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The Biggest Moments of the 2018 Oscars

Frances McDormand rousingly acknowledged women nominees, Jordan Peele made history, and The Shape of Water won big.

Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP

The 90th Academy Awards were a strange, somewhat muted affair low on surprises—perhaps exactly what Hollywood wanted after the chaos of last year’s ceremony. The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro’s at once gentle and darkly violent fable of love between a mute woman and an amphibious creature, won four Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director, but the wealth was pretty evenly spread among the big contenders. In many ways, Shape felt like a less polarizing “consensus” choice for the Academy, which is itself a sign of how much the film industry has changed in recent years.

The Shape of Water also won for its score and its production design. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Martin McDonagh’s grim tale of grief and revenge, won acting awards for Frances McDormand (Best Actress) and Sam Rockwell (Best Supporting Actor). Darkest Hour took Best Actor for Gary Oldman, while Jordan Peele won Best Original Screenplay for Get Out, James Ivory won Best Adapted Screenplay for Call Me by Your Name, and Dunkirk collected three technical awards (Film Editing, Sound Mixing, and Sound Editing). The biggest tragedy of the night was Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird missing out on an Oscar—its best shot, Laurie Metcalf, lost Best Supporting Actress to Allison Janney from I, Tonya.

Jimmy Kimmel’s second hosting job in a row felt a little more anonymous than last year’s. He repeated his stunt of connecting famous audience members with regular moviegoers (this time bringing stars from the Dolby Theatre to a nearby cinema to surprise folks). But his monologue jokes were largely pretty safe. He tackled the ongoing issue of misogyny and sexual assault in Hollywood by broadly encouraging change and praising the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, and didn’t spend much time raking the industry over the coals.

The ceremony’s most memorable moment was probably McDormand accepting her trophy and bidding the other female nominees of the night to stand up for applause. It was a spontaneous, powerful idea but also a stark visual—the number of people standing up felt very small within the vast Dolby Theatre crowd. Peele’s victory, the only one of the night for Get Out, was a mild surprise that also drew a standing ovation. Similarly welcome were victories for cinematic stalwarts like Ivory and the cinematographer Roger Deakins (Blade Runner 2049), who had never won an Oscar before despite multiple nominations. All in all, it wasn’t the most exciting night, but it was also largely free of major screw-ups or awkward speeches; not a ceremony to be remembered like last year’s, perhaps, but one with a few lovely moments to hold onto.

David Sims

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'The Shape of Water' Takes Best Picture, Capping a Night Light on Surprises

Fox Searchlight / Paul Spella / The Atlantic

Best Picture went to the film that collected the most trophies of the night (four): Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water. A strange, sometimes violent, but sweetly told story of love between a mute custodian and an amphibious creature in a government lab, the film clearly inspired voters with its allegorical thrust, telling a story of outsiders fighting to exist in a hostile world.

“Growing up in Mexico as a kid, I was a big admirer of foreign films, like E.T. or William Wyler or Douglas Sirk or Frank Capra,” del Toro said before gesturing to Steven Spielberg in the audience. “A few weeks ago, Steven Spielberg said, ‘If you find yourself [on the podium], remember you are part of a legacy, part of a world of filmmakers, and be proud of it’ ... I was a kid enamored with movies growing up in Mexico. I thought this could never happen; it happens.”

After last year’s mix-up over Moonlight’s Best Picture win, del Toro made sure to check the envelope, flashing an excited grin to the audience (the award was, for the second year in a row, presented by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway). “Everyone who’s dreaming of a parable, of using genre and fantasy to tell stories about the real world … This is a door,” del Toro said of his win. “Kick it open and come in.”

The host Jimmy Kimmel then took the stage with the most important news of the night: the costume designer Mark Bridges of Phantom Thread had won the jet ski prize for shortest speech at 36 seconds. Thus concluded a nearly four-hour ceremony with a lot less drama than last year, a fact that was probably music to Kimmel and his producers’ ears.

Best Actress Frances McDormand Shouts Out All the Female Nominees, Gary Oldman Wins Best Actor

Fox Searchlight / Paul Spella / The Atlantic

Frances McDormand took the Oscar stage as a winner for the second time in her career, capturing Best Actress for her work as the vengeful Mildred Hayes in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. But she wasn’t interested in accepting alone. After thanking her director, Martin McDonagh, her husband, Joel Coen, and their son, Pedro (“These two stalwart individuals were well raised by their feminist mothers”), she urged the other female nominees and winners of the night to stand up for applause and recognition.

“Look around, ladies and gentlemen, because we all have stories to tell and projects we need financed,” she said. “Don’t talk to us about it at the parties tonight. Invite us into your office in a couple days, or you can come to ours, whichever suits you best.” She finished with something slightly more cryptic: “I have two words tonight, ladies and gentlemen: inclusion rider.” Everyone in the theater applauded, and everyone at home probably opened up Google.

Gary Oldman, meanwhile, collected Best Actor for his work as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour. “My deepest thanks to the Academy and its members for this glorious prize,” he said. “I owe this and so much more to so many. I’ve lived in America for the longest time, and I am deeply grateful to her for the loves and the friendships I have made and the many wonderful gifts it has given me.”

“I would just like to salute Sir Winston Churchill, who has been marvelous company on what can be described as an incredible journey,” he continued. “I would like to thank my mother, who is older than the Oscar; she is 99 years young next birthday. She’s watching this ceremony from the comfort of her sofa. I say to my mother, Thank you for your love and support. Put the kettle on. I’m bringing Oscar home.”

Oldman has had a long career in Hollywood, famed for playing villains and other memorable, colorful characters, so his Darkest Hour win (after one previous nomination, for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), had the ring of a career honor.

Focus Features / Paul Spella / The Atlantic

'These Four Men and Greta Gerwig'

Emma Stone presents the Best Director Oscar (Lucas Jackson / Reuters)

“And here are the all-male nominees.”

That was Natalie Portman at this year’s Golden Globes, introducing the—yep, all-male—slate of filmmakers who had been nominated for the Globes’ Best Director category: Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk), Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Steven Spielberg (The Post), Ridley Scott (All the Money in the World), and Guillermo del Toro, who finally took home the award for The Shape of Water.

At the Oscars tonight, Emma Stone, presenting the award for this version of Best Director, made a similar move. Stone summed up the contenders in the category—Guillermo del Toro, Christopher Nolan, Jordan Peele, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Greta Gerwig—as “these four men and Greta Gerwig.”

The crowd laughed.

Del Toro won.

Guillermo del Toro Wins His First Oscar for Best Director

Fox Searchlight / Paul Spella / The Atlantic

Guillermo del Toro won the Best Director trophy for The Shape of Water, his first after four nominations and a long and varied career in and outside of Hollywood making sci-fi, fantasy, and monster movies. He’s the third Mexican director to win the award in the last five years along with Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity) and Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman and The Revenant), and he thanked his compatriots in his speech.

“I am an immigrant like Alfonso and Alejandro, my compadres, like Gael [García Bernal] and Salma [Hayek],” del Toro said, referencing other Mexican performers in the audience. “The greatest thing our art does and our industry does is to erase the lines in the sand and we should continue to do that, as the world tells us to make them deeper,” he continued, thanking the studio Fox Searchlight for funding his often strange or uncommercial projects. With its third win of the night, The Shape of Water remains the favorite for Best Picture.

Yep, Intersectionality Was Just Discussed on the Oscars Stage

Ashley Judd, Annabella Sciorra, and Salma Hayek (Lucas Jackson / Reuters)

The “Time’s Up moment” was, in the end, a video: a compilation of filmmakers discussing what the effort means—not just for Hollywood as a workplace, but also for Hollywood as an idea. In the video, Dee Rees, Lee Daniels, Mira Sorvino, Ava DuVernay, Greta Gerwig, Kumail Nanjiani, and many others talked about a new phase coming to life in Hollywood: one that will be more equitable, more focused on representation and inclusion. The video was an attempt to herald, during the 90th Academy Awards ceremony, a new era for Hollywood itself.

Three of Time’s Up’s prominent women—Ashley Judd, Annabella Sciorra, and Salma Hayek—introduced the video (with Sciorra, properly, getting particularly enthusiastic applause). And “we work together,” Judd put it, “to make sure that the next 90 years empower these limitless possibilities of equality, diversity, inclusion, intersectionality.”

Yes: “Intersectionality” was uttered on the Oscars stage tonight. And the crowd cheered in response.

As Nanjiani noted: “Some of my favorite movies are by straight white dudes about straight white dudes. And now straight white dudes can watch movies about dudes like me, and you relate. It's not that hard. I've done it all my life.”

The Screenplay Awards Go to 'Call Me by Your Name' and 'Get Out'

Universal / Paul Spella / The Atlantic

The two winners for screenplay were both groundbreaking choices—one who’s been working in Hollywood for many decades, and another who won for only his second film script. The first was James Ivory, Best Adapted Screenplay winner for Call Me by Your Name; the second was Jordan Peele, the writer and director of Get Out.

The 89-year-old Ivory, best known as a director of masterful costume dramas like The Remains of the Day and Howards End (as part of the Merchant Ivory banner), won his first ever Oscar from four nominations. He thanked the Call Me by Your Name author André Aciman, saying the novel was, “A story familiar to most of us, whether we’re straight or gay or somewhere in between. We’ve all been through first love, I hope, and come out the other side intact.” He also thanked his former filmmaking partners, the producer Ismail Merchant (who was also his domestic partner and died in 2005), and writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (who died in 2013). “Voting for me, you are remembering them,” he said.

Peele—who made his directorial debut with the outstanding work of social horror Get Out—was in an extremely stacked category against contenders like Lady Bird and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. “You guys are gonna mess up my jet ski, hold up,” he joked as the audience stood to applaud his award.

“This means so much to me. I stopped writing this movie about 20 times because I thought it was impossible,” said Peele, who is the first African American to win the Best Original Screenplay award. “I kept coming back to it because I knew if someone let me make this movie, then I knew people would hear it and people would see it.” He thanked Universal and the production company Blumhouse for getting the movie made. “My wife, who supported me through this whole process. My mother, who taught me to love even in the face of hate. And to everybody who went and saw this movie, who bought a ticket, who told everyone to buy a ticket … I love you for shouting out at the theater, for shouting out at the screen,” he said.

Sony Pictures Classics / Paul Spella / The Atlantic

Common Raps About Trump, the NRA, and Puerto Rico

Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP

If there were any political topics still left on your Oscars bingo card, Common likely gave you a chance to check them off. Performing Marshall’s “Stand Up for Something” with Andra Day, he added in new lyrics dissing Donald Trump, advocating for gun control, and expressing solidarity with feminists, immigrants, the Parkland students, and the people of Africa and Puerto Rico. “Tell the NRA they in God’s way,” he said in the poem he opened the performance with. Later, he rapped about the president’s “hate,” and he referenced Michelle Obama and Lin-Manuel Miranda: “When they go low we stay in the heights.”

Midway through, spotlights lit up a group of activists behind the performers. As identified by Variety, they were:

Alice Brown Otter (Standing Rock Youth Council); Bana Alabed (author and Syrian refugee); Bryan Stevenson (Equal Justice Initiative); Cecile Richards (Planned Parenthood Action Fund); Dolores Huerta (Dolores Huerta Foundation, United Farm Workers of America); Janet Mock (#GirlsLikeUs), José Andrés (ThinkFoodGroup); Nicole Hockley (Sandy Hook Promise); Patrisse Cullors (Black Lives Matter); and Tarana Burke (Me Too).

At the end of the song, Common and Day asked the audience to get to their feet. The point wasn’t about any one cause, but about causes in general: Whatever you believe in, Common said, you should stand up for it.

And the Award for 'Real People' Goes to ... Real People (and a Hot-Dog Gun)

Jimmy Kimmel leads a group of luminaries out of the theater as part of the show (Lucas Jackson / Reuters)

“The bit was both amusing and squirmy: a weird microcosm of Hollywood’s relationship with America, America’s relationship with the media, and Jimmy Kimmel’s ability to make everything a little more awkward than it needs to be.”

That was my colleague Spencer Kornhaber, writing about the Oscars bit that found Jimmy Kimmel bringing “real people” into the proceedings of the Academy Awards ceremony.

To be clear: Spencer wrote that last year. But his insights apply just as well to the 2018 ceremony: This year, once again, Kimmel staged a stunt designed to create a collision between Hollywood’s world of magic and the world of the muggles. This time, Kimmel recruited a bunch of celebrities from the Oscars audience—Gal Gadot, Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Guillermo del Toro, and many more—to surprise a group of people who were watching a screening of A Wrinkle in Time in a theater across the street from the Dolby. Kimmel armed the stars with baskets of candy—Junior Mints, Haribo gummy bears, and the like—and also, for maximum quirk, with a massive sub sandwich, and with a pair of hot-dog guns that, apparently, shoot sausages in the manner of T-shirts.

The formalwear-clad celebrities interrupted the movie screening. They distributed the treats. The crowd cheered and whooped.

And then: The theater’s screen switched from A Wrinkle in Time to a live shot of the crowd in the Dolby Theatre. The celebrities waved. The muggles waved back. It was … a moment. “Oh, this is better than Halloween!” Kimmel exclaimed. He paused. “This is a lot more fun.”

An Oscars Stage of 45 Million Crystals

Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP

Tonight’s musical performances have been heartfelt and well-executed, but the songs themselves are being somewhat outshone by the visuals around them. That’s a credit to Oscars set designer Derek McLane, who, for the show’s 90th year, crafted a dazzling and ever-changing stage—decked in, among other things, 45 million Swarovski crystals.

For the mandolin-spangled rendition of Call Me by Your Name’s “Mystery of Love,” singer Sufjan Stevens and his band—including rocker St. Vincent and folk artist Chris Thile—arose from a platform in the floor. Behind them was the handsome façade of a classical sculpture gallery, appearing like something between a high-resolution photo and a diorama. Stevens himself was something to look at, decked in a pink-striped suit jacket with dragon prints on it, from Gucci.

Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP

Coco’s “Remember Me” made for a gorgeous multi-part celebration: After a stripped-down acoustic performance by Gael García Bernal, a gate behind him swung open, revealing a lively landscape of neon skulls and a big, swinging church bell. Miguel and Natalia LaFourcade dueted among dancers in colorful swirling dresses, and confetti rained down on the audience as the song ended.

Mary J. Blige’s “Mighty River,” from Mudbound, came with a more austere, stately vibe. The misty backdrop slowly brightened up as Blige sang her song of perseverance.

Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP

The stage has shape-shifted throughout the show, with centerpieces ranging from modernist metallic rings to a baroque, mansion-like staircase, all meant to reference various eras of movie history. McLane told People that the set will change 14 times over the course of the night.

The 'Coco' Team Proclaims, 'Representation Matters'

Pixar / Disney / Paul Spella / The Atlantic

Coco, the winner for Best Animated Feature, was the expected victor for the night—a hugely acclaimed Pixar production that was a worldwide box-office success. But as an original film about Mexican culture and characters (a spiritual adventure revolving around the Day of the Dead), it stood out among Disney’s recent offerings. The co-director Lee Unkrich (a previous Oscar winner for Toy Story 3) dedicated the award to the people of Mexico. “Coco would not exist without your endlessly beautiful culture and traditions,” Unkrich said.* “With Coco, we tried to take a step forward toward a world where all children can grow up seeing characters in movies that look and talk and live like they do. Marginalized people deserve to feel like they belong. Representation matters.”

“Love and thanks to my family, my Latino community, to my husband Ryan, each for expanding my sense of what it means to be proud of who you are and where you’re from,” said the film’s co-director and screenwriter Adrian Molina, who is of Mexican descent.

The film’s producer Darla K. Anderson added, “Coco is proof that art can change and connect the world, and this can only be done when we have a place for everyone and anyone who feels like an other to be heard.”


*This post originally misattributed Lee Unkrich’s quote to Adrian Molina. We regret the error.

Before Allison Janney Was an Actor, She Was ... a Figure Skater

Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP

Cue the truism about things having a funny way of working out: Before Allison Janney, newly minted Oscar winner, became an actress, she was a figure skater. She was prevented from pursuing the sport because of an accident—a freak accident, specifically, at a party her parents threw.

As Janney told IndieWire in December, of the series of events that changed her path in life:

There was a game where couples had balloons tied around their ankles and you tried to pop the other couples’ balloons. I was cheating, and had my balloon tied around my knee, because I had a strapless long dress on. Cheaters never prosper! I was so competitive … Someone stepped on the back of my dress, and it ripped, and it started to fall off. I was 17 and [around] all these parents and kids, and I grabbed my dress and ran to go inside, and there was a porch with sliding doors and things, and I just thought a door was open and hit it and the glass fell on top of me.

Janney, as a result of that, cut a tendon and lost an artery—along with, she says, “three-quarters” of her blood.

She also lost her dreams of becoming a serious figure skater—a skater in the style of, say, Tonya Harding. Janney decided instead, she said, “to go to college and let the skating go, which was I think the wisest decision.”

Indeed: Shortly after she made that decision, Janney also decided to become an actor. And tonight … well, you saw what that led to.

'A Fantastic Woman' Wins for Best Foreign Language Film

Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP

Beating out contenders such as Lebanon’s The Insult and Sweden’s The Square, the Chilean director Sebastián Lelio’s beautiful drama A Fantastic Woman nabbed the trophy for Best Foreign Language Film.

Lelio took the stage to accept the award alongside his producers and the film’s stars, Daniela Vega and Francisco Reyes. “This film was made by a lot of friends and artists; I share this with all of you tonight,” the director said. He went on to praise both Reyes and Vega, the latter of whom he called “the inspiration for this film.” A Fantastic Woman (Una Mujer Fantástica) centers on the terrific Vega as Marina Vidal, a young transgender woman who loses her partner (Reyes) and must cope with her own heartache and the intolerant outside world that comes rushing in.

In his review, my colleague David Sims called the movie “a tremendous portrait of grief and prejudice” centered on a “trans character who’s more than the butt of a joke or an exoticized other.”

Later in the evening, Vega became the first openly transgender presenter at the Oscars.

Best Supporting Actress Allison Janney Thanks the Cast, Crew, and Bird of 'I, Tonya'

Neon / Paul Spella / The Atlantic

Allison Janney has dominated the awards circuit all season for her work in I, Tonya as figure skater Tonya Harding’s domineering mother, LaVona. She capped that run with her first Academy Award (on her first nomination), besting a tough field of Laurie Metcalf in Lady Bird, Lesley Manville in Phantom Thread, Octavia Spencer in The Shape of Water, and Mary J. Blige in Mudbound. Janney, a beloved character actor with seven Emmys under her belt, was alternately hilarious and terrifying as LaVona, who spends much of her time onscreen with a bird perched on her shoulder.

“I did it all by myself,” Janney joked, before hastily adding, “Nothing further from the truth.” She thanked writer Steven Rogers, director Craig Gillespie, and her co-star Margot Robbie “for the gift of LaVona,” calling out “a cast and crew and bird that elevated my work.”

Rita Moreno's Dress Is the Same One She Wore at the 1962 Oscars

Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP

If Rita Moreno’s dress looks familiar … that’s because it’s the one she wore to the Oscars in 1962, the year she won the O in her EGOT—for her role as Anita in West Side Story.

In her memoir, Rita Moreno, the star describes the dress during its first time out, when Moreno wore it for her historic win. When she found out she’d been nominated, Moreno writes, “I ordered a heavily brocaded dress made of special Japanese obi fabric, a gorgeous gown with a black bateau top that I still have (and can still get into, happily).”

And: She still can. Moreno adapted the dress for its 2018 run: Instead of the black bateau-top the dress featured in 1962, it now features a strapless neckline—which Moreno paired with a jewel-crusted choker.

As she told Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet, of the iconic gown: “It’s been hanging in my closet.”

Behold, the Politicized Awards Presentation

Chris Pizzello/  Invision / AP

“If the last two years have taught us anything, it’s that reality can be depressing.”

That was Jimmy Kimmel, introducing the presenters for Best Documentary Feature: Greta Gerwig and Laura Dern. The two women walked onstage grasping each others’ hands; “Congratulations, buddy,” Dern told Gerwig, of the latter’s Best Director nomination for Lady Bird. And then the women got to the category at hand: the one celebrating films that deal with reality, “depressing” though it may be.

As Gerwig put it, introducing the nominated films, “We live in a time when, now more than ever, all of us need to understand the importance of what is real, what is authentic, and what is fact.”

With that, Gerwig was invoking the machinations of the current White House: the disregard for truth, the weaponized spin, the “alternative fact.” The Academy Awards are well known for politicized acceptance speeches—Kimmel, during his opening monologue, reminded winners that “you have an opportunity and a platform” with the Oscars stage—but here was an aptly 2018 spin on all that: Here were the presenters themselves, injecting politics into the proceedings. And there were the presenters themselves, acknowledging, perhaps, that the politics have been there all along.

'Icarus' Wins Best Documentary Feature, Over 'Faces Places'

Bryan Fogel’s newsmaking documentary Icarus, which made headlines as the extent of Russia’s Olympics doping scandal became clear, won Best Documentary Feature, which often goes to topical films (like Citizenfour or Inside Job). It triumphed over the presumed favorite Faces Places, the French film by the pioneering director Agnès Varda (at 89, the oldest nominee ever) and visual artist JR. Though recognizing Faces Places would have been a good way to acknowledge the long, groundbreaking career of Varda as a female filmmaker, the shocking making-of story behind Icarus (which was originally intended with a smaller focus, then stumbled upon the doping scandal during production), helped propel it to a win.

“We dedicate this award to Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, our fearless whistleblower who now lives in great danger,” Fogel said in his acceptance speech. “We hope Icarus is a wake-up call, yes, about Russia, but also about telling the truth.”

Jimmy Kimmel Ends His Monologue With ... Helen Mirren and a Jet Ski

Chris Pizzello /Invision / AP

Kimmel had a tightrope to walk in his opening monologue for the 90th Academy Awards, speaking to Hollywood after a tumultuous, depressing year. His solution was a speech that was a little muted, a little tense, and oddly prescriptive—light on big jokes, heavy on explanation. Kimmel did a solid job last year puncturing the self-importance of the Oscars, which earned him a return trip to the stage, but this time around he felt a little overmatched by the moment, as Hollywood grapples with revelations of sexual harassment and the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.

“What’s happening all over was long overdue. We can’t let bad behavior slide anymore,” Kimmel said. “If we can work together to stop sexual harassment in the workplace, if we can do that, women will only have to deal with harassment all the time, at every other place they go.” He name-dropped Harvey Weinstein, only the second person to be expelled from the Academy (the first, Kimmel ruefully noted, got booted for sharing a screener in 2004), and also provided a detailed explanation of the salary imbalance on the reshoots for All the Money in the World, though the punchline of that joke was that Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams shared the same agency.

“It is positive change. This is a night for positivity, and our plan is to shine a light on a group of outstanding and inspiring films, each and every one of which got crushed by Black Panther this weekend,” Kimmel joked. His focus was on the history-making nominees: He shouted out “the kid from Comedy Central,” Jordan Peele, the director of Get Out, and Greta Gerwig, the director of Lady Bird, noting that only 11 percent of films are directed by women.

Unlike with his nightly ABC show, Kimmel didn’t really take aim at President Trump, perhaps because the host devoted so much time to the politics of the film industry instead. And rather than wrapping with some jokes, Kimmel had an extended segment about how long the show is, promising a jet ski (modeled The Price Is Right–style by Helen Mirren) to the winner who delivers the shortest speech of the night. The 90th Academy Awards will probably be heavy on retrospective clips and segments about Hollywood’s past, so it seems Kimmel has decided the way to counterbalance that is to keep everyone on a timer.

Sam Rockwell Is Very, Very Amped About His Oscar

Fox Searchlight / Paul Spella / The Atlantic

The odds for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri are looking even better after Sam Rockwell took Best Supporting Actor, the first award of the night. The film’s sympathy for Rockwell’s character, a racist and brutal cop who comes to an understanding with the rageful mother of a murder victim, was the source of politically tinged backlash to Three Billboards, but Rockwell’s speech was 100-percent positivity—delivered in a series of very! excited! yells!

Rockwell, who had never been nominated for an Oscar before, shouted out his fellow nominees and his collaborators on Three Billboards, including director Martin McDonagh (Rockwell wants to do 10 more movies with him, he said), and co-star Frances McDormand. But the loveliest moment came in a story he told about his dad pulling him out of school when Rockwell was a kid to go see movies. Rockwell’s dad had, in turn, provided one of the most heartwarming moments of Oscars season: leaving a proud comment on a New York Times review of Three Billboards.

Expect a Time's Up 'Moment' During the Oscars Ceremony

Bradley Whitford wears a "Time's Up" pin as he poses at the 70th annual DGA Awards in Beverly Hills, California, on February 3, 2018 (Mario Anzuoni / Reuters)

While the host of tonight’s Oscars telecast, Jimmy Kimmel, has had different answers to the question of how #MeToo might come into play during the ceremony itself, the founders of the Time’s Up initiative—an effort to bring structural change to Hollywood and beyond, in response to #MeToo’s revelations—have been (slightly) more direct. In a press conference this week, representatives of the group’s leadership, including Shonda Rhimes, Laura Dern, Ava DuVernay, and Tessa Thompson, told members of the media not to expect red carpet protests of the kind the nascent group had coordinated for the Golden Globes. Instead, they said, viewers should expect something to happen during the Oscars ceremony itself. Time’s Up members have said that they’ve been working with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to plan "a moment" that will take place during the telecast.

What will that moment entail? That will remain, it seems, a surprise. As DuVernay put it, with an air of mystery: “There’s a moment that’s been carved out.” But don’t expect that moment to be a scene-stealer: “We are not an awards-show protest group,” DuVernay explained. "So we stand down this time."

Where Mahershala Ali Keeps His Oscar

Mahershala Ali accepts the award for Best Supporting Actor for Moonlight at the Oscars on Sunday, Febuary 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles (Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP)

At last year’s Oscars, Mahershala Ali won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance in Moonlight. As he walked the red carpet tonight, Ali told ABC’s Michael Strahan about where he keeps the statue in his house: a place, Ali noted, that is purposely inconspicuous.

“I don’t necessarily want it right out in front of me,” Ali said, of the award, “because I want it to mean something. I don’t want to get used to it. I don’t want to take that moment for granted.”

Timothée Chalamet Thanks His High-School Drama Teacher

Timothée Chalamet arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Jordan Strauss / Invision / AP)

As Call Me by Your Name (and Lady Bird)’s Timothée Chalamet walked the red carpet with his mother, ABC had a surprise for him: a message from a group at his alma mater, New York City’s LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. The message included congratulations from current students at the school—and from Chalamet’s drama teacher, Harry Shifman. (Mr. Shifman has a good track record: He also instructed Baby Driver’s Ansel Elgort.)

Chalamet seemed to be thrilled by the surprise flash from the (recent) past. And he used the moment to thank Mr. Shifman. “I really would not be acting without that man, without that school, without public-arts funding,” he said—“and really that man who was just in that video, he fought for me to get into that school. I wouldn’t be at the Oscars, I wouldn’t be nominated without him.”

'I Know the New Generations Will Have It Easier'

Mira Sorvino, Ashley Judd, and Salma Hayek arrive at the Oscars on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles (Charles Sykes / Invision / AP)

In December, Salma Hayek published an extended op-ed in The New York Times. In it, she detailed the harassment and abuse she’d taken from Harvey Weinstein—and from the Hollywood establishment that, for so long, helped to enable his behavior. “Why do so many of us, as female artists, have to go to war to tell our stories when we have so much to offer?” she asked. “Why do we have to fight tooth and nail to maintain our dignity?”

On the Oscars red carpet tonight, Hayek took a notably different tone. She was no longer talking about #MeToo; she was now talking about Time’s Up. She arrived at the ceremony with her friend Ashley Judd (who herself walked the carpet with their fellow Weinstein accuser, Mira Sorvino).

As Hayek told ABC’s Michael Strahan about her friendship with Judd, she vaguely alluded to Weinstein—but focused, tellingly, on her fellow woman. “We’ve been friends for so long,” Hayek said. “We’ve been there for each other, we’ve gone through all our struggles together, and here we are to celebrate the fact that women are not going to have to struggle as hard together.”

Hayek also told Strahan about her 10-year-old daughter. “She calls herself a feminist,” Hayek said—“even before all this, you know. She identities with it, and she’s very proud of it.” Hayek added: “I really feel relieved that I know the new generations will have it easier.”

Will #MeToo Be a Pawn in an Inter-Network Rivalry?

Ryan Seacrest appears during New Year's Eve celebrations in Times Square in New York City, on December 31, 2017 (Carlo Allegri / Reuters)

Ryan Seacrest is conducting interviews for E! on the Oscars red carpet tonight—this in spite of ​​​​allegations that he serially harassed and assaulted a former stylist (allegations Seacrest has stridently denied, and which an investigation conducted by E! “found insufficient evidence to substantiate the claims”).

How will celebrities respond to Seacrest’s presence? And: How will viewers respond to the celebrities doing the responding? As Jezebel’s Bobby Finger put it, “God, watching him smile as publicists whisk their clients past him is going to be good television.”

There are rumors, however, that television executives are trying to make the good television even better … at least for themselves. Page Six is reporting that Rob Silverstein, the executive producer of Access Hollywood, has instructed the show’s own red-carpet hosts, Scott Evans and Kit Hoover, to ask each celebrity they talk to on the red carpet “whether or not they will talk to Ryan Seacrest.” In other words: While E! has so far made no mention of the allegations against Seacrest in its coverage, the network’s competitor may try to inject those allegations into each of its interviews.

Here’s hoping the report is incorrect: To exploit #MeToo—the tragedy of it, the bravery of it—for purposes of inter-network rivalry would be an insult not only to the celebrities on the red carpet, but also to every person, in Hollywood and beyond, who has shared a #MeToo story.  

Harvey Weinstein Was Expelled From the Academy—but Guess Who Remains?

Film director Roman Polanski arrives at the Madeleine Church to attend a ceremony during a “popular tribute” to late French singer and actor Johnny Hallyday in Paris, France, on December 9, 2017 (Charles Platiau / Reuters)

Last October, Harvey Weinstein was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. That was unsurprising. (The Academy at the time, per NPR: “In stripping Weinstein of his membership, the Academy issued a statement saying it wanted to, quote, ‘separate itself from someone who does not merit the respect of his colleagues but also to send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over.’”)

What is a little more surprising, perhaps, is that his expulsion was exceedingly unusual. Weinstein, in his ouster, became only the second person in the Academy’s history to be expelled from it. (The other was Carmine Caridi, star of two of the Godfather films, who was expelled in 2004 for …. lending out movie screeners of films being considered for Oscars.)

Remaining as part of the Academy, then, are, among many others, Kevin Spacey, Roman Polanski, and Bill Cosby—three men who are accused of far, far more than lending out some For Your Consideration DVDs.

What to Expect When You're Expecting (an Oscars Treatment of #MeToo)

From top left: Tarana Burke, Michelle Williams, America Ferrera, Jessica Chastain, Amy Poehler, Meryl Streep, Kerry Washington, and, from bottom left, Natalie Portman, Ai-jen Poo, and Saru Jayaraman arrive at the InStyle and Warner Bros. Golden Globes after-party at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, January 7, 2018, in Beverly Hills, California (Photo by Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP)

How much will the #MeToo movement factor into tonight’s proceedings? The answers have varied.

Earlier this week, in an interview with ABC News’s Paula Faris, the Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel announced, “This show is not about reliving people’s sexual assaults. It’s an awards show for people who have been dreaming about maybe winning an Oscar for their whole lives. And the last thing I want to do is ruin that for someone … by making it unpleasant.”

That comment was a reflection of what Academy Awards executives had been saying themselves about #MeToo. Channing Dungey, ABC’s president of entertainment, noted that she “would love for every award recipient to not feel like they have to acknowledge it independently.”

By later in the week, though, those answers had evolved—or, perhaps, in reaction to blowback among the media, they had become more straightforward. When a Variety interviewer asked Kimmel whether he would discuss #MeToo, he replied, “It’ll be a part of the show.” And when a Vanity Fair journalist asked whether he planned to include “questions or bits that address Time’s Up” in his hosting repertoire, Kimmel responded, “I do, yes.”

And, regardless of what Kimmel says onstage about Times’s Up and/or #MeToo—and regardless, as well, of what awards presenters and winners might say off the cuff about those subjects—one thing is clear: Expect, at the very least, a Times’s Up “moment” on the Oscars stage.

Harvey Weinstein Was There (Sort of) for the Run-Up to the Oscars

Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

Harvey Weinstein will—of course—not be attending tonight’s Academy Awards ceremony. In another way, though, Harvey Weinstein was extremely present for the run-up to the event at which he used to hold court.

On Thursday, Plastic Jesus, the L.A.-based street artist, unveiled a work he named "Casting Couch.” The statue depicted Weinstein—swathed in a golden bathrobe, clad in slippers, perched on a golden settee, clutching an Oscar. Plastic Jesus’s version of the former mogul was life-sized—it pretty much begged to star in people’s Instagram selfies—and was installed on Hollywood Boulevard (very close to, yep, the Dolby Theatre where the Academy Awards ceremony will be held).

And then: It started to rain in L.A. Because of that, Plastic Jesus and his collaborators removed the statue. And: “Sadly, due to the weather, we’ve not been able to put it back up.”

It is all, perhaps, a fitting metaphor. Plastic Jesus, pre-statue-removal, explained his latest contribution to the Hollywood landscape: "Whilst many thought the 'casting couch' was a thing of the past it was clearly still a part of the Hollywood culture.” Now, though, because of a change in weather … “Casting Couch” is a thing of the past.

This Year's Oscars Gift Bags Will Include Genetic Tests and 'Stylish' Pepper Spray

Richard Shotwell / Invision / AP

A smart person once asked, “How do you measure, measure a year?”

One way—not necessarily a good way, to be sure, but one way nonetheless—is to examine the selection of goods and services that are given (“gifted”) each year to the celebrities who participate in the Oscars. Distinctive Assets, the company that rounds up the goods, goes out of its way to clarify that the Academy has no official association with the gift bags after the Academy sued it in 2016 for trademark infringement. (The two parties reached a settlement, and the company has since continued with its acts of glittery generosity.) Distinctive Assets is refreshingly frank about its eagerness to shower the rich with even more riches: As Lash Fary, the owner of and the assembler of the bags in question, told me a couple of years ago: “This is just straight-up marketing.”

But: It’s revealing marketing. The gifts—the products being placed in the vicinity of celebrity—suggest the state of things, the status of things, what people care about during a given moment in time. When it comes to beauty standards. When it comes to physical and mental health. When it comes to what people find fun and delicious and necessary and extravagant and appealing.

Here, with that in mind, are some of this year’s gifts—2018 in a gold-plated nutshell:

  • a 12-night vacation to Tanzania (for two)
  • Chao Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation
  • a weeklong stay at the Golden Door spa in San Marcos, California
  • a crate of California oranges from EpiFruit
  • Hydroxycut Organic weight loss supplements
  • "Stylish" pepper spray
  • a levitating Bluetooth speaker
  • a DNA kit from 23andMe
  • Luxura Diamonds limited edition conflict-free diamond necklace
  • "99 Creative Wows—Words of Wisdom for Business” celebrity creativity kit
  • Quincy Herbals SlimMax detox tea
  • Delicacies Candy & Confections organic and vegan lollipops
  • D.Thomas Clinic signature DNA head-to-toe treatments
  • Quip beautifully simple electric toothbrush
  • Vaya Tyffyn stainless steel lunchboxes
  • Wetsleeve wearable hydration on-the-go
  • Blush & Whimsy magical color changing lipstick
  • Youth Blast revolutionary anti-aging supplement

What to Expect at the 2018 Oscars

First things first: It’s highly unlikely that this year’s Oscar ceremony will be as dramatic as 2017’s. It’d be hard to top the shock of Moonlight’s Best Picture victory and the manner in which it won (the announcement being made mere moments after La La Land was mistakenly named the winner). Still, though a lot of the big categories seem settled at this year’s Academy Awards, the top prize remains a wide-open race between at least five films, which could make for an exciting night, at least right at the end. Will the Academy’s expanding membership shake things up as it did last year, or will the conventional wisdom of the Golden Globes and guild awards—the best predictor of Oscar success—prevail?

The 90th Academy Awards, once again hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will air on ABC at 8 p.m. Eastern Time (a little earlier than the usual 8:30 p.m. start). Red-carpet coverage outside the Dolby Theatre will air on ABC beginning at 6:30 p.m., and should have a weightier tone than normal after a year in which Hollywood’s institutional issues of misogyny and sexual assault have been under the microscope. The Academy, however, has made it clear that it wants the ceremony to focus on the nominated films, rather than the ongoing cultural moment around them.

Of those contenders, Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water is the nominal frontrunner for Best Picture, having collected 13 nominations (far more than the next-most nominated movie, Dunkirk, which has eight). A dark but magical period fairy tale in which a mute janitor falls in love with a sea creature, the film has done well at the various guild awards and del Toro seems a lock to win Best Director. But in more recent years, Oscars voters have favored splits between the Picture and Director categories—it’s happened four out of the last five ceremonies and may well happen again.

Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, a visually spectacular war film that was a huge box-office hit, would have been a safe bet at one point but lacks the immediate cultural cachet of some of its rivals. Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri has been one of the most polarizing films of the year, but seems poised to win two acting trophies (for Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell) and was a big hit at the Golden Globes. Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird was a favorite with critics’ groups and is one of the best-reviewed movies of the year. But the real sleeper is Jordan Peele’s Get Out, which is the most profitable film of all the nominees and remains a cultural touchstone more than a year after its release. Any one of these movies could make a case for a big victory, and as audiences learned last year, it’s best not to rule anything out—even after the envelope’s been opened.