27 Feb 2017

Oscars 2017: Davis and Ali win for Fences, Moonlight

9:58 pm on 27 February 2017

For the first time in three years, black actors have won Oscars.

Viola Davis has won best supporting actress for her role in Fences, and Mahershala Ali has won best supporting actor for his role in Moonlight.

Viola Davis won best supporting actress for her role in 'Fences' and Mahershala Ali won best supporting actor for his role in 'Moonlight'. Photo: AFP

At the Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, Viola Davis has won best supporting actress for her role in Fences and Mahershala Ali best supporting actor for his role in Moonlight.

Join RNZ's live blog for all the latest from the ceremony

Film critics were predicting a "night of diversity" at this year's awards. Mr Ali and Ms Davis, each winning their first Oscars, were among a record seven actors of colour nominated this year - in stark contrast to last year, when there were none.

Several celebrities wore blue ribbons on Sunday in support of the American Civil Liberties Union, which worked to get US President Donald Trump's travel ban blocked in court.

Iran's The Salesman was named best foreign language film but its director, Asghar Farhadi, boycotted Sunday's ceremony because of the Trump administration's controversial bid to ban travellers from seven majority Muslim nations including Iran.

In a speech delivered on his behalf by Iranian-American space expert Anousheh Ansari, Mr Farhadi said his absence was due to "an inhumane law that bans entry into the US... Dividing the world into the 'us' and 'our enemies' categories creates fear, a deceitful justification for aggression and war."

New Zealanders win for film editing, visual effects

New Zealand film editor John Gilbert, meanwhile, won gold for his work on Mel Gibson's war film Hacksaw Ridge.

It was his first Academy Award, and his second nomination, having worked with Peter Jackson on the first Lord of the Rings film, The Fellowship of the Ring.

Mr Gilbert told Checkpoint with John Campbell he was with two of his children and his wife at the award ceremony.

"We're going pretty nuts here, to be honest, it's unbelievable ... My heart's going at 200 miles an hour. I couldn't believe I'd actually win it."

He had a loose idea of what he would say for his speech but ended up having to wing it, he said.

"I've got no idea what I said ... It was an amazing moment, I've got to say."

Mr Gilbert was the first of two New Zealanders to be honoured at the awards, with Weta Digital's Dan Lemmon taking home an Oscar for Best Visual Effects for The Jungle Book. He won the award alongside his colleagues Robert Legato, Adam Valdez and Andrew R Jones.

- RNZ / Reuters

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