By the end of 2016, the frontrunners for this year's Academy Awards nominations were clear: Moonlight and La La Land led the charge, along with Jackie, Arrival, and Manchester by the Sea. The war epic Hacksaw Ridge and the contemporary Western Hell or High Water also scooped up nominations. And as the race to the 2017 Oscars heated up, many of the creative forces behind the year's biggest films — and a few of its sleeper hits — found their way to our attention On the occasion of Sunday night's awards ceremony, here, we look back at the biggest winners in the pages of W.
Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay: Moonlight
After an envelope mix-up led Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway to announce La La Land as Best Picture, the error was quickly corrected and the award given to Barry Jenkins's Moonlight. The director, producers, writer Tarrell Alvin McCraney, and the whole ensemble cast took to the stage to accept their prize—including Ashton Sanders, the young actor who plays middle-Chiron and has since become a Calvin Klein darling, and Naomie Harris, who plays Chiron's addict mother.
Best Director: Damien Chazelle, La La Land
The 32-year-old director first earned Oscar attention at the 2015 awards with his feature Whiplash, which was nominated for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound Mixing; J.K. Simmons won Best Supporting Actor for his role as a militaristic jazz band conductor. La La Land, Chazelle's second feature, earned him a massive 13 nominations—and he came home with the Best Director statuette to show for it.
Best Actress: Emma Stone, La La Land
At first, Emma Stone was nervous about singing in La La Land (though the actress also took a turn on Broadway in Cabaret), but the Best Actress winner had no qualms about admitting she sucks her thumb.
Best Actor: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Quietly devastating in Manchester by the Sea, Casey Affleck cut an impressively scruffy figure on the red carpet while supporting his Oscar-nominated film. He claimed the top acting prize Sunday night, edging out Denzel Washington of Fences. Though Affleck often doesn't watch his own movies once they're completed, he couldn't resist when it came to Manchester: "I felt like I’d been through something kind of profound experience with Kenny [Lonergan, the director], and I wanted to have some closure on it. I didn’t want to not see the movie," he told W Editor at Large Lynn Hirschberg.
Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis, Fences
With her win last night—in a category that was widely regarded as hers to lose, as she'd already won a Tony for playing the same role—Viola Davis became the first black woman to win an Oscar, a Tony, and an Emmy for acting.
Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Though Mahershala Ali was already a recognizable face to fans of House of Cards, his role in Moonlight captivated wider audiences—despite his relatively small amount of screen time. Ali plays Juan, a drug dealer who becomes an adoptive father to Chiron (along with Janelle Monáe's Teresa, who plays Juan's girlfriend). He appears in just the first act of the film, but his "Oscars scene"—that baptism in the sea—alone was enough to cement the character in the hearts of Academy members.
Best Original Screenplay: Manchester by the Sea
Kenneth Lonergan, the mastermind director and writer behind Manchester by the Sea, earned several nods for his work on the heartbreaking small-town New England drama, as did cast members Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams. Lonergan himself took home the prize for Best Original Screenplay, but we're betting this time next year, supporting actress Anna Baryshnikov will be ready to take center stage.
Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Score, and Best Original Song: La La Land
With its impressive, sweeping opening scene and dream-sequence finale, there was little doubt that La La Land would take home a major technical prize in addition to its acting accolades. It also nabbed the major musical prizes — no surprise, given that it's been touted as the movie that will revive the Golden Age movie-musical once more.
Best Costume Design: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
The adaptation of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter spinoff of the same title, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them takes the wizarding world stateside, and features musician Alison Sudol, who records as A Fine Frenzy, in her biggest role yet.
Best Film Editing and Best Sound Mixing: Hacksaw Ridge
Though it also earned a Best Actor nomination for its lead actor, Andrew Garfield, and as well as nominations for Best Picture and Best Director for Mel Gibson, it wasn't fated to be Hacksaw Ridge's night. Still, the war epic took home a handful of technical awards among its six nominations.
Best Makeup and Hair Styling: Suicide Squad
Superhero (antihero) blockbuster Suicide Squad made an obvious choice for the Makeup and Hair Styling Oscar, given that its all-star cast, which included Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, and Cara Delevingne, practically dissolved into their gruesome, deranged characters. But it was breakout star Karen Fukuhara, the mystery woman of Suicide Squad, who really caught our attention last summer.
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