Moonlight crowned as the best picture at Oscars
Davis continued her streak of winning every acting award for which she was eligible for “Fences,” becoming the first black female actor to win an Emmy, Tony, and Oscar for acting. “People ask me all the time, what kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola?” she said in her speech. “And I say, exhume those bodies. Exhume those stories, the stories of the people who dreamed big and never saw those dreams to fruition.... I became an artist and thank God I did because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.”
“Moonlight,” a coming-of-age story about a black boy in Miami made for $1.5 million, bested seven other strong best picture contenders: Paramount Pictures’ “Arrival” (which won for sound editing and mixing) and “Fences” (supporting actress Viola Davis), Lionsgate’s “Hacksaw Ridge” (editing) and “Hell or High Water,” 20th Century Fox’s “Hidden Figures,” The Weinstein Company’s “Lion,” and Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions’ “Manchester by the Sea,” which netted Oscars for Kenneth Lonergan’s original screenplay and Casey Affleck’s leading performance.
In accepting the first award of the night, Ali, the first Muslim actor to win an Academy Award, thanked his teachers and acting coaches for their advice: “It’s not about you, it’s about these characters. You are in service to this story and these characters. I’m so blessed to have this opportunity.”
In perhaps the most dramatic moment in the history of Oscars telecasts, the Jimmy Kimmel-hosted ceremony ended with the producers of “Moonlight” taking the stage after “La La Land” had mistakenly been announced as best picture. Damien Chazelle’s movie musical totaled six wins, including best director and leading actress Emma Stone, while “Moonlight” won only two others: for best supporting actor Mahershala Ali and for Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney’s adapted screenplay.