Well, that was one for the ages! For the Academy, that has to be the one thing, the one mistake you cannot have happen and it occurred Sunday night. I still cannot even rewatch the Best Picture results again. My anxiety gets to me. I know, that is bad and weak, but I felt so bad for both teams from Best Picture winner Moonlight and not so much winner La La Land. Unbelievable, but what a historic night for the Moonlight crew. The first film to win Best Picture with an all black cast. The first film where the main character is LGBTQ to win Best Picture. The film I thought was the best of last year and the one I thought was deserving of the big award. It won!!!
You have to feel bad for La La Land and I do not think many people expected it to lose, but to lose that way is saddening and horrific. La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz, showed amazing grace while fighting back anger when letting everyone know there was a mistake and Moonlight was victorious. It is sad that Moonlight did not get the huge crowd reaction it would have received if it had been announced correctly and they would had more time to thank their crew and peers. Nevertheless, Moonlight is your Best Picture winner and both sides, who have been on this exhausting awards season trail since Telluride, showed immense respect and love for each other. That was another victory in and of it self.
The rest of the night went the way many expected it too. Viola Davis, Mahershala Ali and Emma Stone all won in their respected acting categories. The only category that was somewhat up for debate was Best Actor. Casey Affleck won pretty much every award this season for his heartbreaking turn in Manchester by the Sea, but Denzel Washington won the SAG, and many thought he might win come Oscar night. Affleck took home the prize and Denzel did not appear to thrilled about not winning the award. That would have been three Academy Awards for Washington, tying him with Ingrid Bergman, Daniel Day-Lewis, Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson and Walter Brennan. Katherine Hepburn has four acting Oscars. Affleck I thought deserved it.
Damien Chazelle took home Best Director, becoming the youngest Best Director winner in Oscar history at age 32. Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney won Best Adapted Screenplay for Moonlight, and Kenneth Lonergan won Best Original Screenplay for Manchester by the Sea.
Although La La Land did not take home Best Picture, it still won the most Oscars, taking home six trophies. The film is a beautiful ode to the classics and extremely well-made, but with Moonlight winning, it really says something about the state of our country and the political climate we are encompassed in. It was time for a statement and not just a victory for beautiful escapism, but for a win that stands up for every one’s rights and showing and appreciation for art and education. Both films are wonderful, but Moonlight is a mesmerizing poetic masterpiece. A film that says so much by saying so little. A film that is so measured and meticulously thought out that every time you see the picture it overwhelms you with emotion. The pain and longing that occurs in the film is something Barry Jenkins and his beautiful cast and crew delivered with such poignancy and importance. I admire the Academy for honoring such a meaningful and important film. What a night!