5 Unique Things About This Year’s Academy Awards
Other than how the Oscar for Best Picture was handed out, we mean.
- Best Director winner Damien Chazelle is the youngest ever recipient of the award. The 32-year-old won for La La Land, which is only his third feature film. He beats the previous record holder, Norman Taurog, who won for directing Skippy way back at the 4th annual Academy Awards in 1931.
- Moonlight won Best Picture, marking the first time that a film with an entirely African-American cast won the top prize.
- Moonlight has picked up some Best Original Screenplay awards in the past few months, but the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences ruled that it was based on a previous work, Tarell Albin McCarney’s play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue—even though the play has never been published or publicly presented.
- Also nominated in the category was August Wilson for Fences, based on his own Pulitzer Prize-winning play. Wilson died in 2005, shortly after completing a screen version of the play. While fellow Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner quietly did some rewrites, only Wilson got the Oscar nominations.
- It was a very good night for the cast of The Help. That 1960s period piece didn’t win any Oscars this year…because it was released in 2011. But it starred this year’s Best Actress winner Emma Stone, this year’s Best Supporting Actress winner Viola Davis, and another Supporting Actress nominee, Octavia Spencer. (She won that award…for The Help.)
- It’s the first time that online streaming networks won Oscars. While Netflix and Amazon can compete for Emmys (and have won them) for excellence in TV, if they produce a film and release it to theaters, they can win movie awards. Netflix’s “The White Helmets” won for Best Documentary Short, while Amazon took home prizes for Manchester by the Sea (Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor) and The Salesman (Best Foreign Language Film).
- Meryl Streep didn’t take home an Oscar for Best Actress on the back of her record 20th acting nomination for Florence Foster Jenkins. It’s no big deal, really—she’s won three times before. But sound mixer Kevin O’Connell finally broke his losing streak. He won an Oscar for his sound work on Hacksaw Ridge—his first Academy Award in 21 nominations.
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