Sam Rockwell Three Billboards
Sam Rockwell (left) and Frances McDormand in “Three Billboards.”

The 90th Academy Awards began as predicted Sunday evening, with Sam Rockwell winning the prize for best supporting actor for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and Allison Janney being named best supporting actress for “I, Tonya.”

For the 49-year-old Rockwell, the win for his portrayal of a police officer in the crime drama was the first Oscar of his career, on his first nomination.

In an exuberant acceptance speech at the Dolby Theatre, he thanked his parents for their love of movies that was passed on to him. He said when he was 9 years old he was called into the principal’s office at school, only to find his father there, telling him they had to go see his grandmother.

“I got in the car and I said, `What’s wrong with grandma?’ and he said, `Nothing. We’re going to the movies,”‘ Rockwell said.

He hailed all of his castmates in “Three Billboards,” and gave high praise to writer-director Martin McDonagh.

“Martin McDonagh, I wouldn’t be standing here if it wasn’t for you,” he said. “I want to do 10 other movies with you.”

Rockwell had already won Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice and Screen Actors Guild awards for his work in the film.

Allison Janney
Allison Janney portrays LaVona Golden in “I, Tonya.” Photo courtesy Of Neon

Janney, 58, did the same, and she carried that success into Oscar night.

“I did it all by myself,” she joked as she took the stage to accept the honor. “Ok, nothing further from the truth.”

She also hailed her cast and gave praise to her friend, screenwriter Steven Rogers, who has said he wrote the role of Harding’s mother with Janney in mind.

“Steven Rogers, look what you did,” Janney said. “Look what you did. You’re a brilliant writer. Thank you for the gift of LaVona. I did not see this coming, you did. You give new meaning to the word `friend.”‘

Janney also gave a shout-out to Joanne Woodward, who mentored her early in her career, thanking her for “your encouragement and generosity that gave me the confidence to think I could pursue a career in acting.”

She concluded her speech by dedicating the award to her brother, Hal, who suffered from addiction and depression and committed suicide in 2011.

“This is for you, Hal,” she said. “You’re always in my heart.”

Disney/Pixar’s “Coco” won the Oscar for best animated film, while Chile’s “A Fantastic Woman” was named best foreign language film.

Retired Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant added an Oscar to his collection of career accolades, winning the prize for best animated short along with Glen Keane for “Dear Basketball,” a dramatization of Bryant’s retirement announcement.

The trio of Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski and Lucy Sibbick won the prize for makeup and hairstyling for their work on “Darkest Hour,” transforming Oldman into British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Mark Bridges won his second career Oscar for costume design for “Phantom Thread.” He previously won in the category for “The Artist.” The Oscar for documentary feature went to “Icarus,” a probing look at doping by Russian athletes.

Director Christopher Nolan’s war epic “Dunkirk” swept the sound categories, with Alex Gibson and Richard King winning for sound editing and Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker and Gary Rizzo winning for sound mixing. The film also won for film editing by Lee Smith.

“The Shape of Water,” the night’s top nominee with 13, won an early prize for production design for production designer Paul Austerberry and set decorators Jeffrey Melvin and Shane Vieau.

The visual effects Oscar went to the team from “Blade Runner 2049” — John Nelson, Paul Lambert, Richard R. Hoover and Gerd Nefzer.

Opening the ceremony, host Jimmy Kimmel didn’t shy away from jokes about the mix-up at last year’s ceremony, when “La La Land” was mistakenly announced as winner of the best picture Oscar, which actually went to “Moonlight.”

Talking to the star-studded audience in his opening monologue, Kimmel joked, “When you hear your name called, don’t get up right away.”

While the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences took several behind-the-scenes steps to prevent another error, including banning electronic devices backstage. But another measure that was obvious to viewers was the envelopes containing the names of the winners. The envelopes were black with bold gold lettering to ensure the presenters had the right one for the right category.

Kimmel also addressed the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements against sexual harassment and inequality, including a nervously received quip about disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein, who was thrown out of the Academy last year in light of the sexual harassment and assault allegations against him.

But Kimmel tried to keep the mood upbeat, saying, “Things are changing for the better. It’s a positive change. This is a night for positivity.”


–City News Service

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