After the unexpected envelope mishaps of last year’s Oscars, the 90th Academy Awards were a somewhat welcome change of predictability and Hollywood frivolity. Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, Hollywood’s biggest night was March 4 and boasted the attendance of the film industry’s most well-known and lauded stars.
Kimmel kept his opening monologue relatively tame, but still enjoyable, with a few jokes about the infamous length of the awards show, before bringing the conversation around to some of the nation’s more pressing issues: sexual harassment and gun reform. After much debate about whether or not the #MeToo movement would even make an appearance at the awards, Kimmel made it clear that the conversation wasn’t over, even if he did it subtly.
As for award winners, there were no surprises. The big categories were the same wins as every previous award show this season. Gary Oldman (“Darkest Hour”) and Frances McDormand (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”) were favorites to win Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively, since the beginning of awards season, as were Sam Rockwell (“Three Billboards”) and Allison Janney (“I, Tonya”) for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress. The lack of surprise may have been disappointing to those hoping films like “Lady Bird” or “Call Me By Your Name” would receive some love and accolades, but luckily, the categories for Best Screenplay and Best Director had some new faces.
Jordan Peele, writer and director of “Get Out,” made history when he won Best Screenplay as the first African-American screenwriter to receive the award. This is a tremendous achievement and hopefully presents a push for more diversity in the Academy. In addition, Guillermo del Toro received the award for Best Director for his highly praised “The Shape of Water.” Greta Gerwig, who was nominated for both Best Screenplay and Best Director for “Lady Bird,” expressed much of the audience’s reactions when she happily mouthed, “I love him!” after del Toro’s win.
Overall, the 90th Academy Awards provided few twists and turns, but quality entertainment. Presenters Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph were perfectly charming and funny and made Twitter clamor for their next gigs as hosts for any upcoming awards show. As Lupita Nyong’o and Kumail Nanjiani presented the award for Production Design, they also made important political statements about immigration and Dreamers. Aside from a few overdone bits (the Matt Damon/Jimmy Kimmel faux-feud is getting tired) the night was a smooth and comfortable ride of film appreciation–which is exactly what viewers wanted.