The 2017 Oscars was at the Intersection of HELL YEAH & WTF!
The Academy Awards is an annual ritual in circle jerk, temporary elation and complete let down. If there’s anything you can count on, it’s that some underdog we’ve all been rooting for will win an award, while someone we absolutely abhor will too. We watch anyway, because try as we may, we can’t stay away. I watch it because of FOMO (fear of missing out), the ample material for jokes and to root for any Black people who happen to be nominated.
Besides, the Oscars is the most important night in film. What happens there matters for people’s pockets, because once you win, you automatically command more money and better roles. Unless you’re a Black woman who wins. Then, it might not move the needle much for you (see: Mo’Nique). But that’s another piece for another day.
Anywho, let’s talk about the HELL YEAHS first.
In which Janelle Monae showed up dressed to kill. Behold this beauty:
The hair. The makeup. THE DRESS. THE COMPLETE UTTER SLAY. Janelle Monae is best-dressed for the event, hands down. You can’t tell me someone showed up looking better than this. When I saw her on that red carpet, I legit yelled “BIISSHHHHH WERKKK.” She looks like the most beautiful space robot who is here to save us all from tackiness. Janelle is lowkey rude for showing folks how they are just mere mortals compared to her. She ain’t have to do people like this. I just love the entire look. Janelle is forever everything.
Also, kudos to Janelle. Who stars in their first 2 movies and both films end up being the most beloved of the year, and nominated for Best Films? THE AMAZING SPACE ROBOT. Kontinu, my sista. May your jollof always be Naija jollof.
Mahershala Ali’s win
One of the first awards of the night was for “Best Supporting Actor” and I only had one person I was rooting for: Mahershala Ali. Not only has he been bae since he played Remy on House of Cards, everyone is spellbound by his performance in Moonlight. When they announced his name, I hollered! He is having the best week ever. His chocolate is as luxurious as ever, he just had a daughter 4 days ago, and he just won an Oscar. LOOK AT THIS GLORIOUS MELANIN MELANATING ALL OVER THE PLACE!
Plus, this win made him the first Muslim actor to win an Academy Award. I am so freaking happy for him!
Viola Davis’ Win
“Fences” was an incredible film and I dare you to watch it without crying like your insurance rates went up. Viola Davis’ turn in the film based on the August Wilson play of the same name was an amazing performance. When you get on screen and cry til snot bubbles come out your nose, you have earned any and all awards coming your way. And being the consummate professional she is, Viola steps on any stage and steals the air in the room. Her speeches are perpetually profound, and she always speaks truth to power. When accepting her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in Fences, she dropped this gem:
You know, there’s one place that all the people with the greatest potential are gathered. One place and that’s the graveyard. People ask me all the time, what kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola? And 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.
Gahtdamb! Viola is deeper than rap. She more than earned the award.
And in winning it, she became the first Black person to win an EMMY, TONY and OSCAR for acting. Whoopi Goldberg has an EGOT, but her Emmy is for hosting. Viola is a Grammy away from EGOT status, and now I’m obsessed with her getting one. She should write her memoir, voice the audiobook and get it that way.
I won’t even be TOO mad that this Oscar is for “Best Supporting Actress” when she was the lead woman in the film. ANYWAY.
Gary from Chicago
Honestly, the real winner of the Oscars was Gary from Chicago. When he walked in with the other tourists who were pulled off a bus and invited in, no one knew he’d steal the show. He was there with his fiancée, Vicki, and got the spotlight as he walked with Jimmy Kimmel, taking pics with celebrities. I think he stole our hearts when Jimmy asked him if he’s ignoring the white celebrities and he responded with “Yes I am.” Gary think he’s me.
He got pretend married by Denzel Washington, got to take a pic with Mahershala and his new trophy and then got offered all types of free things after the show ended.
Gary’s outchea winning like shit. Go forth and prosper!
Katherine Johnson tribute
It’s complete bullshit that Hidden Figures didn’t win any major awards during the night. And that Taraji P. Henson didn’t get nominated for “Best Actress.” But the evening did feature a tribute to the only figure still alive: Katherine Johnson.
She was a research mathematician for over 30 years at NASA, and was integral in getting the calculations that got John Glenn into orbit. Basically, she’s a real life superhero, and it is ridiculous that we are just learning about the work that she did. Mother Katherine is now 98 years old, and the standing ovation that she received was the least she should have gotten.
Moonlight winning Best Picture
This is a HELL YEAH that began as a WTF. People have not stopped talking about Moonlight since it hit theaters. So much so that it got re-released back into theaters after first run. The film is the first movie with a gay lead character to win “Best Picture.”
Welcome, Moonlight! A movie created, written, starring beautiful Black people talking about black queer love winning Best Picture? YES, GAWD. Congrats to Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney!
This is a good segway into the WTF moments, because this win was preceded by the most epic gaffe the Oscars might have ever seen.
La La Land’s Temporary Win
Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were the announcers for the last award of the night: Best Picture. What had happened was that these two were given the wrong envelope to read from. They were given the one that had Emma Stone’s name on it, for her win for “Best Actress” for La La Land. So when they read “Best Picture” they read the name of the film under her name. Warren handed the envelope to Faye, and she did the honors of calling out the wrong movie.
The entire team from La La Land were onstage and giving thanks before someone caught it, thus making way for the most awkward moment in awards show history.
Somebody gotta get fired for this. This is the type of mistake that is just hard to come back from. La La Land had to take the La La Loss like a G.
To be honest, the way my petty is set up, I kinda enjoy this. It feels like some sort of revenge fantasy. As many times as white folks have pulled the rug from under us. THIS WAS OUR TIME. Sorry to all the egos hurt in this moment. Alls I know is, this moment is enough to make the 2017 show the most memorable one yet.
Casey Affleck’s win
Everyone has been talking about how Denzel Washington KILLED his performance in Fences. He also directed the film, so that awesomeness? He brought it out himself. Denzel has been the one chosen to win the “Best Actor” Oscar, because it is time for him to get another. His first, for Training Day, still makes people side-eye. THIS was his time. THIS was the role (since he ain’t get love for his Malcolm X portrayal). So on Sunday night, when the name that was read out loud was Casey Affleck, 1,000 angels got papercuts.
In what raggelly ass universe does Casey Affleck win over Denzel Washington? Oh yes. In the one where white men who are mediocre at best while flying under the “I’m a sexual assaulter” radar flourish over one of the most gifted actors of our time. The same one where the man who is sitting in the Oval Office is a raving misogynist. That world. WHAT DOES IT TAKE FOR STRAIGHT WHITE MEN TO LOSE?!? I need to know!
Just BOOOOOOOO forever. BOOOO!!! And then seeing tears of disappointment in Denzel’s eyes? I wanted to run on stage and chop off Casey’s beard in revenge. It’s not fair, man.
Halle Berry’s hair
I’m not sure why Halle Berry showed up to the Academy Awards rocking your Grandma’s shouting wig. HOLLER BERRY. But I’m just mad someone told her it was okay. May we never have saboteurs around us, in Jesus name. Halle, cut that grass so you can see the snakes who don’t wish you well, girl.
After the fact, she tells us that it’s her natural hair. See, that ain’t the issue. I’m Team Natural too but you know what happens when I sleep on my hair and don’t de-tangle and moisturize? It looks like someone stuck a brillo pad on my hair. Natural doesn’t mean “un-styled” Halle. Don’t fool us with that propaganda. That is fake news.
I love me some Halleh Berrehs but she is flagrant for this. Why is the left side lopsided? Why does it look like it needs a good finger comb? Why is this Whitney Houston’s “Cinderella” wig, without taming? I expect more from her.
Her glam squad doesn’t wish her well. No weapons formed against Halle gon prosper. Help me say AMEN. Our sisthren ain’t gon go out like this, y’all. She’s come TOO FAR and is TOO FAHN for this hair to define her. Bless up.
Jimmy Kimmel name jokes
I haven’t seen it for Jimmy Kimmel for a while. Especially when he got on his show and cried over Cecil the Lions’s death. BRUH. Did you cry over Terence Crutcher? Trayvon Martin? Michael Brown? Eric Garner? No. But your raggelly ass is shedding tears over a killed lion. Cry me a river and drown. Jimmy got added to the lineup of slightly funny white dudes who get all the coins and TV shows. See also: Jimmy Fallon.
So him hosting the Oscars? Meh. I especially wasn’t here for the jokes he had about names that were ethnic, like Mahershala’s. The fact that he made the audience say his name instead of “SURPRISE” as the tourists came in is some dudebro shit. Same bit, when he was talking to an Asian woman whose name was Yulree, he shaded her too. Her husband’s name was Patrick and he said “Now that’s a name.” Don’t get chin-checked, Jimmy.
Lowest denominator comedy, from a guy whose humor is already milquetoast AF. WOMPPPP.
Hidden Figures didn’t win
This is just bullshit. Hidden Figures did not win any major awards. This is the film that has soared in box office for weeks! Critically acclaimed. Beloved. Inspiring. It centers the story of three Black women, doe. So you can see how it lost. Out of touch ass Academy members. I’m so over them.
Anywho, another year, another Oscars and they get another dragging. It’s our annual tradition. #OscarsSoWhite (shoutout to April Reign) still. And for those who want to fix their mouths to say “we just need to create our own.” I don’t have time to tell you how you need to shut your face so I’ma just go. This is already too long.