Shared from the 2017-02-27 Chattanooga eEdition

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Oscars: Awards go to Ali, Davis, ‘O.J.’

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THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Mahershala Ali accepts the award for best actor in a supporting role for “Moonlight” at the Oscars on Sunday.

LOS ANGELES — The Jimmy Kimmel-hosted 89th Academy Awards seesawed between jabs at Donald Trump and passionate arguments for inclusivity, with early awards going to Viola Davis and Mahershala Ali.

The show kicked off with Justin Timberlake dancing down the Dolby Theatre aisles, singing his ebullient song, “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” from the animated film “Trolls.” It was an early cue that the Oscars would steer, at least in part, toward festiveness rather than heavy-handed politics. Protests, boycotts and rallies have swirled ahead of Sunday night’s Oscars. But host Kimmel, in his opening monologue, quickly acknowledged that he “was not that guy” to heal a divided America.

Kimmel instead struck an irreverent but sarcastic tone, singling out Meryl Streep, whom President Donald Trump derided as “overrated” after her fiery Golden Globes speech last month. Listing some of her credits, Kimmel said Streep has “phoned it in for over 50 films.” He led a standing ovation for the “overrated” actress before adding a pointed punchline: “Nice dress, by the way,” he said. “Is that an Ivanka?”

The host then predicted Trump was sure to tweet about the night’s awards at 5 a.m. “during his bowel movements.”

The wins for Davis, who co-starred in Denzel Washington’s August Wilson adaptation “Fences,” and Ali, were both widely expected. Their wins marked the first time that multiple Oscar acting awards went to black actors in more than a decade.

“I became an artist, and thank God I did, because we are the only profession to celebrate what it means to live a life,” said Davis, the best supporting actress winner. “So here’s to August Wilson, who exhumed and exalted the ordinary people.”

Ali won best supporting actor for “Moonlight.” He glowed on the stage as he informed the crowd that he and his wife, Amatus Sami-Karim, welcomed a daughter four days earlier. The actor thanked his wife for “being such a soldier through the process.”

The associate producer of “Moonlight” is John Montague, who grew up on Lookout Mountain and attended Baylor.

Neither actor struck a political tone in their speeches. Instead the most powerful political moment perhaps came from a winner not in attendance. Best foreign film for the second time went to Asghar Farhadi, director of Iran’s “A Salesman.” Farhadi, who also won for his “A Separation,” had said he wouldn’t attend because of Trump’s travel ban to seven predominantly Muslim nations. Anousheh Ansari, an Iranian astronaut, read a statement from Farhadi.

“I’m sorry I’m not with you tonight,” it read. “My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of other six nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S.”

“Hacksaw Ridge,” won the Oscar for sound editing.

“Hacksaw Ridge” is based on the life of Medal of Honor winner Desmond Doss, who spent most of his adult life in Rising Fawn, Ga., and died in 2006.

Ezra Edelman’s “O.J.: Made in America” took best documentary, making it — at 467 minutes — the longest Oscar winner ever, beating out the 1969 Best Foreign Language Film winner “War and Peace.”

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