The biggest names in film gathered in Los Angeles for the 89th Academy Awards Sunday (Feb. 26) to celebrate the movies that captivated critics and moviegoers this past year.
If you missed the show or just want the highlights, we’ve got you covered with the three biggest takeaways of the night.
“Moonlight” captures award for best picture after “La La Land” was incorrectly named
The most stunning moment of the night took place during the announcement of the winner for best film, the academy’s most prestigious award. The musical “La La Land” was initially declared the winner when it was actually “Moonlight” – an embarrassing mistake that created a surreal scene onstage as the parties for both films tried to make sense of what had just happened.
And although everyone involved handled the mishap with grace, it somewhat sapped the energy of the monumental victory for “Moonlight.” With the win, the Barry Jenkins-directed drama became the first film ever to feature an all-black cast and take home the award for best picture, which is important to note considering the backlash surrounding the academy in recent years for its lack of diversity and inclusion.
Viola Davis takes home her first Oscar for best supporting actress
Viola Davis is one of the most powerful forces in entertainment – whether onscreen or onstage – and her first Oscar win only adds to her status. She earned the best supporting actress award for her role as Rose Maxson in the drama “Fences,” and is now the first black woman with an Oscar, an Emmy and a Tony for performance. (Whoopi Goldberg has all three awards as well, but her Tony was for her role as a producer.)
Davis is also known for delivering memorable acceptance speeches, and she didn’t disappoint last night either. “There’s one place that all the people with the greatest potential are gathered, and that’s the graveyard,” she said emotionally. “People ask me all the time, ‘What kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola?’ And I say, ‘Exhume those bodies, exhume those stories – the stories of the people who dreamed big and never saw those dreams to fruition.”
Mahershala Ali becomes the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar
Mahershala Ali just wrapped up an impressive year in television and film with his appearances in the series “House of Cards” and “Luke Cage” and the movie “Hidden Figures.” But the academy recognized his performance as Juan in “Moonlight” worthy of best supporting actor honors, giving him the distinction as the first Muslim actor to ever win an Oscar.
“I want to thank my teachers, my professors, my so many wonderful teachers,” he said before revealing the most important lesson they instilled in him. “It’s not about you, it’s about these characters. You are a servant. You’re in service to these stories and these characters and I’m so blessed to have had an opportunity.”
Photo: David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock