Kimmel said to kick off the Oscars, “but I want to say thank you to President Trump. I mean, remember last year when it seemed like the Oscars were racist?”

It was one of the few times the new chief executive was mentioned by name in Kimmel’s ceremony-opening monologue. But it was one of the many, many times the new chief executive was invoked, spectrally, during that monologue. Donald J. Trump was an omnipresent figure in the Academy Awards’s opening number—an effective supporting actor to Kimmel’s lead role. “This broadcast is being watched live,” Kimmel said at the outset, “by millions of Americans and around the world in more than 225 countries that now hate us. And I think that is an amazing thing.”

Later, Kimmel reminded his in-theater audience, solemnly, of the honor they were all partaking in. “Some of you,” he said, “will get to get up on stage tonight and give a speech that the president of the United States will tweet about in all caps during his 5 a.m. bowel movement tomorrow.”

Kimmel added: “I don’t have to tell anybody. The country is divided right now. I’ve been getting a lot of advice—people have been telling me it’s time to bring everyone together. ‘You need to say something to unite us.’ And let’s just get something straight off the top. I can’t do that—that’s not—there’s only one Braveheart in this room” (at this point he motioned to Mel Gibson), “and he’s not gonna unite us, either.”

Kimmel did strike a note of seriousness amid all the opening-monologue humor. “I’m not the man to unite this country,” he admitted.

But it can be done. You know, if every person watching this show—I don’t want to get too serious, but there are millions and millions of people watching right now. And if every one of you took a minute to reach out to one person you disagree with, someone you like, and have a positive, considered conversation—not as liberals or conservatives, as Americans—if we all do that, we could make America great again. We really could. It starts with us.

It wasn’t a joke. But to keep the mood light, Kimmel countered his own political earnestness by turning the president, once again, into his punchline. “Nice dress,” the comedian told Meryl Streep. “Is that an Ivanka?”

'Fantastic Beasts' Takes Best Costumes, Over 'La La Land'

Warner Bros. / Paul Spella / The Atlantic

Colleen Atwood seemed genuinely surprised when she won for Best Costume Design for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, perhaps because she expected La La Land to win. Atwood now has four Oscars—she had previously won for Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha, and Alice in Wonderland—and she gave a brief, shocked speech, though she noted that Sting had predicted she’d take the trophy (and when is Sting ever wrong?).

La La Land missing out for Best Costumes is no big shock—it will likely still win a bunch of technical awards tonight—but it does essentially eliminate the possibility of it tying the record for most Oscars won (11, held by Ben-Hur, Titanic, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King). So it may be poised for a big haul, but not a clean sweep.

Mahershala Ali Wins Best Supporting Actor for 'Moonlight'

A24 / Paul Spella / The Atlantic

The first award of the night, as per Oscar tradition, was for Best Supporting Actor, and the trophy went to Mahershala Ali for Moonlight, in which he plays Juan, a Miami drug dealer who takes main character Chiron under his wing. Ali’s nuanced, humane work had been a frontrunner throughout awards season, and the crowd at the Dolby Theater immediately leapt to its feet when his name was announced.

Ali thanked “his teachers” in his speech, saying, “One thing that they consistently told me … was that it wasn't about you, it's not about you, it's about these characters.” He also praised his wife, “who was in her third trimester during awards season,” and just gave birth to a daughter four days ago. Host Jimmy Kimmel congratulated him from the stage afterward.  

Justin Timberlake Opens With a Grinning 'Can't Stop the Feeling'

Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP

All the questions of whether the Oscars would reflect the tense mood in the country, all the debate about whether to throw the Oscars at all? Forget the gloom and let the “good good” in, Justin Timberlake seemed to say as he boogied into the Dolby Theater with “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” the chirpy Oscar-nominated hit from Trolls.

It was a show opener that scanned more as wedding reception than Academy Awards. Dancers in fun formalware mugged, popped, and locked; the beat briefly switched up to hip-hop syncopation; Timberlake broke into Bill Withers’ “Lovely Day.” When Timberlake led the crowd in a clap-along to finish, he provided the thing that this gig will likely most be remembered for—the images of Hollywood elite dancing as if there’s nothing in the world other than happy vibes.

Emma Roberts' 'Yes And's' When Asked About Her Dress

Emma Roberts on the Oscars red carpet (Mike Blake / Reuters)

In February of 2014, the Representation Project created #AskHerMore—a campaign designed to go beyond the most common question women actors and creators got on the red carpet: “Who are you wearing?”  

Women are still commonly asked about their dresses (and male actors, too, are sometimes asked about their own outfits) on awards ceremony red carpets; Emma Roberts, for this particular awards ceremony, came prepared for that. The Scream Queens actor wore a vintage Armani Privé gown—complete with tiered lace and delicate spaghetti straps—from the brand’s January 2005 collection; Ryan Seacrest dutifully asked her about it. And she used the occasion to … tout the environmental benefits of recycling fashion.

Roberts, on the red carpet, reiterated to Seacrest what she had said in a statement before the ceremony: “I’m honored to partner with Red Carpet Green Dress and wear one of Giorgio Armani’s vintage gowns. I’m equally thankful to not just bring an ethical fashion statement to the Oscars, but to generate productive conversation that affects positive change to the world around us.”

And then Roberts added to Seacrest, turning fashion into a statement: “It’s all for a good cause!”

About Those Blue Ribbons

Richard Shotwell / Invision / AP

Ruth Negga, the star of Loving, is wearing a red Valentino gown to the Oscars—accessorized with drop earrings, an amaaaaaazing tiara, and … a blue ribbon. Karlie Kloss, the model and actor, is wearing a white Stella McCartney number with a cape—accessorized with a lace-gemmed choker and … a blue ribbon.

The ribbons are symbols of the ACLU—and, specifically, of the organization’s “Stand with ACLU" initiative. And they are extremely popular on the Oscars red carpet.

It’s been an open—and common—question: How (explicitly) political will the 89th Academy Awards be? Will the new U.S. president be present at the ceremony, if only in spectral form? Will Meryl Streep, who will be presenting at the ceremony, give another expressly political speech, in the manner of her Golden Globes barn-burner?

The ACLU ribbons offer a (small, blue) answer to those questions. The “Stand with ACLU" campaign, launched this week, encourages Hollywood stars, in particular, to bring the ACLU to high-profile awards shows—and not just the Oscars. (Casey Affleck wore a blue ribbon on his lapel at the Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, bringing the ribbon to the stage when he won Best Male Lead for Manchester by the Sea.)

The ACLU is, as an organization, non-partisan; still, wearing the ribbon that celebrates the civil-liberties organization is its own kind of political gesture. (Affleck, for example, while wearing his ribbon, used his Saturday acceptance speech to discuss the "abhorrent policies” of President Trump.) The ACLU has been a significant opponent of many of Trump's policies; in January, it filed a lawsuit against the administration on behalf of two men detained at John F. Kennedy airport under Trump’s travel ban.

Which helps to explain why this particular Oscars red carpet is studded with blue—on actors and actresses and many other Hollywood creators. Barry Jenkins, the director of Moonlight, had apparently also planned to wear one … but then realized, in the middle of an interview on the red carpet, that he had lost his statement accessory in the pre-Oscars chaos.

'Hidden Fences' Reappears (With a Correction)

In the first “yikes” moment of the night, the racially fraught faux-pas of the Golden Globes re-appeared on the red carpet with People editor Jess Cagle referring to “Hidden Fences”—a mashup of the titles of Best Picture contenders Hidden Figures and Fences. Cagle immediately corrected himself, looking chagrinned. To add to the “yikes” factor: He made the mistake while praising the diversity of this year’s nominees.

Jimmy Kimmel Shares His Oscars-Hosting Strategy

A Jimmy Kimmel poster is seen outside the Dolby Theatre as preparations continue for the 89th Academy Awards. (Lucy Nicholson / Reuters)

During the pre-Oscars E! Red Carpet Special, the network aired a pre-recorded interview between Jason Kennedy and Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel. The subject? The little job that is hosting the Academy Awards.

“I don’t think of this as my first time hosting the Oscars,” Kimmel told Kennedy; “I think of it as my last time hosting the Oscars.” He added: “I feel sick. I feel confident, and also strangely shaken.”

So what’s Kimmel’s hosting strategy, according to the segment? “I will go up onstage,” the comedian said. “I will tell some jokes. And if somebody falls, I will make fun of them.”

The reality, of course, is more complicated—particularly during a time that is so politically fractious. (The segment mocked a little of that: It offered some playful trash-talk between Kimmel and Matt Damon, one more element of the pair’s ongoing “feud.” “He knows I hate him,” Damon said of Kimmel. “I will do my best to ruin his evening,” Kimmel said of Damon.)

Still, Kimmel seems to have adopted a politician’s pragmatic sensibility when it comes to the hosting of a live-aired and widely watched awards show. As he told The New York Times, “I’ve come to terms with the fact that someone is going to be disappointed in me at the end. I just don’t know who it will be yet.”

Don't Worry, There'll Be Gluten-Free Food at the Oscars Party

(Some of) the desserts that will be served at the 89th Academy Awards's Governors Ball (Mario Anzuoni / Reuters)

On E!’s red carpet, Wolfgang Puck was on-hand to describe the feast that will greet the Oscars attendees as they exit the ceremony. It will be—particularly considering how many of the feasters will be doing their feasting be-Spanxed—extremely sumptuous: Puck and his team have prepared, he told Giuliana Rancic, sushi, kobe sliders, and the traditional smoked salmon Oscars. There will also be tacos with lobster and jalapeño—“no matter what Trump says, we have a little Mexican influence, too,” Puck said—and (sorry, Spanx) chicken pot pie.

“And what about,” Rancic asked, “gluten-free options, vegan options?”

“Absolutely!” Puck replied. “We’re going to have a risotto with black truffles, with no—with just the mushroom stock and no butter, no cream, no nothing. We’re gonna have a wonderful vegan pasta. So there’s something for everybody.”

What to Expect at the 2017 Oscars

After the typically interminable slog of awards season, tonight brings the Oscars, the yearly glitzy celebration of moviemaking, celebrity, and industry back-patting held at Los Angeles’ Dolby Theater. (Our writers will be following along live and breaking down the ceremony, which starts at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time on ABC.) Jimmy Kimmel is the emcee for the show, and given the polarized politics of the moment, there will be much attention on how Kimmel and the award-winners balance the frivolity of the night with speaking out on topical matters—a tricky proposition that has swung both ways at precursors like the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards.

The question of who will win is far more settled. Damien Chazelle’s La La Land, a colorful original musical of young artists trying to make it in Hollywood, has dominated awards season and was nominated for 14 Oscars. It seems certain to win several—it’s the frontrunner for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Emma Stone), and a slew of technical awards. Other favorites of the night include the stage adaptation Fences (where stars Denzel Washington and Viola Davis are both major contenders), Kenneth Lonergan’s drama Manchester by the Sea, the NASA biopic Hidden Figures, and the critically acclaimed Moonlight, which has the best chance to upset La La Land in Best Picture and is tipped to win trophies for its supporting actor Mahershala Ali and writer/director Barry Jenkins.

Still, La La Land should dominate, which could make for a dull night on the awards side—though it’s worth seeing if it can equal or beat the current record for Oscars won by a single film (11, held by Ben-Hur, Titanic, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King). Beyond the major categories, though, there are also plenty of wonderful films—which our writers covered extensively. Follow The Atlantic’s live coverage of the event here, or check in afterward for our rundown of all the highlights.