It was a night of some predictable wins – and some surprises.
The Oscars 2018 came at a key moment for the film industry, in the middle of a national and international conversation about Harvey Weinstein and #TimesUp, and gender and race and diversity. This year’s Academy Award winners gave powerful speeches (see: Frances McDormand), but there was also room for a few laughs (see: Helen Mirren on a jet ski!).
Jimmy Kimmel didn’t shy away from #TimesUp in his opening monologue
The chat show host kicked off this year’s Oscars with an opening monologue that directed jibes at Harvey Weinstein, Mike Pence, and the film industry’s lack of diversity.
Referring to the 90-year-old statue, he praised “Oscar” for his appropriate behaviour: “Oscar is the most beloved and respected man in Hollywood. And there’s a very good reason why. Look at him. He keeps his hands where you can see them, never says a rude word and, most importantly, he has no penis. He is literally a statue of limitations.”
There were more timely jokes about box office hit Black Panther.
“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,” he said.
“I remember a time when the major studios didn’t believe a woman or a minority could open a superhero movie – and the reason I remember that time is because it was March of last year.”
Kimmel also went with a political joke that is sure to get Donald Trump tweeting from his morning toilet session when he wakes up: “We don’t make films like Call Me by Your Name for money. We make them to upset Mike Pence.”
Jordan Peele actually won an Oscar for Get Out
Pessimists had worried that Jordan Peele’s horror movie would struggle at the Oscars: would Academy voters get Get Out? Would they embrace its approach to race and its subversion of the usual movie tropes?
But to everyone’s delight, Peele triumphed in the Original Screenplay category and gave a moving speech revealing how close he came to giving up.
“This means so much to me. I stopped writing this movie about 20 times because I thought it was impossible,” he said. “I thought it wasn’t going to work. I thought no one would ever make this movie.
“But I kept coming back to it because I knew if someone let me make this movie, that people would hear it and people would see it. So I want to dedicate this to all the people who raised my voice and let me make this movie.” Amongst others, he thanked “My mother who taught me to love even in the face of hate.”
Helen Mirren rode a jet ski
Helen Mirren and Jimmy Kimmel promised a jet ski to the winner who gave shortest acceptance speech, and they weren’t messing around. But neither was Phantom Thread costume designer Mark Bridges, who clearly had his eye on the prize as he gave an exceptionally short speech when he collected his gong.
True to her word, Mirren presented Bridges with the award and invited him up to ride the jet ski. That’ll be hard to fit in the limo home.
Frances McDormand gave a powerful speech
Having presumably decided not to bag the jet ski, Best Actress winner Frances McDormand launched into the most memorable speech of the night. “I’m hyperventilating a little bit so if I fall over pick me up because I’ve got some things to say,” she announced, with a dramatic pause.
After giving her thanks, the Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri star demanded some audience participation with the help of Meryl Streep: “And now I want to get some perspective. If I may be so honoured to have all the female nominees in every category stand with me in this room tonight, the actors – Meryl, if you do it, everybody else will, c’mon – the filmmakers, the producers, the directors, the writers, the cinematographer, the composers, the songwriters, the designers. C’mon!
“Okay, look around everybody. Look around, ladies and gentlemen, because we all have stories to tell and projects we need financed. 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, whatever suits you best, and we’ll tell you all about them. I have two words to leave with you tonight, ladies and gentlemen: inclusion rider.”
Those two words left a few people baffled: what is an “inclusion rider”? Apparently it’s a clause that an actor can insist be added to their contract, requiring cast and crew on a film to meet a certain level of diversity.
Unfortunately, very few of those women standing up in the audience actually made it to the stage. According to The Wrap, only six women took home awards this year, compared to 33 men – the smallest number of female winners in six years. Hopefully movie execs will be taking McDormand’s speech to heart before next year’s ceremony.
Guillermo del Toro double-checked the envelope
A wise move. After THAT Moonlight/La La Land Best Picture mix-up, the director needed a little extra reassurance that The Shape of Water had actually won the biggest award of the night.
As you’ll remember from last year’s chaotic ending to the ceremony, Bonnie and Clyde co-stars Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway initially announced La La Land as the winner of Best Picture. The cast was already up on stage and the acceptance speeches were underway before it became clear a major error had been made: Moonlight was the real winner. Oops.
Beatty and Dunaway returned to the stage to see if they could get it right this time, but after they announced The Shape of Water, director Del Toro wanted to be 100% sure his film was the winner. So he had a little look at the envelope himself.
You’d double check, wouldn’t you?
Meryl Streep did her meme scream
A picture of Meryl Streep hollering at an awards show in 2015 has become a long-running meme. Now we have an update.
It was a big night for Brits – including Gary Oldman
Gary Oldman finally has an Oscar! The star of Winston Churchill movie The Darkest Hour scooped the award for Best Actor, thanking his mother who is “older than the Oscar” (she is almost 99 years old; the Oscars are only 90).
“She is watching this ceremony from the comfort of her sofa,” he said. “I say to my mother, thank you for your love and support. Put the kettle on, I’m bringing Oscar home.”
War films seemed to go down particularly well, with British movie Dunkirk winning three Oscars in the technical categories: Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Film Editing.
And British cinematographer Roger Deakins also FINALLY won an Oscar, gaining recognition for Bade Runner 2049. That’s after 14 previous nominations.
Stars made political statements
There was always going to be the question of how the Oscars approached this particular year, in which the film industry has been shaken by sexual harassment scandals – and the US has faced political upheaval with Trump in the White House. How do you celebrate the achievements of actors, cinematographers, sound engineers, costume designers and directors while acknowledging this pivotal political moment?
Previous awards shows this year have marked #MeToo and #TimesUp with red carpet dress codes, but the Oscars red carpet was just as colourful and lively as ever. Instead, stars wore badges to declare their support for the movement. Little orange stars & stripes pins also appeared on lapels as celebrities protested gun violence in the wake of the Valentine’s Day school shooting. Other stars expressed their support for Black Lives Matter.
British short film The Silent Child tells the story of a four-year-old girl who is profoundly deaf and lives her life in silence until a social worker teaches her how to use British Sign Language, opening up her world.
Ex-Hollywood actress Rachel Shenton, who wrote and starred in the film, accepted the award alongside director Chris Overton (her fiancé) and the adorable six-year-old star of the movie, Maisie Sly, who is herself deaf.
As she took to the stage, Shenton said (and signed): “I made a promise to our six-year-old lead actress that if we won, I’d sign this speech, but my hands are shaking.”
Accepting the award for Live Action Short Film, she continued: “Our movie is about a deaf child being born into a world of silence. It’s not exaggerated or sensationalised for the movie. This is happening, millions of children all over the world live in silence and face communication barriers. And particularly access to education.
“So, deafness is a silent disability. You can’t see it and it’s not life-threatening, so I want to say the biggest of thank yous to the Academy for allowing us to put this in front of a mainstream audience.”
Jennifer Lawrence was very Jennifer Lawrence
We’ve all been there: holding a glass of wine while clambering over seats and trying not to spill anything or flash anyone. Just, most of us haven’t done it at the Oscars. But Jennifer Lawrence has.
Hitching up her dress, the actress made her way across the auditorium via the most direct route.
But despite her reputation for clumsiness, she managed to reach her destination without losing a single drop. A truly Oscar-worthy performance.