This isn’t a joke. Frances McDormand had her Best Actress Oscar for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” stolen from her while attending the Academy Awards’ Governors Ball. Details are still sketchy, but eventually a photographer and security apprehended the person who took it and it was returned to Ms. McDormand. Moreover, it’s not clear how that individual got a ticket or entered the post-Oscars ceremony in the first place (perhaps, a more serious concern). That being said, it wasn’t that surprising considering how bizarre this entire awards season has been.
At Fox Searchlight and 20th Century Fox‘s post-show celebration a few blocks from the Dolby Theater, there was a sense of genuine joy in the air you rarely find in Hollywood and, honesly, that was great to see. There is a lot of public uncertainty on how the two divisions will be integrated into the Walt Disney Company. Will they be empowered to act autonomously like Pixar or Marvel Studios or will they be integrated into other portions of Walt Disney Studios thereby causing mass layoffs and financial uncertainty for Fox’s current employees. The answer to those questions won’t be certain for another six months to a year, but for one night those concerns were pushed to the side. Searchlight won the Best Picture Oscar for “The Shape of Water” which was the third time in five years (even at his height Harvey Weinstein couldn’t pull that off) and took home the Best Director (Guillermo del Toro), Best Actress (McDormand), Best Supporting Actor (Sam Rockwell), Original Score (Alexandre Desplat) and Production Design (Paul D. Austerberry) Oscars.
Sadly, McDormand, Rockwell and “Shape” stars Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer never made it the Searchlight fete, but del Toro (see the embedded video below) was besieged by well-wishers and Desplat and Austerberry also stopped by to thank Searchlight’s staff. And current indie film legend Tommy Wiseau might have been blocked from securing an Oscar ticket, but he certainly crashed the Fox party taking photos with whomever was willing. Other attendees included “War of the Planet of the Apes'” Andy Serkis, “Dunkirk’s” Barry Keoghan and Sundance Film Festival Director John Cooper, among others.
But as the lights slowly brightened and the guests searched for their Uber or Lyfts in the early Monday morning hours, all you could remember was that beaming smile on del Toro’s face. A filmmaker who has been shut out of Oscar’s glow for far too long and found himself the unlikely belle of the ball.