On the surface, the 2018 Academy Awards was a relatively straightforward affair, with expected winners taking home the expected prices, from Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri to Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water bagging Best Picture and Best Director.
But scratch that familiar surface and the evening was one that quietly made history, not only giving us the first Best Picture winner featuring a woman’s love affair with a fish, but also a Best Picture from a Mexican immigrant about a black woman, gay man and a disabled woman all teaming up to fight the real monster: white male tyranny. The fact that The Shape of Water was the first Best Picture winner with a female protagonist since Million Dollar Baby 13 years ago alone is something to decry and applaud in equal measure.
Throw in Jordan Peele becoming the first African-American screenwriter to win an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, an open endorsement of the Time’s Up movement and Frances McDormand speaking very loudly, and you have an eventful evening of progressive winners, even if they didn’t win in every category.
From jokes and speeches to Helen Mirren riding a jet ski, catch up with the highlights of this year’s Academy Awards. (For the full list of winners plus where you can watch them online in the UK, click here.)
1. Guillermo del Toro double-checking the envelope
Jimmy Kimmel brought back Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway to present the Best Picture Oscar, after they mistakenly announced the wrong winner last year (it was Moonlight, not La La Land), but Guillermo del Toro was the one who tackled the awkwardness with real aplomb, as he cheekily checked the envelope himself before accepting the prize.
Greta Gerwig didn’t win Best Director, Best Original Screenplay or Best Picture, but the Lady Bird director was magnificent and generous in defeat, exclaiming to no one in particular how much she loves Guillermo, as he delivered a typically warm victory speech.
“If I hyperventilate and fall over, pick me up – because I’ve got some things to say,” began McDormand, whose fiery stage presence did not disappoint. She promptly went on to put her Oscar down and ask every woman nominated for an Oscar to stand up in the Dolby Theater.
“Look around, ladies and gentlemen,” she declared. “We all have stories to tell and projects we need financed.”
If that moment of support and solidarity wasn’t enough, though, she went on to tell people to ask for an inclusion rider for all future work. That’s a clause in a contract that requires the cast and crew to be diverse to sign the actor – a bold statement on a big stage that can genuinely effect practical change.
5. Mark Bridges won a jet ski for the shortest speech of the night
Jimmy Kimmel kicked off the evening by promising they would keep things short by awarding a jet ski to the winner with the briefest speech of the night – a jet ski modelled by none other than Helen Mirren.
6. Hollyoaks star wins Oscar – and signs her speech
The Silent Child, which stars a six-year-old British actress, Maisie Sly, was crowned Best Live Action Short by the ACademy. Made by two former Hollyoaks stars – Rachel Shenton (Mitzee Minniver) and Chris Overton (Liam McAllister) – Shenton lived up to her promise to Maisie to sign her acceptance speech for the Oscar. And sign it she did, in what was one of the most moving moments of the evening, raising awareness of a silent disability that often goes unnoticed.
Rachel Shenton signs her acceptance speech as she attempts to spread awareness about deafness through her short film, The Silent Child. #Oscarspic.twitter.com/WZlzqKh3Hl
7. Emma Stone reads out the nominees for Best Director
If you thought Natalie Portman speaking out at the BAFTAs for the all-male line-up of Best Director nominees, wait until you see Emma Stone, who was on fire as she paid tribute to Greta Gerwig while announcing the nominees for the helmer’s Academy Award. (Although the inclusion of Guillermo del Toro and Jordan Peele in the list of nominees is still something to celebrate.)
“These four men and Greta Gerwig created their own masterpieces this year,” she announced, pointedly.
"These four men and Greta Gerwig created their own masterpieces this year" — Emma Stone ?
The Academy’s editing team were on point this year, linking together the whole show with superbly cut montages of the nominees, past winners and – in one spellbinding sequence – just the 90-year history of the Academy itself.
My goodness that #Oscars 90 years montage was incredible.
And then, the Oscars topped it off with a beautiful montage dedicated to celebrating diversity and inclusion within the movie industry.
“Everyone is getting a voice to express something that is happening forever,” says Mira Sorvino of the Time’s Up movement.
“This is what white men feel all the time,” Barry Jenkins notes of the representational power of Marvel’s Black Panther.
“So many movies from diffeent points of view are making a ton of money,” jokes Kumail Nanjiani, writer and star of The Big Sick. “Don’t do it because it’s better for society, even though it is, do it… because you’ll get rich.”
9. Jordan peele’s surprise at winning
Jordan Peele paid tribute to his mother, who “taught me to love, even in the face of hate”, as he won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Get Out. He thanked “everyone who bought a ticket, who told somebody to buy a ticket”, adding: “I love you for shouting out at the screen.” But it was when he walked off-stage that he won our hearts, as he total surprise came to the surface.
“We’ll always remember this as the year men screwed up so badly, women started dating fish.”
Jimmy Kimmel was once again a solid presenter for the Oscars, in a year when it really should have been hosted by a woman. He didn’t duck the important issues, though, addressing equality Parkland, Time’s Up, Trump and jet skis with the right balance of humour and seriousness.
“I remember a time when the major studios didn’t believe a woman or a minority could open a super hero movie,” he quipped. “The reason I remember that time is because it was March of last year.”
Rachel Morrison, the first ever DoP nominated for Best Cinematography at the Oscars, went home empty handed last night. The only consolation for Mudbound’s loss? That it meant Roger Deakins could finally win the prize, after being nominated 14 times. His victory for Blade Runner 2049 came 23 years after his first nomination for The Shawshank Redemption.
13. James Ivory wearing Timothée Chalamet to the Oscars
Just when you think Lupita Nyongo’o can’t get any more fierce, up she pops with these frames on. They may not have won the Oscar for Best Glasses, but they do have their own Twitter account: @Lupitaglasses.
“I did it all myself,” joked the much-deserved winner Allison Janney, whose Best Supporting Actress Oscar was only tainted by the fact that it meant Laurie Metcalf couldn’t also win for Lady Bird. Janney went on to deliver a moving speech, dedicating the prize to her late brother.
Currently found stealing every scene she can in Netflix’s delightful One Day at a Time reboot, Rita Moreno stole the whole Oscars last night when invited to present an award. Her choice of outfit? The same dress she was back in 1962, when she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for West Side Story. What a legend.
17. Black Panther’s cast repping Wakanda on the red carpet
The only thing better than Chadwick Boseman shouting “Wakanda forever” on the red carpet were the clothes worn by the Black Panther cast – easily the best-looking bunch of stars at the Oscars this year.
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