In 2002, Halle Berry made history. She was the first black woman to win the lead actress Oscar for her role in Marc Forster's "Monster's Ball." In her acceptance speech, she dedicated the win to "the women that stand beside me, Jada Pinkett [Smith], Angela Bassett, Vivica Fox."
"And it's for every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened," she said. "Thank you. I'm so honored."
But 15 years later, the door allegedly opened that night has not seen another woman of color enter it since. That's not because lack of talent or nominations.
Damien Chazelle won the best director Oscar for his film “La La Land,” a candy-colored musical romance starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. At 32, Chazelle became the youngest person to win in the director category.
Last year, his film “Whiplash” was nominated for five Oscars, including best picture.
In an essay on musicals for The Times, Chazelle wrote, “I wanted to make a movie that would embrace the magic of musicals but root it in the rhythms and texture of real life. I wanted the dances to feel like honest extensions of the characters’ feelings. I wanted to make it seem as though breaking into song were the most natural thing in the world. I wanted to make a movie about how life feels when you're in love and full of dreams in the big city. “
In their near identical tuxedos, Alan Barillaro and Marc Sondheimer were the dynamic duo of humility and cool, backstage in the press room after winning animated short for Pixar’s rite-of-passage story “Piper.”
“It’s quite an honor,” Barillaro said, "and four of those [other] nominees, we’re so proud to have our names next to those colleagues. It’s nice to celebrate short films with them.”
About the technology that made the film possible, Barillaro added: “When you talk technology, the art form is the pencil … we ignored the world of realism and went for the artistic choices. A lot of the work was looking at classical paintings.”
Unlike the Golden Globes, which is centered on a boozy dinner, there's no food or drink allowed inside the Dolby Theatre. Hence the emergency rations of candy that host Jimmy Kimmel has been dropping from the rafters to hungry stars.
The show's producers planned a candystravaganza for the 89th Academy Awards after the Emmys scored a meme-able moment by having the "Stranger Things" kids pass out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the air.
But at the Oscars there isn't a PB&J in sight -- only Junior Mints, Red Vines and other assorted candies to get guests through the long haul, passed out once every four commercial breaks to those inside the theater.
The story of "Moonlight" began long before director Barry Jenkins' involvement propelled the film to eight Academy Award nominations. In fact, it began in 2003 while then budding-playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney was applying to grad school.
As part of his application to Yale's School of Drama, he wrote the play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue.” But unlike the film it would eventually become, it played out in a circular motion with life happening for the youngest, middle and oldest versions of the character all at once. (Imagine a kid waking up and brushing his teeth, followed by his adolescent self and adult self doing the same actions.)
“I was trying to figure out what little me and middle me and grown me were doing that was the same and not the same,” McCraney said about the play’s structure and inspiration. “What patterns I was repeating, what is this life?”
Barry Jenkins’ script for “Moonlight” won for adapted screenplay. The movie about the coming-of-age of a gay black boy in a drug-infested Miami neighborhood was based on a stage play by Tarell Alvin McCraney.