- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 26, 2017

LOS ANGELES | The Oscars were off to a musical start thanks to Justin Timberlake strolling down the main aisle flanked by a parade of dancers trailing him to the stage. Mr. Timberlake, singing his hit “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” made his way to the stage, where a Broadway-style choreographed number took place on stage.

“Hollywood, you look so lovely tonight, but do you feel lovely?” the singer asked from the stage. “I know you know this one, Denzel,” he said, pointing toward best actor nominee Denzel Washington.

He then left the stage and entreated several stars like Nicole Kidman and his wife, Jessica Biel, to dance with him.

Mr. Timberlake had the entire Dolby Theater dancing and clapping before introducing host Jimmy Kimmel.

“Oh good, I got a sitting ovation,” Mr. Kimmel said after the crowd had sat down following his performance. 

Mr. Kimmel said he aimed to unite a country divided. 

“There’s only one ‘braveheart’ in this room, and he’s certainly not going to unite us,” Mr. Kimmel said of “Hacksaw Ridge” director Mel Gibson, ribbing the actor for his infamous rants of a decade ago. 

Last year’s best supporting actress winner, Alicia Vikander of Sweden, presented the evening’s first trophy, for best actor in a supporting role, to Marershala Ali for the drama “Moonlight.”  

“It’s not about you, it’s about these characters,” Mr. Ali recalled a drama teacher having told him as a young man. He announced that his wife had given birth to the couple’s daughter just four days ago. “I just want to thank her for being a soldier through this process.”

Mr. Kimmel mentioned Mr. Trump’s having recently disallowed several news outlets from attending a press conference, including The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

“If you work for any outlet with the word ‘times’ in it, you have to leave,” Mr. Kimmel said.

The award for best makeup went to the anti-superhero team flick “Suicide Squad.” The team of winners was Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini and Christopher Nelson

“This is for the immigrants,” said Alessandro Bertolazzi, from Italy.

Colleen Atwood won her third Oscar on 12 nominations for costume design for “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”

“I read the script and I … kind of treated it as if I had a visual vocabulary,” Ms. Atwood said in the press interview room later of her navigating the need to make the film, which shares a universe with J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” stories, similar but distinct from the earlier adolescent wizard films.

“‘Dr. Strange’ was nominated for visual effects and also made secretary of Housing & Urban Development,” Mr. Kimmel said, again taking a shot at the president.

The stars of “Hidden Figures,” Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae, introduced Katherine G. Johnson, the real-life NASA engineer portrayed by Miss Henson in the film. Ms. Johnson, now 98, was helped on stage in a wheelchair, where she said “thanks.” 

The trio of actresses then announced that “O.J.: Made in America” had won best documentary. Ezra Edelman, who directed the nearly eight-hour-long doc, said that the film was for victims of criminal violence as well as “Ron and Nicole’s,” the two murdered people whom Simpson was acquitted of killing in the notorious mid-‘90s trial. 

Mr. Kimmel then attempted to make light of the deeply divisive “Trial of the Century,” but his joke fell flat inside the Dolby.

“Almost midway through the broadcast, the crowd turned on Kimmel with a tasteless joke about O.J.,” he said then.

Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who engendered a campaign to diversify its membership after the #OscarsSoWhite backlash, said that “art has no single language or single faith” during her speech. 

The sci-fi film “Arrival” won best sound effects editing, and “Hacksaw Ridge” won best sound mixing. 

Mark Rylance, who won the best supporting actor trophy last year for his role as a Russian spy in Steven Spielberg’s “Bridge of Spies,” awarded the award for best supporting actress to Viola Davis for her role in “Fences.”

Oscar winners Charlize Theron and Shirley MacLaine the best foreign language award to “The Salesman” from Iran. Director Asghar Farhadi did not attend in person, but a statement was read from him, decrying President Trump’s “travel ban” of several Muslim-majority countries, including Iran.

“We need empathy,” his statement said.

“Piper,” from filmmakers Alan Barillaro and Marc Sondheimer, won best animated short film. “Zootopia” won for best animated full-length film.

“Fifty Shades of Gray” stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson presented the nominees for production design, and then announced that the team of David Wasco and Sandy Reynolds-Wasco had won for the Hollywood fantasy musical “La La Land.”

A highlight of the evening happened when a group from a tour bus were unknowingly ushered into the Dolby. Mr. Kimmel brought the tourists to the front of the auditorium, entreating them to meet Meryl Streep, Denzel Washington and other front-row seaters. Mr. Kimmel asked Mr. Washington to “marry” a young couple.

“It’s Denzel, so it’s legal,” Mr. Kimmel said.

“The Jungle Book” won for best visual effects in a category that also included “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”  

Seth Rogen and Michael J. Fox handed the trophy for best film editing to John Gilbert, who edited Mr. Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge.” It was his first win after being nominated once before for “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.”

Salma Hayek and David Oyelowo were on hand to hand over awards for short documentary and short narrative film. “The White Helmets,” a short doc about first responders working to help victims of bombings in Syria, took home the nonfiction prize, and “Sing” won for short fiction film.

Fellow Oscar winners Miss Streep and Javier Bardem took to the stage together to introduce the nominees for cinematography, with nominees being “Arrival,” “La La Land,” “Lion,” “Moonlight” and “Silence.” Linus Sandgren won on his first nomination for “La La Land.”

“This film was made with so much love and passion and struggles. It was all thanks to you, Damien,” he said, addressing director Damien Chazelle.

“La La Land” also then went on to win for best musical score. Composer Justin Hurwitz accepted the award statue from Samuel L. Jackson.

Mr. Hurwitz was then called immediately back to the podium for best song for “City of Stars” from “La La Land,” an accolade he shared with lyricist Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.

Jennifer Anniston introduced the montage of remembrance for those Hollywood legends who died in the past year. Miss Anniston’s voice broke as she also remembered Bill Paxton, who died early Sunday of complications from surgery.

The montage included Gene Wilder, Patty Duke, Garry Marshall, Anton Yelchin, Mary Tyler Moore, Prince, John Hurt, former first lady Nancy Reagan, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, Reynolds’ daughter who preceded her in death by a day.

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, who won the best original screenplay for “Good Will Hunting” two decades ago, introduced the nominees for the same category. Kenneth Lonergan won for his screenplay for “Manchester by the Sea.” It was Mr. Lonergan’s first win on for nominations. He was also nominated for best director for his film.

Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney won for their adapted screenplay of “Moonlight,” bringing up the total of African-American winners for the evening.  

“For those who think they have no voice, the Academy has your back,” Mr. McCraney said. 

Miss Berry introduced the nominees for best director, including Mr. Gibson and Mr. Lonergan. Mr. Chazelle won the prize for best director for “La La Land.” At 32 years old, Mr. Chazelle is now the youngest best director winner in history.

Brie Larson, who won best actress last year in the drama “Room,” kept with established tradition to hand out the award for best actor. Miss Larson opened the envelope and read the name of Casey Affleck, the star of “Manchester by the Sea.” Mr. Damon, who produced, initially was supposed to star in the film, but he stepped aside due to a scheduling conflict, allowing the younger brother of his best friend Ben Affleck to assume the role.

Leonardo DiCaprio, last year’s best actor for the frontier revenge drama “The Revenant,” introduced the best actress nominees. Emma Stone won for “La La Land.” It was her first win on two nominations. 

Miss Stone thanked especially co-star Mr. Gosling, who was passed over in favor of Mr. Affleck only minutes earlier. 

On the 50-year anniversary of “Bonnie and Clyde,” Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway came to the lectern to hand out the best picture statuette. Mr. Beatty announced that “La La Land” had won.

However, as celebrations by “La La Land” producers commenced, someone ran out on stage to announce that Mr. Beatty and Miss Beatty, apparently, read the wrong film. He had apparently read a card for Miss Stone’s best actress win.

Mr. Kimmel did his best to wrangle the awkward proceedings as producers of “Moonlight” then came on stage to take over the microphone.

“I blame Steve Harvey for this,” he said, referencing when Mr. Harvey announced that the Miss Universe winner in 2015 had been misread.

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