13 Oscar Records That Were Broken Last Night

David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock
We still haven’t recovered from last night’s Academy Awards ceremony. Not only is the news on TV fake, but it’s looking like the Best Picture announcements are, too! Where’s a person to turn for the truth these days?
Last night’s Best Picture snafu was only one of many ground-breaking moments from the 2017 Oscars. Denzel Washington performed a marriage ceremony. Jimmy Kimmel recreated the opener to The Lion King with Sunny Pawar, aka the most adorable child of all time. Dev Patel and Lin Manuel Miranda brought their mothers as their dates to the ceremony, and the entire world sighed collectively.
Advertisement
But it wasn’t just fun and games. The ceremony was bursting with record-shattering moments that will certainly hold significance in careers and ceremonies to come. Those weren’t just awards doled out last night — many of them were monuments to changing times.
1 of 13
Getty Images / Image Group LA / Contributor
A Best Picture mix-up of unprecedented proportions

The wild Best Picture switch-up made me suspect that last night’s Oscars were actually a movie about the Oscars. The trouble started when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were handed the envelope for Best Actress, not Best Picture. Amidst the confusion, Dunaway announced the winner as La La Land, since Emma Stone had won for that film. It was only after each of the La La Land producers gave their triumphant speeches that two partners from PricewaterhouseCoopers casually strolled onstage to correct what had gone grievously awry: Moonlight, not La La Land, had won Best Picture.

While rumors of misread cards have abounded over the years (re: Marisa Tomei’s shocking win in 1990), this is the first incident it’s actually happened.
2 of 13
David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock
Viola Davis becomes the first Black woman to receive an Oscar, Emmy, and Tony for Acting

Enter, Viola, the hallowed halls of the “triple crown of acting,” the most exclusive club in the acting world. Only 23 other individuals have received an Oscar, Emmy, and Tony award for acting, and Davis is the first Black woman to do so. For her performance in Fences, Davis joins a group of acting legends like Helen Mirren, Al Pacino, and Jessica Lange. But has any other Best Actress winner given such a grand, moving acceptance speech? Doubtful.

Side note: Whoopi Goldberg also received a similar triple-threat, but her Tony came from producing Thoroughly Modern Millie, not acting.
Advertisement
3 of 13
John Milne/SilverHub/REX/Shutterstock
Mahershala Ali becomes the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar.

Talk about groundbreaking. Actor Mahershala Ali won Best Supporting Actor for his work in Moonlight, a film about a gay Black man’s childhood and formation. When accepting his SAG award earlier this year, Ali spoke of his conversion to Islam 17 years ago.
4 of 13
Andrew H. Walker/REX/Shutterstock
La La Land is the first film to earn 14 nominations, but lose Best Picture

For a minute there, we thought La La Land set an all-time Oscar record for most wins for any film. Currently, the highest number of awards for any film is tied between Ben-Hur, Titanic, and The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, with 11 wins each. To make matters worse, La La Land’s failure to win renders it the first movie to garner 14 nominations but lose the Big Kahuna.
5 of 13
Andrew H. Walker/REX/Shutterstock
Damien Chazelle becomes the youngest person to win Best Director

Chazelle’s movie La La Land is about young dreamers who achieve vast professional success before they develop gray hair. Sometimes, life imitates art. At the ripe young age of 32 (four years younger than La La Land star Ryan Gosling himself!), Chazelle took home the prize for Best Director.
6 of 13
Courtesy of ESPN
O.J. Made in America is the longest film to ever win an Oscar

Is it a mini-series? Is it a documentary? Either way, it’s an Oscar winner. Clocking in at seven hours and 47 minutes, this five-part documentary was produced for ESPN Film’s 30 for 30 series. With such ample time, director Ezra Edelman had room to explore every aspect of OJ Simpson’s career, from his emergence as a football superstar to his murder accusation and acquittal.
7 of 13
Jim Smeal/REX/Shutterstock
For the first time, more than three Black winners took home an award

2017 was a remarkable ceremony not just for group achievements, but for individual accolades. This year unveiled the Academy's most diverse list of nominees ever, and ultimately, its most diverse set of winners.

The full list of Black winners includes Mahershala Ali for Best Supporting Actor in Moonlight; Viola Davis for Best Supporting Actress in Fences; O.J.: Made in America director-producer Ezra Edelman for Best Documentary Feature; and Moonlight’s Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney for Best Adapted Screenplay. Not to mention Moonlight itself, whose Best Picture win was a triumph for its all-Black ensemble.
Advertisement
8 of 13
Moviestore Collection/REX/Shutterstock
With Fantastic Beasts, the Harry Potter franchise wins its first Oscar

We always thought Eddie Redmayne looked particularly dashing in that overcoat he sported in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a prequel to the Harry Potter films. Turns out our instincts were right. Last night, Fantastic Beasts won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design. Though the Harry Potter films have accrued 14 Academy Award noms over the years, Fantastic Beasts is the first to win.
9 of 13
Jim Smeal/REX/Shutterstock
Moonlight’s producer Dede Gardner becomes the first female producer to win two Best Picture awards

Fun fact: the award for Best Picture actually goes to the film's producers, not director. So, when Moonlight claimed its rightful award, producer Dede Gardner also made history as the first woman to win two Best Picture awards. Her first win was for Twelve Years a Slave in 2014, and was followed up by 2017's Moonlight. Go Dede go!
10 of 13
David Bornfriend/A24/REX/Shutterstock
Moonlight is the first LGBTQ-themed film to win Best Picture

And with that, the great Brokeback Mountain snub of 2005 has been redeemed at last. Following Moonlight’s surprise win, GLAAD tweeted that the Best Picture winner was also the first film with a main queer storyline to win the grand prize.
11 of 13
Jim Smeal/REX/Shutterstock
With The White Helmets, Netflix wins its first Oscar

Telling the story of a group of Syrian men who try to save bomb victims from surrounding wreckage, Netflix’s documentary The White Helmets won for Best Documentary (Short Subject).

For the documentary crew, however, the triumph is bittersweet. Due to current U.S. immigration policy, Syrian cinematographer Khaled Khatib was denied entry into the country. When accepting the award, The White Helmets' director and producer read a statement from Khatib that said, "I'll invite anyone here who hears me to work on the side of life to stop the bloodshed in Syria and around the world."
12 of 13
David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock
Amazon comes home with three Oscars

With both Netflix and Amazon scoring statuettes, last night was a big night for streaming companies. Though Netflix beat Amazon to the chase, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos got to walk away with three Oscars as well. Amazon produced Manchester by the Sea, which won in the Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay categories, and The Salesman, an Iranian film which won Best Foreign Language Film.
13 of 13
Jim Smeal/REX/Shutterstock
With Kevin O’Connell’s win, the longest nomination streak comes to a close

Over his four-decade career, O’Connell earned 20 nods for films like Top Gun and Twister. After a lifetime of arduous Oscars ceremonies, O’Connell finally got his first award for Hacksaw Ridge. Talk about patience.

Mr. O'Connell is second from the right.
Advertisement