History Made at the 90th Academy Awards: Highlights and Winners


Christina Lee, Section editor

The 90th Academy Awards took place in Los Angeles on March 4, breaking records and making history. From host Jimmy Kimmel’s running joke about the jet ski prize to the Oscars winners’ statements on the #MeToo movement, the night was full of memorable moments.

Making History

Actors, writers, and filmmakers alike made a lasting mark during this year’s Academy Awards.

Meryl Streep broke her own record as the most Oscar-nominated actor, receiving her 21st nomination for her portrayal of Katharine Graham in “The Post.”

Octavia Spencer, this year’s nominee for Best Supporting Actress, became the first African-American actress to receive multiple Oscar nominations after a previous win.

Kobe Bryant became the first professional athlete to win an Academy Award as “Dear Basketball” won Best Animated Short Film.

Daniela Vega became the first openly transgender presenter. She starred in “A Fantastic Woman” which won Best Foreign Language Film.

Jordan Peele made his mark as the first black screenwriter to win best original screenplay with the film “Get Out.”

Rachel Morrison was the first female nominated for the cinematography award.

A record 40 women received nominations this year.

Eliana Mugar, junior at Vista del Lago High School, watched the Academy Awards on the Sunday night in March. An avid fan of movies, Mugar had favorites that won the Oscar.

“I’m glad that ‘Get Out’ won Best Original Screenplay. It was great to see that [Peele] wrote a more action-oriented, intense movie that had a deeper message behind it,” said Mugar.


  1. Frances McDormand…

Frances McDormand’s call for representation during her acceptance speech for Best Actress in a Leading Role gained attention across the internet.

“I have two words to leave with you tonight, ladies and gentlemen: inclusion rider,” she said. Her reference to “inclusion rider” incited a surge of Google and Merriam-Webster Dictionary searches for the term.

In essence, inclusion rider is a contract that allows actors to demand 50 percent diversity in their casted films, something that McDormand “just found out about this last week,” according to her interview with reporters after the awards ceremony.

  1. …and the Oscar Theft?

Then, her Oscar went missing. Police arrested Terry Bryant on suspicion of felony after he had allegedly taken McDormand’s statuette at Governors Ball. Bryant received a bail amount of $20,000, but Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Deborah S. Brazil agreed to release Bryant without bail due to his lack of threat to the community.

  1. New Envelopes

This year’s envelopes also became a craze on the internet. To avoid last year’s mistake of announcing the wrong Best Picture winner, the Academy guaranteed that the Oscars presenters and viewers at home could see the new changes—thick gold letters printed across the black envelope ensured that there wouldn’t be another mix-up this year.

  1. Crashing a Movie Theater

Leading up to the climax of the ceremony, viewers watched in amusement as Kimmel and several other stars including Gal Gadot, Margot Robbie, Lupita Nyong’o, and Ansel Elgort crashed what moviegoers thought was a special screening of “A Wrinkle in Time.” The celebrities met with surprised viewers and gave out snacks.

  1. Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph

Presenters Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph received laughs and requests for them to return as hosts next year from Twitter users. In their speech, the duo cracked jokes about diversity and #OscarsSoWhite, all while wearing Ugg slippers.

“When we came out together, we know some of you were thinking, ‘Are the Oscars too black now?’” said Haddish.

“But we just want to say, don’t worry. There are so many more white people to come tonight,” Rudolph said in reply.

Watch Haddish and Rudolph’s speech here.

Watching from home, Mugar noticed the underlying theme of representation and diversity among the speeches given by the presenters and winners. “[The Academy Awards] is a good platform to get your message out to the world,” she said. “But all of what the celebrities say shouldn’t be taken into fact. It’s a matter of understanding your own stance on certain issues.”

“Advocating for equality, diversity, and representation isn’t a bad thing at all. It’s good that they’re preaching that positive message out to people,” said Mugar. “I just hope that Oscar winners aren’t chosen solely because of their minority background—I hope they’re still chosen by their artistic influence and creativity.”

  1. Kobe Bryant, Academy Award Winner

Kobe Bryant, whose film won Best Animated Short Film, became the first NBA player to win an Oscar but also created controversy over his questionable past. Social media users expressed their disdain towards Bryant’s win, pointing out his previous sexual assault allegations.

Junior Danielle Lo had conflicting thoughts on the issue. While recognizing the impact of Bryant’s controversy during the #MeToo era, she also considered the objectivity of electing Oscar winners. “We’re not praising the person but rather the artistic work they produce,” she said.

  1. Mark Bridges, Jet Ski Winner

Amid the political statements made, Kimmel’s “jet ski” joke kept the atmosphere light during the ceremony. The host promised to gift the Oscar winner with the shortest acceptance speech a new jet ski, a contest discussed beforehand with writers and lawyers. “This is not a joke. I will be timing you. I have a stopwatch,” said Kimmel.

Mark Bridges, the costume designer for “Phantom Thread” eventually won the prize as his speech clocked in at 36 seconds.

  1. “Lady Bird”

Throughout the ceremony, Northern Californians held their breath as they waited for “Lady Bird” to take an Oscar. Based and filmed in Sacramento, Calif., “Lady Bird” earned five nominations but failed to win any awards.

Despite “Lady Bird’s” empty-handed Oscars experience, director Greta Gerwig, a Sacramento native, created a Californian sensation. The blue house from the film became a tourist attraction, as fans flocked to the California capital for a glimpse of the iconic home.


Finally, the winners of each category:

  • Best Picture: “The Shape of Water”
  • Actor in a Leading Role: Gary Oldman
  • Actress in a Leading Role: Frances McDormand
  • Actor in a Supporting Role: Sam Rockwell
  • Actress in a Supporting Role: Allison Janney
  • Animated Feature Film: “Coco”
  • Cinematography: “Blade Runner 2049”
  • Costume Design: “Phantom Thread”
  • Directing: “The Shape of Water”
  • Documentary (feature): “Icarus”
  • Documentary (short subject): “Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405”
  • Film Editing: “Dunkirk”
  • Foreign Language Film: “A Fantastic Woman” (Una mujer fantástica)
  • Makeup and Hairstyling: “Darkest Hour”
  • Music (original score): “The Shape of Water”
  • Music (original song): “Remember Me” from “Coco”
  • Production Design: “The Shape of Water”
  • Short Film (animated): “Dear Basketball”
  • Short Film (live action): “The Silent Child”
  • Sound Editing: “Dunkirk”
  • Sound Mixing: “Dunkirk”
  • Visual Effects: “Blade Runner 2049”
  • Writing (adapted screenplay): “Call Me By Your Name”
  • Writing (original screenplay): “Get Out”