Spotlight on the Oscars

By Brianna Naderpour, Bradley Cusnier, Santiago Rodriguez and Elizabeth Carres
MAR 06, 2017

The 2017 Oscars host, Jimmy Kimmel

This year’s 89th Annual Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, was held on February 26, 2017. Jimmy Kimmel made his debut as the host of this year’s Oscars. The nominees were announced on January 24, 2017. Among them were many well-known actors and actresses such as Meryl Streep, Denzel Washington, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling.

Best Supporting Actor award recipient, Mahershala Ali

For the past two years, the Oscars have been subject to backlash, from both viewers and the media, due to a lack of diversity in the choices of nominees. According to, that won’t be an issue at this year’s ceremony. In fact, many records have been broken this year with respect to diversity. This was the first time that black actors have been nominated in every category. Viola Davis and Denzel Washington both received a record-breaking number of nominations. Joi McMillon was the first black woman to be nominated for editing Moonlight. Dev Patel was the first Indian actor to be nominated in 13 years for his performance in Lion. Mahershala Ali from Moonlight was the first Muslim to win an Oscar. The Academy has made certain to be much more inclusive.

Emma Stone won the award for Best Actress for La La Land.

According to, “The first [Oscars] presentation was the only one to escape a media audience; by the second year, enthusiasm for the Awards was such that a Los Angeles radio station actually did a live one-hour broadcast from the event. The ceremony has had broadcast coverage ever since.” Now, people tune in from all around the world to see which esteemed actors will take home the awards.

Justin Timberlake, John Legend and Lin-Manuel Miranda accompanied by Auli’i Cravalho, who voiced the lead character in Moana, performed at this year’s show.

Damien Chezelle won for Best Director for his work on La La Land.

According to, the Oscars uses a proportional voting system to elect five nominees in each performance category. The proportional voting system is designed to form a diverse nomination list that reflects the wide spectrum of preferences throughout the various branches of the film industry. The Oscar nominees are determined by a group of approximately 6,000 exclusive members of the Academy. Members from each field nominate five possible candidates in their respective genres in the order of their preferences. However, all Academy members vote for the Best Picture category.

Casey Affleck won the award for Best Actor for Manchester by the Sea.

Once the final nominees have been announced for each category, new ballots with five names per category, are sent to the Academy members. Members submit the new ballots, and the nominees with the most overall votes in each of the categories win awards. The biggest awards of the night are Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay. A list of this year’s nominees can be found at the official Oscar’s website.

Best Supporting Actress award recipient, Viola Davis. reported that the big overall winners were La La Land, Moonlight, and Manchester by the Sea. Moonlight won the Best Picture award and Mahershala Ali won Best Supporting Actor. La La Land garnered six of the 14 Oscar nominations, tying with past winners All About Eve and Titanic, for the most nominations of all time. Emma Stone took home the Best Actress award for La La Land and the Best Director went to  Damien Chazelle. Casey Affleck received the Best Actor award for his role in Manchester by the Sea. Viola Davis won the Best Supporting Actress award for Fences.

Dolby Theater, where the Oscars has been held since 2002.

This year Oscar night was full of surprises! Not to be outdone by previous hosts, Jimmy Kimmel devised a stunt where he commandeered a sightseeing bus full of tourists. From the beginning of the show, Kimmel narrated his intention to surprise the tourists by inviting them to visit with him and the celebrities as the Oscars were aired. The tourists were under the impression that they would be seeing an exhibit at the Dolby Theatre, where the award show was taking place. When they entered the auditorium, the passengers were shocked when Jimmy Kimmel met them and introduced them to some of their favorite celebrities. The skit can be seen at

There was a bit of turmoil during this year’s presentation for the Best Picture award. Presenter Warren Beatty hesitated to read the contents of the envelope, but co-presenter Faye Dunaway congratulated La La Land as the winner of the Best Picture award. However, during the recipient’s’ speeches, the mix-up was exposed. The spotlight was supposed to have shone on Moonlight, not La La Land. La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz calmly and graciously stepped aside and handed the statuette to Moonlight director Barry Jenkins. Video of the incident can be seen at Moonlight was filmed in South Florida and related a true representation of South Florida to audiences everywhere.

This year’s Oscars will definitely go down in history as one of the most eventful shows. It will be exciting to see whether next year’s Oscars will top this.