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And the Oscar goes to...

February 27, 2017

The Oscars have managed to shift focus away from Trump's administration. Despite a mishap during the announcement for best picture, "Moonlight" has taken the top spot while Iran's "The Salesman" won best foreign film.

Barry Jenkins
Image: Reuters/L. Nicholson

The award for best picture officially went to "Moonlight," not "La La Land" as announced by presenter Warren Beatty - who later said he made an error by reading the wrong envelope. Host Jimmy Kimmel confirmed the win and the statue was passed to the producers of "Moonlight."

The winning film tells the story of a gay African American youth coming to terms with his sexuality. The poignant movie is one of the lowest budget best picture winners ever, making the win especially unique. The film's director, Barry Jenkins, seemed to be happily surprised, saying as he reached the stage: "Even in my dreams this cannot be true."

"La La Land," which was nominated for 14 awards and tipped to win best picture, still took home six. The award for best director went to the film's director, Damien Chazelle, who at 32 is the youngest filmmaker ever to win the award. Chazelle triumphed against nominees including Mel Gibson for "Hacksaw Ridge" and the directors of "Manchester by the Sea," "Arrival" and "Moonlight." 

Emma Stone at the Oscars
Actress Emma Stone accepts the award for best actressImage: Getty Images/K. Winter

In another win for the musical, Emma Stone took home the golden statue for best actress for her portrayal of down-on-her-luck actress Mia Dolan. While clutching the award, Stone said: "I still have a lot of growing and learning and work to do and this guy is a really beautiful symbol to continue on that journey."

In a surprise win, Casey Affleck took home an award for best actor for his performance in "Manchester by the Sea." He beat out big name stars Ryan Gosling and Denzel Washington, among others.

Best foreign film brings a notable absence

Popular German comedy "Toni Erdmann" lost the Oscar for best foreign film. Instead, the award went to "The Salesman," a film by Asghar Faradhi, an Iranian director who did not attend the Oscars out of respect for nations targeted by President Trump's travel ban. 

89th Academy Awards
Iranian astronaut Anousheh Ansari accepted the award for best foreign film on behalf of director Asghar FaradhiImage: Reuters/L. Nicholson

Iranian astronaut Anousheh Ansari accepted the award on behalf of the director. "I'm sorry I'm not with you tonight," Ansari read in a statement. "My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of other six nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S."

Although overlooked by critics, "The Salesman," which tells the story of a couple performing Arthur Miller’s "Death of a Salesman" became a rallying cry for immigrant rights after the ban. 

Others involved in the ceremony were directly affected. U.S. immigration authorities also barred entry to a 21-year-old Syrian cinematographer who worked on the documentary short winner, "The White Helmets," about the country's civil war.

Viola Davis at the Oscars
Actress Viola Davis wins Oscar for best supporting actress for her role in "Fences"Image: Getty Images/K. Winter

The best supporting actors 

Mahershala Ali celebrated took home the best supporting actor Oscar for his portrayal of a drug dealer who mentors a troubled youngster in "Moonlight." The film was nominated for eight awards, including best picture. The 43-year-old thanked his "many wonderful teachers" for teaching him to serve the stories and characters he plays. His win is the first for an African-American actor since 2006, when Forest Whitaker won top acting honors for "The Last King of Scotland."

Viola Davis took home an Oscar for her acclaimed role as a determined mother desperate to hold her family together in Denzel Washington's "Fences." Her first Academy Award, the 51-year old actress beat previous Oscar winners Nicole Kidman and Octavia Spencer.

The wins were in stark contrast to the 2016 awards, where no African American actors were nominated. 

sh/kms (AFP, AP)

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