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Why It Was Important for Moonlight to Win
Last Sunday was the Academy Awards. It will officially be a week in the past from tomorrow. Crazy huh? Feels like so long ago already, and just like everyone else, I was shocked by the shows finale when Moonlight was revealed to be the Best Picture winner, after La La Land was mistakenly announced to have won. I even got a photograph of La La Land set, and ready to post on our Instagram page. After all it was the clear favorite. Why would I expect it to lose? Oh yeah, cause Moonlight was very, very good!
It was a tough year. Some great movies were nominated for Best Picture. We already know the first two. The rest consisted of, Manchester by the Sea, Arrival, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, and Hidden Figures. Those films, other than Manchester, we all knew were a long shot to win the nights coveted award. It was toss up of the Big 3, which if nominated any other year, separately, each one would have won respectfully. But all three were nominated together, and The Academy had to give it to one of them. Throughout the night they found a nice balance handing Best Actor, and Best Original Screenplay to Manchester by the Sea. La La Land received 6, it's two biggest for Director, and Best Actress. Then, Moonlight, which was given, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Picture.
Now I wanted La La Land to win. It has a timeless feel to it. It reminds you of the classic Hollywood films of old, and has a strong message of following your dreams. I was so excited when it won. Then one of the Producers of La La Land interrupted another who was giving his speech to say that Moonlight actually won. People thought it was a joke, but then the envelope was held for all to see, and it clearly said, "Moonlight." Now I was disappointed at first, and I couldn't help but feel that because of the current political climate, The Academy was trying to make a statement, and it also was trying fix it's tarnished reputation ever since that, #Oscarsowhite fiasco last year. Now I still believe those were the reasons, but I'm okay with that. After much contemplation, this is what I've come up with:
Yes, La La Land, may hold up better in later years, but Moonlight had to win. For too long, awards were given to movies with black actors that were either about slavery, or about the civil rights movement. We have to step away from that, and Moonlight didn't make any mention of race. Maybe discrimination, but not toward people of color, but of people struggling with their sexuality. Also, Hollywood has another tarnished reputation. People believe that a movie set in Los Angeles or in Hollywood is automatically favored. Lets think about it, Chinatown, La Confidential, The Artist, Argo, and now La La Land. People were so sure that La La Land was going to win many said they didn't tune in to watch the ceremony. The idea that Hollywood is in love with itself is an idea that needed to be killed quickly.
Moonlight taking Oscar gold was in important in those two regards. Where it falls in film history is left to be seen. But I can say this, with the current social movement of acceptance going on in a world that is UN-accepting, we may be looking at Moonlight for a while now.