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Oscars 2017: Hollywood vs Washington | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Oscars are arguably the most prestigious awards of the seasons

Los Angeles – Millions of people were eagerly waiting on Sunday evening to watch the Oscars’ Festival to celebrate the best movies of 2016, marking the 89th edition of the Academy Awards since 1929, when the First World War movie “Wings” won the first Academy Award for Best Production.

William A. Wellman’s movie wasn’t the only one to win an Oscar at that evening – “Sunrise” which was directed by German F. W. Murnau also won the Academy Award for Unique and Artistic Picture.

The procedures and measures of awards and nominations have changed many times since then . Over the 88 past evenings, the gold award reflected the activity of Hollywood’s production industry – which witnessed many transformations and evolutions.

“La la Land”, was first an independent movie, but was later adopted by “Lions Gate”, a prominent production company for distribution. According to Hollywood’s classic approaches, independent movies like “Hacksaw Ridge” and “Arrival” were not adopted by eminent studios but have the same spirit of Hollywood’s productions. Whereas “Lion” and “Fences” are considered actual independent productions. On another hand, 2016 saw many other movies which were produced by major companies like “Manchester by the Sea” produced by a new – but big – company “Amazon Studios” and “Hidden Figures” produced by 20th Century Fox.

Appealing Factors

Movies covered in this edition of the Academy Awards come from different backgrounds and were made by different directors:

> Canadian Denis Villeneuve, the director of “Arrival”, is the only participant director who has ten movies in his background.

> There were two movies by two directors who are actors at the same time: “Hacksaw Ridge” by Mill Gibson and “No Barriers” by Denzel Washington.

> “Hell or High Water” by American David Mackenzie who is an unknown director and has more than five short and independent movies in his background.

> There were three directors who participated to showcase their 2nd work: “Moonlight” by Barry Jenkins, “La la Land” by Damien Chazelle, and “Lion” by Garth Davis.

After the long-awaited event, media outlets were expected to focus on stars’ outfits and appearances during the festival, while production companies were busy comparing the number of winning movies with the revenues they gained in the box offices.

However, people focused on the ongoing conflict between Hollywood and the White House, following the anti-immigration positions launched by the new U.S. President Donald Trump.

Over the few past years, the number of people interested in the Oscars Festival has seen a gradual drop. In the United States, Oscars’ viewers reached around 37 million in 2015 compared to 44 million in 2014, while it dropped to 34 million in 2016.


At the Oscar evening, people expected most of the event’s guests and winners to attack the policies adopted by Trump, mainly his position against immigration, which caused the exclusion of an Iranian Director Asghar Farhadi from the participation in the Academy Award Event. A Syrian photographer was also banned from participating because he didn’t get a visa.

Nominees and Prizes

Best actor

Nominated for this prize was Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea), Denzel Washington (Fences), and Ryan Gosling (La La Land).

Best actress

Nominated for this prize: Emma Stone (La La Land), Natalie Portman (Jackie), and Isabelle Huppert (Elle).

Best supporting actor

Nominated for this prize: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water), and Dev Patel (Lion).

Best supporting actress

Nominated for this prize: Viola Davis (Fences), Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Nicole Kidman (Lion), Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures) and Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea). However, the Afro-American Viola Davis is the most lucky to win.