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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Moments at which 2018 Oscars were better or for worse

The 2018 Oscars had important things it wanted to say, but it didn't always know the way to say it. For a year that made important strides in diversity and gender parity, there wasn't a whole lot of talk of such efforts, except for a few timely jokes from host Jimmy Kimmel and some pointed jabs from socially minded presenters who used the most of their few seconds in the spotlight. That is, until Frances McDormand ascended to the stage and claimed her Oscar and with an important call to action: "inclusion rider."

But even for a night of mixed messages, history was made and lessons were learned. Without further ado, let's take a look at some of the most defining moments of the 90th Academy Awards:

One of the best moments of the night was a blink-and-you'll-miss it hug between Mexican actor Gael García Bernal and Guatemalan-American actor Oscar Isaac. Coco had just won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, in which Isaac had proudly exclaimed, "¡Viva Latin America!" — and the two shared a warm embrace on the Oscars stage as Pixar producer Darla K. Anderson took the mic. For an animated film like Coco, a film that celebrates the beauty of Mexican culture, to win the Oscar at a time when Trump's first border wall construction is underway speaks volumes to the night's overall themes of diversity and inclusion. After all, just an hour earlier the Oscars had been transformed into Santa Cecilia, as colorful neon lights and traditional Mexican dancers flooded the stage for a rousing performance of "Remember Me," the Oscar-winning song from the Pixar film.

Films like Coco, which was co-directed by Mexican-American animator Adrián Molina, and Chile's A Fantastic Woman, from Argentinian director Sebastián Leilo and starring Chilean trans singer-actress Daniela Vega, broke through barriers with their Oscar wins. (Vega even became the first openly transgender presenter at the Academy Awards.) And Mexican director Guillermo del Toro took home the night's two biggest awards — Best Director and Best Picture — for his fantastical romance, A Shape of Water, a film that he had originally conceived of when he was just a boy obsessed with monsters and fairy tales growing up in Guadalajara.

Though, del Toro isn't alone atop the apex; Mexican directors have won four out of the last five Best Director Oscars, including del Toro's friends and contemporaries Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity) and Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman, The Revenant).

INTRODUCING KUMAIL NANJIANI
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Move over Timothée Chalamet, the real breakout star of this awards season is… Kumail Nanjiani? If you only know Nanjiani from his character work on HBO's Silicon Valley, then chances are you formerly met the Pakistani-American actor on Oscars night and realized, "Hey, this guy's pretty charming." Nanjiani and his wife, Emily V. Gordon, may have lost the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay to Jordan Peele, but he made the most of his moment, taking part in one of the more memorable montages of the night — sharing his endearing observations about diversity in film — and standing in solidarity with the Dreamers alongside Lupita Nyong'o while playfully shading Chris Pine.

And his social media followers were treated to delightful highlights from inside the Dolby Theatre, like this photo of Gordon answering Best Actress winner Frances McDormand's call for all the female Oscar nominees to stand with her toward the end of the night.

GOLDEN GIRL GRETA GERWIG
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Despite its five nominations, Greta Gerwig's solo directorial debut Lady Bird didn't win any Oscars — but you wouldn't know that looking at Gerwig throughout the night. She wore her love for movies, and the process of filmmaking, on her face in every cutaway shot. She looked like she was genuinely having a good time, rooting on her friends and celebrating cinema. Case in point: In the midst of del Toro's heartfelt acceptance speech for Best Picture,

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