And the Oscar goes to who?
After a misread card at the Oscars, La La Land was mistakenly announced as best picture.
March 6, 2017
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On Feb. 26, we witnessed perhaps the most interesting and chaotic Oscars in a long time. The event was full of great talent with old and new faces alike. La La Land, Hidden Figures, Fences, Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea were just a few of the many great films nominated for best picture.
Many people, including myself, were predicting a close race between so many great films, but no one could predict the catastrophe that followed as La La Land won, and then suddenly, didn’t.
As La La Land was announced the winner, I was a bit shocked, which may come as a surprise to some people. Without a doubt, La La Land had great music, set design, and casting, including Emma Stone who deservedly won best actress, and the film even tied the Oscar record with 14 nominations.
Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone worked beautifully together, but it lacked the continuous struggle that Moonlight had, as both Mia and Sebastian achieved their dreams. Of course, they don’t end up together in the end, but each at least got a part of what they wanted as Mia became a famous actress and Sebastian opened his own jazz club. Moonlight had such a deep sense of struggle but determination that went along with it and was eventually announced the winner, but not before a huge mix-up.
Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway couldn’t improvise their way out of a tight spot and awkwardly announced La La Land with the wrong card in hand. For me, as for many, I’m sure, this brought back memories of the 2015 Miss Universe pageant as Steve Harvey mistakenly announced Miss Colombia’s name when Miss Philippines had won.
I was pleasantly surprised when the producer of La La Land, Marc Platt, revealed the true best picture envelope with Moonlight written across the top. The award rightly belonged to Moonlight as it brought to life a battle that many African American communities face every day. The movie became the first to win best picture with an all black cast setting a huge milestone for African American filmmaking. The Oscars so white hashtag has now become a thing of the past as seven of the 20 nominees were people of color. Jimmy Kimmel in his opening speech even made a little joke about our country today saying, “Remember last year when it seemed like the Oscars were racist?”
Moonlight not only gave people of color the spotlight but is also the first LGBTQ film to win best picture. The film was able to succeed with the odds standing against it because it sends such a powerful message. In the film, a young black boy named Chiron is persecuted for his timidness and for being gay in a rough neighborhood. He grows up to be someone he truly isn’t, thinking he must be a hardened drug dealer to fit in. Winner of the best supporting actor award for Moonlight, Mahershala Ali described it best when he said, “We saw a young man folding into himself as a result of the persecution of his community.”
Chiron becomes unrecognizable to his oldest friend near the end of the film after many years have passed since their childhood. He goes down a terrible road all because he wasn’t allowed to be himself as a child. Too many times, we feel the need to discriminate against others who are even slightly different than us whether it is their skin color, sexuality or religious ideals.
For some, Moonlight’s win eased the pain of Brokeback Mountain’s 2006 loss to Crash for best film. Similarly to Moonlight, Brokeback Mountain told the story of two men who couldn’t be together because they were afraid to accept they truly loved each other. Some believed the film’s loss was a sign of homophobia in the Oscar world as it was a clear favorite before the awards, and 11 years later, Moonlight was able to relieve some of that.
Moonlight depicts the effects on someone who isn’t shown love or understanding by the people around them and even brought tears to my eyes when Chiron changed himself as a person because of that.
The film brilliantly captured why we should all be accepting of others and made many people feel terrible for Chiron after all he went through. But if you really think about it, if you feel that bad for someone who’s just an actor, shouldn’t you feel the same or even worse for someone experiencing those challenges in real life?