2017 Oscars: Top Moments From the Ceremony

by IMDb-Contributing-Writers | last updated - 8 months ago

The 89th Academy Awards were not jam-packed with surprises, at least until the very end. Here are the most memorable moments from the broadcast on Feb. 26, 2017. — Carson Blackwelder

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Jeremy Kleiner, Barry Jenkins, Adele Romanski, Nicholas Britell, Janelle Monáe, Ashton Sanders, Alex R. Hibbert, Jaden Piner, and Jharrel Jerome at an event for Moonlight (2016)

"This is not a joke..."

The night's craziest moment, which will go down as one of the biggest mistakes in Oscar history, saw the Best Picture prize handed to the wrong film.

Bonnie and Clyde’s Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway reunited to present the last prize of the night, providing a long pause before stating that La La Land had won.

But as members of the team behind the hit musical delivered their speeches, it was revealed that Moonlight had actually won Hollywood’s top honor. Beatty explained that he’d been given the envelope for Best Actress, which La La Land’s Emma Stone did win. Amid all the chaos, Moonlight’s shocked representatives got their moment in the spotlight.

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Justin Timberlake at an event for The 89th Annual Academy Awards (2017)

Dance, dance, dance

In lieu of a traditional opening that celebrates all the nominated films, Justin Timberlake kicked off the show by performing a mini-concert with his Oscar-nominated "Can’t Stop the Feeling" from Trolls. This joyous jam session got everyone out of their seat, dancing around, and having a good time.

It warmed up the crowd for host Jimmy Kimmel, who rode the wave of Timberlake’s standing ovation.

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Jimmy Kimmel at an event for The 89th Annual Academy Awards (2017)

Roasting POTUS

It didn’t take long for Kimmel to turn his opening monologue into a savage roast of President Donald Trump. After noting that the ceremony was "being watched live by millions of people in 225 countries that now hate us," Kimmel singled out the "mediocre" and "overrated" Meryl Streep — prompting a standing ovation for the celebrated actress.

Taking a more sincere turn, Kimmel called for unity and said: “If every person watching this show… took a minute to reach out to someone you disagree with, someone you like and have a positive, considerate conversation — not as liberals and conservatives, but as Americans — we could make America great again.”

Kimmel later joked that Trump would likely be tweeting about the night so everyone who had made a big speech should be prepared.

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Auli'i Cravalho at an event for The 89th Annual Academy Awards (2017)

Moana: Disney's toughest princess

Between Timberlake and the La La Land performances came Moana's time to shine.

Lin-Manuel Miranda delivered an original spoken word intro before Auli'i Cravalho — who voiced the Disney princess — sang the film's big number, "How Far I’ll Go." Despite getting hit by a flag during the performance, 16-year-old Cravalho was a true pro and powered through to the finish.

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John Legend at an event for The 89th Annual Academy Awards (2017)

Legend lights up 'La La Land'

We loved John Legend's performance of a La La Land medley.

The "All of You" singer sang two nominated songs from the modern musical: "Audition (The Fools Who Dream)" and "City of Stars." The latter took home the Oscar for Best Original Song. The production design for the live performance was indicative of the the movie and was truly stunning.

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Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe at an event for The 89th Annual Academy Awards (2017)

Hidden figure takes the spotlight

Katherine Johnson, the 98-year-old retired mathematician who inspired feelgood box-office hit Hidden Figures, came onstage during the ceremony to say simply: “Thank you very much.”

Johnson joined the film’s stars — Taraji P. Henson (who played Johnson), Janelle Monáe (who played Mary Jackson), and Octavia Spencer (who played Dorothy Vaughan) — who discussed how important it is to highlight the stories of people who have made a difference but don’t get the attention they deserve.

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Charlize Theron, Shirley MacLaine, and Anousheh Ansari at an event for The 89th Annual Academy Awards (2017)

Iranian director takes a stand

There were plenty of jokes about Trump during the ceremony but the most powerful political statement of the night came from Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, who won Best Foreign Language Film with The Salesman.

Farhadi boycotted the ceremony and Anousheh Ansari, an engineer who was the first Iranian to travel into space, read a statement on his behalf.

“I’m sorry I’m not with you tonight. My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of other six nations whom have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S.," said the statement. "Dividing the world into the 'us and our enemies' categories creates fear.

"Filmmakers can turn their cameras to capture shared human qualities and break stereotypes of various nationalities and religions. They create empathy between us and others. An empathy which we need today more than ever.”

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Mahershala Ali, Guillermo Rodriguez, and Gary Coe at an event for The 89th Annual Academy Awards (2017)

Meet Gary from Chicago

Kimmel’s biggest gag of the night was giving a group of tourists the chance to meet A-listers in the middle of the Oscars telecast.

When the group arrived, they came in with cellphones raised, taking photos and video of the event. "Gary from Chicago" kissed Nicole Kidman’s hand before Denzel Washington declared the tourist and his fiancee "man and wife." Gary even got to hold Mahershala Ali’s Oscar. A star is born.

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Sunny Pawar at an event for The 89th Annual Academy Awards (2017)

Kids and candy

Who would have guessed that some of the best moments at the Oscars would candy falling from the sky? Kimmel made it happen and the hungry celebrities surely loved it. Perhaps the best moment in this ongoing skit was when the talk show host lifted up Lion star Sunny Pawar in a moment straight out of The Lion King.

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Emma Stone at an event for The 89th Annual Academy Awards (2017)

Mean Tweets at the Oscars

Bringing one of his show’s most well-known skits to the Academy Awards — like James Corden has done with “Carpool Karaoke” at other awards — was a great moment for Kimmel, who delivered an Oscar-worthy version of “Mean Tweets.”

Those taking part ranged from legends to fresh faces and included: Natalie Portman, Ryan Gosling, Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Chastain, Felicity Jones, Eddie Redmayne, Whoopi Goldberg, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Casey Affleck, Emma Stone, Miles Teller, Tilda Swinton, Jeff Bridges, and Robert De Niro.

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Sara Bareilles at an event for The 89th Annual Academy Awards (2017)

In Memoriam

The In Memoriam section of the Oscars is always one of the biggest moments of the night. It gives everyone time to pause and honor those who have passed away in the past 12 months. It always evokes emotion from the audience in attendance and watching on TV, but having Sara Bareilles perform during the segment amped up the tear factor.

As Bareilles performed Joni Mitchell’s song "Both Sides Now," beloved names including Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher, Mary Tyler Moore, and many more appeared on the screen.

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Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway at an event for The 89th Annual Academy Awards (2017)

Legends and reunions galore

There were quite a few legends that surprised us by appearing at the Academy Awards this year. Most were introduced by a younger actor or actress revealing that they had been inspired by their work: Charlize Theron was joined by Shirley MacLaine, Seth Rogen was beside himself alongside Michael J. Fox (getting out of the DeLorean from Back to the Future), and Javier Bardem stepped out with Meryl Streep. Meanwhile, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon were there for the 20-year anniversary of Good Will Hunting.

Perhaps the biggest of these moments — barring the whole Best Picture flub — saw the reunion of Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, marking the 50-year anniversary of Bonnie and Clyde. Seeing these two greats back together and at the center of attention was a joy, even if it led to a lot of craziness in the long run.