2017 Oscars: 'Moonlight' pulls off surprise win over 'La La Land' in card debacle

New Zealand film editor John Gilbert wins an Oscars – see NBR's live coverage of the 89th Academy Awards in Hollywood.

6.35PM: La La Land heads into the home straight with a win for director Damien Chazelle but it was not be as Moonlight took best picture amid a debacle in which presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were handed the wrong card. Beatty, confused by having a card saying "Emma Stone, La La Land," handed it to Dunaway who said, "La La Land." While that movie's producers were delivering their acceptance speeches, they were interrupted and told that Moonlight was the actual winner. 

La La Land's Ryan Gosling lost best actor to Manchester's Casey Affleck. Emma Stone, however, was named best actress in a consolation for the highly-tipped musical.

5.40PM: Arthouse favourites Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea win the screenplay awards (adapted and original respectively), denying La La Land yet another Oscar

5.20PM La La Land finally gets into the action, picking up a trifecta: best song, best score and best cinematography. Earlier, it won best production design.

5.15PM: From the press room: New Zealander John Gilbert, winner for film editing fon Hacksaw Ridge, says of working with Mel Gibson: “I didn’t know what to expect. The public persona of someone – the picture is almost never true. He’s just a warm, genuine guy. A really passionate, really committed director. There was always a lot of pressure on us to make a good film. He’s a practical joker, I loved working with him.”

5.00PM: The lack of technical awards for La La Land reduces its potential for a big Oscars haul to just eight. 

4.45PM: New Zealand film editor John Gilbert has won an Oscar for his work on Mel Gibson's Australian-made Hacksaw Ridge. His win leaves La La Land with only one win from six nominations in technical categories (with cinematography yet to be announced).

4:15PM Disney's Zootopia beats stablemate Moana for best animated feature. The Salesman from Iran is another triumph for writer-director Asghar Farhadi, whose A Separation was also an Oscar winner in 2012. In a protest against the Trump travel ban on people with Iranian passports, Farhadi boycotted the event.

He has been artist-in-residence at the American Film Institute for the past two years. 

4.00PM: As expected, Viola Davis has won the best supporting actress award for her role in Fences, giving African-Americans some compensation for criticsms the Oscars have been "too white" for too long. Earlier, Mahershala Ali won best supporting actor for Moonlight.

3.30PM: La La Land fails to win best costume design, the nod going to JK Rowling's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

3.00PM: The first major acting award, best supporting actor, has gone to Mahershala Ali for Moonlight (see below for results). 

2.20PM: The ceremony is under way with host Jimmy Kimmel at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. If the New Zealand box office is any guide to the final result, Moana ($7 million) is a shoo-in over Zootopia ($2.7 million) in best animated feature. 

Among the top nine films, La La Land ($$2.4 million) trails Lion ($2.8 million) with Hidden Figures at $1.8 million) among current releases. Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight and Fences have hardly made an impact with takings of less than $200,000 each.

Those compare with last year's releases, Arrival and Hacksaw Ridge, at $1 million and $642,000 respectively.


Best picture: Arrival, 
Hacksaw Ridge
, Hell or High Water
, Hidden Figures
, La La Land
, Lion, 
Manchester By the Sea, 

Best director: Denis Villeneuve (Arrival), 
Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge)
, Damien Chazelle (La La Land), 
Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester By the Sea)
, Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)

Best actress: Isabelle Huppert (Elle), 
Ruth Negga (Loving), 
Emma Stone (La La Land)
, Natalie Portman (Jackie)
, Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

Best supporting actress: Viola Davis (Fences), 
Naomie Harris (Moonlight), 
Nicole Kidman (Lion)
, Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures), 
Michelle Williams (Manchester By the Sea)

Best actor: Casey Affleck (Manchester By the Sea)
, Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge)
, Ryan Gosling (La La Land)
, Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic), 
Denzel Washington (Fences)

Best supporting actor: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), 
Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)
, Lucas Hedges (Manchester By the Sea), 
Dev Patel (Lion)
, Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals)

Best original screenplay: Hell or High Water, 
La La Land, 
The Lobster
, Manchester By the Sea, 
20th Century Women

Best adapted screenplay: Arrival
, Fences, 
Hidden Figures, 

Best foreign language film: Land of Mine, 
A Man Called Ove, 
The Salesman, 
, Toni Erdmann

Best animated feature: Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana, My Life As a Zucchini, The Red Turtle, Zootopia

Best documentary feature: Fire at Sea, I am Not Your Negro, Life, Animated, OJ: Made in America, 13th

Best costume design: Allied
, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, 
Florence Foster Jenkins
, Jackie, 
La La Land

Best production design: Arrival, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Hail, Caeser! La La Land, Passengers

Best score: Jackie
, La La Land (Justin Hurwiz), 
Moonlight, Passengers

Best song: Audition – The Fools Who Love (La La Land), 
Can’t Stop the Feeling! (Trolls)
, City of Stars (La La Land), 
The Empty Chair (Jim: The James Foley Story)
, How Far I’ll Go (Moana)

Best visual effects: Deepwater Horizon
, Doctor Strange, 
The Jungle Book, 
Kubo and the Two Strings
, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Best film editing: Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge (John Gilbert), Hell or High Water, La La Land, Moonlight

Best cinematography: Arrival, La La Land (Linus Sandgren), Lion, Moonlight, Silence

It’s an unusual Hollywood Academy Awards ceremony that fails to turn up one or two surprises.

So don’t expect the widely predicted clean sweep by the musical La La Land to go without a hitch or three.

That said, its record-equalling 14 nominations alone should ensure a good clutch of golden statuettes.

Working strongest in La La Land’s favour is its status as a film about Hollywood and that genre has won more Oscars than any other genre.

A recent study showed 19 show business-themed films scored best picture gongs out of the 89 to date (the latest being Birdman in 2014), compared with 18 for military (giving Hacksaw Ridge a chance) and nine for business/working class.

Fortunately for the acting profession, La La Land doesn’t have any “supporting roles,” thus making Viola Davis a sure bet for Fences, a film in which she actually has a starring rather than subsidiary roles along with Denzel Washington.

As an African-American, she also ticks the boxes for the so-called “black Oscars” after last year’s controversy over the “white Oscars.”

In the supporting actor category, the favourites are two non-whites, Dev Patel in Lion and Mahershala Ali in Moonlight.

Best actor closely contested
Washington, by contrast, faces competition from Ryan Gosling (La La Land) and Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea). This is as close as it comes in the Oscars.

Among the other major categories, La La Land faces a possible upset in best actress from France’s Isabelle Huppert.

La La Land is an original screenplay, so that leaves Moonlight and Lion fighting it out for adapted screenplay.

Best foreign language film will be keenly watched as a contest between two offbeat comedies: Germany’s Toni Erdmann – the critics’ choice – and Sweden’s A Man Called Ove.

But an outsider, The Salesman from Iran, could well be the political upset, as writer-director Asghar Farhadi is boycotting the ceremony in protest against President Trump’s travel ban.

In the other feature categories, Zootopia is likely to head off the New Zealand-linked Moana in animated category, while Netflix looks a winner in documentary for OJ: Made in America or 13th with I Am Not Your Negro as an outsider.

Pick your winners at Reelgood’s Oscars 2017 Contest.