Hollywood Highlights: The 2018 Academy Awards
Bethany Montgomery, Managing Editor
The 90th Academy Awards, one of the most anticipated event in Hollywood, known more commonly as the Oscars, took place on the evening of March 4 in the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel took the elaborately decorated stage that night to host the awards for his second consecutive year. Kimmel opened the event with a few jokes about the recent accusations towards alleged sexual predator Harvey Weinstein, the changing perception and participation of women in Hollywood, as well as comments noting the significance of the Oscars over the past 90 years. Kimmel also included an incentive for the award winners to keep their speeches to a minimal length. “This is a really long show,” Kimmel began, “so here’s what we’re going to do. [I’m] not saying you shouldn’t give a long speech but, whoever gives the shortest speech tonight will go home with … A brand-new jet ski!” He also preceded this by emphasizing to the crowd the importance of using their few short moments on stage to speak with passion about equality.
The first awards of the night went to Best Actor and Actress in a Supporting Role. Both were first-time Oscar winners, Allison Janney, winning for her role in “I, Tonya,” and Sam Rockwell for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” The ceremony continued, and each category was introduced by other Hollywood stars and previous Oscar winners. Although the earlier introductions were made with rather serious speeches, the mood was lightened by an amusing address by Kumail Nanjiani and Lupita Nyong’o. Nanijani and Nyong’o noted their pride in their achievement as immigrants, as well as being the two names in Hollywood we keep hearing but cannot pronounce. “I have to come clean. Kumail Nanjiani is my stage name. My actual given Pakistani name is Chris Pine,” Nanijani joked, “So you can imagine how annoyed I was when the other one, the white Chris Pine showed up. The real Chris Pine.”
Another humorous incident during the event took place just across the street from the theatre. Kimmel, previously arranging a theatre full of unsuspecting viewers to sit in on what they thought was a preview of the new Mary Poppins movie, dragged an entourage of willing celebrities to surprise the theatre-goers. The audience was shocked to not only find out they were on live TV, but that they were suddenly being bombarded by candy and hot dogs from some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Mark Hamill, Ansel Elgort, Margot Robbie, and “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot. Kimmel pulled a similar stunt last year, having an innocent Hollywood tour group walk on stage in front of the entire audience.
A number of musical performances took place during the ceremony between the various awards. Each of the nominees from “Best Original Song” gave stunning live performances of their Oscar-worthy numbers, including “Stand Up for Something” from “Marshall,” Best Original Song winner “Remember Me” from “Coco,” and “This is Me” from the newly released musical “The Greatest Showman.”
Other notable winners of the night were Guillermo del Toro as Best Director for “The Shape of Water,” Jordan Peele for Best Original Screenplay, “Get Out,” and Disney’s “Coco,” as Best Animated Feature. The show concluded with the most highly anticipated awards of the night—Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Picture. Gary Oldman took Best Actor for his role as Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour,” paying tribute to the opportunities living in America has given him as well as to Churchill himself. Best Actress winner Frances McDormand honored her fellow female nominees as well as all other females and diverse groups in the film industry. The final award for Best Picture went to “The Shape of Water,” a Cold War based romance between a mute janitor and a human-like fish creature.
Although the 90th Academy Awards did not have as big a mix up as last year, it had the lowest viewership ratings since the ‘70s. According to Time Magazine, viewership sank by 20 percent. Some speculate that this could be a result of the increasing use of online platforms, which are not factored into the data, as well as decreased interest in the awards from audiences, perhaps due to its length and increased political undertones.