LOS ANGELES — The Jimmy Kimmel-hosted 89th Academy Awards seesawed between jabs at Donald Trump and passionate arguments for inclusivity, with early awards going to Viola Davis, Mahershala Ali and O.J.: Made in America.
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Protests, boycotts and rallies have swirled ahead of Sunday night's Oscars. But Kimmel, in his opening monologue, quickly acknowledged that he "was not that guy" to heal a divided America.
Kimmel instead struck an irreverent but sarcastic tone, singling out Meryl Streep, whom President Donald Trump derided as "over-rated" after her fiery Golden Globes speech last month. Listing some of her credits, Kimmel said Streep has "phoned it in for over 50 films."
The wins for Davis, who co-starred in Denzel Washington's August Wilson adaptation Fences, and Ali, the Moonlight co-star, were both widely expected. Their awards marked the first time in more than a decade that multiple Oscar acting honors went to black actors.
Both stuck to more private reflections over politics. But a more blunt protest came from a winner not in attendance. Best foreign film for the second time went to Asghar Farhadi, director of Iran's A Salesman. Farhadi had said he wouldn't attend because of Trump's travel band to seven predominantly Muslim nations. Anousheh Ansari, an Iranian astronaut, read a statement from Farhadi.
"I'm sorry I'm not with you tonight," it read. "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."
Ezra Edelman's O.J.: Made in America took best documentary, making it — at 467 minutes — the longest Oscar winner ever, beating out the 1969 Best Foreign Language Film winner War and Peace (431 minutes). Edelman's documentary, while it received an Oscar-qualifying theatrical release, was seen by most on ESPN as a serial, prompting some to claim its place was at the Emmys, not the Oscars.
Edelman dedicated the award to the victims of the famous crime, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
The #OscarsSoWhite crisis of the last two years was largely quelled this season by a richly diverse slate of nominees, thanks to films like Moonlight, Fences and Hidden Figures. A record six black actors were nominated. For the first time ever, a person of color is nominated in each acting category. And four of the five best documentary nominees were also directed by black filmmakers.
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