Donald Trump was clearly the elephant at Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre; while the major snafu on the best picture Oscar was a kind of testament to change, it struck a blow for diversity by picking Moonlight, a story of a gay African-American boy growing up in poverty in the US, at the cost of the technically-perfect musical La La Land. Moonlight also gave us the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar in Mahershela Ali, further enhanced by Viola Davis winning best supporting actress for Fences; the first time winners in both genders in this category were black. There was also a tale behind the best actor winner: Casey Afleck, a star whose possible dark past in molesting and harassing women, surfaced again before the Oscars, setting off a debate on his art being greater than the flawed artist.
Host Jimmy Kimmel set the ball rolling with “I want to say thank you to President Trump. I mean, remember this time last year when it seemed the Oscars were racist?” said Kimmel, referring to the #OscarsSoWhite row. Trump-bashers like Meryl Streep came in for special praise, as filmmakers denounced hate, racism and the Mexican Wall. Those conspicuous by their absence made powerful points too, like Iranian director Asgar Farhadi and Syrian Khaled Khateeb. It rained social messages of a deeper truth as candy, cookies and donuts floated down from the ceiling to amuse the Hollywood glitterati.