Victoria Stuewe ’20 / Emertainment Monthly Assistant Movies Editor
The 89th Academy Awards ended in a wild mishap, but that wasn’t the only thing that was surprising that night. While there were some anticipated wins, there were also many that were never expected to be the ones to take away the Oscar. While all of the winners do deserve their awards for their magnificent achievements, here are some of the biggest snubs and surprises of this year’s Academy Awards.
Snub: Barry Jenkins Loses to Damien Chazelle for Best Director
Damien Chazelle achieved an amazing feat as he is now the youngest director to win the accolade; however, Barry Jenkins executed Moonlight with more precision and emotion than Chazelle did with La La Land. Even though it was written as a play, Jenkins was able to create Moonlight as a fantastic film, worthy of many awards. Yes, Chazelle was able to conduct a completely original movie musical, along the 105 freeway no less, but Moonlight’s structure was just so entirely unique and aesthetically haunting that it’s hard to forget.
Surprise: Casey Affleck Wins Best Actor
Yes, Casey Affleck was once the one slated to win, but that was before the controversies he had and his loss to Denzel Washington at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. However, the Academy decided to go for performance alone and voted for Affleck instead. Speaking strictly towards his acting skills in Manchester by the Sea, Affleck transcended the script and acted his part impeccably. His presence on screen sucked the air out of the room, and his quiet facade put the film in high tension and agony as the film went on. However, since one cannot simply remove a nominee’s past behind, there is still his personal life to deal with as well. Because of his past, this may be one of the most controversial decisions of the Academy this year. Whether this meant as a statement is hard to say, but it feels like most of the Academy looks towards performance rather than personal life.
Snub: Star Trek Beyond Loses to Suicide Squad for Best Makeup and Hairstyling
A win that would eventually explode on social media, Suicide Squad somehow won Best Makeup and Hairstyling. Yes, it was unique and it did attribute certain characteristics to the characters, but it was not as intricately detailed nor as extensive as Star Trek Beyond. There were more impressive species and characters in Star Trek Beyond and they were also nicer to look at overall. It was really unexpected and now Suicide Squad can call itself and Academy Award winner.
Surprise: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Wins Best Costume Design
Even though La La Land won an award from the Costume Designers Guild for Excellence in Contemporary Film, it lost to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a film that wasn’t even on the radar. Jackie was also seen as a front-runner for the race with La La Land just beating it out. However, this is not entirely upsetting, as Fantastic Beasts’s costumes were whimsical and magical enough for the tone of the film, it was just a surprise to beat the highly favorited La La Land.
Snub: Hell or High Water Loses to Hacksaw Ridge for Best Editing
Though Hacksaw Ridge’s war scenes were impressive, Hell or High Water had a more cohesive and entertaining story, as it wove two storylines into one, ultimately culminating in an explosive and brutal ending. Meanwhile, the beginning of Hacksaw Ridge was especially lackluster and even a little amusing with how rudimentary it was. On the other hand, Hell or High Water, as a whole, was executed extremely well, but the Academy decided to snub it of all of its nominations, which was disappointing, but a little expected as well.
Surprise: Moonlight Wins Best Picture – In a Crazy Way
The best was saved for last. In a crazy turn of events, Moonlight won, despite La La Land’s name being called due to an envelope mix-up. It was even more of a feat for Moonlight since all odds seemed to be in La La Land’s favor with its total of fourteen nominations. However, despite this, Moonlight triumphed. The film crossed many boundaries with its intimate coming-of-age story and Jenkins executed it brilliantly. The film was entirely unique and riveting compared to some of the other nominees, and its win cemented the Academy’s attempt at letting other independent films into the spotlight.