Well, excuse me while I throw away my first draft, won't you?
For quite a while, Sunday night's Oscars seemed fairly tame. La La Land, the retro musical with Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, came into the Oscars as a favorite, having tied the nomination record with a total of 14. It took a while for it to get going, as the early awards were spread out across a variety of nominees. But indeed, by the time they prepared to announce best picture, La La Land had gone on a late run and nabbed six awards: for production design, cinematography, best original score, best original song ("City Of Stars"), best actress (Stone) and best director. Its path to best picture seemed clear.
Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty took the stage to announce best picture and Beatty looked at the card and paused. And then he paused more. He handed it to Dunaway, and she read the card: "La La Land." The producers and cast of the heavily favored film took the stage, and several of them spoke. But then, with the throng still onstage, producer Jordan Horowitz — who had already given his heartfelt thanks — returned to the microphone and announced that there had been a mistake. In fact, best picture had not been won by La La Land, but by Moonlight, a beautiful, moving and very inexpensive independent coming-of-age drama. Beatty, still onstage and trying to explain while surrounded by shocked producers and actors, blamed it on confusion with the card from the previous award: Emma Stone, in La La Land. But either way, the Moonlight producers stepped up and took an award that many in the room and many watching at home were already irate that they hadn't won.
It hadn't been all that unexpected an evening until then. The Oscar telecast hadn't begun with a cornball movie-themed musical number, but with Justin Timberlake performing "Can't Stop The Feeling," his nominated song from the animated movie Trolls. After guiding an auditorium full of celebrities through some very awkward dancing, Timberlake yielded the stage to first-time host Jimmy Kimmel.
Kimmel's monologue was about average for such things, laced with politics as you might expect (Kimmel thanked President Trump and said, "Remember when it seemed like the Oscars were racist?") but also heavy on the kinds of jokes that would be B-minus jokes on an average late-night monologue (for instance, his quip that if Amazon won an Oscar for Manchester By The Sea, it would be delivered "in two to five business days").