I wasn’t going to comment too much on the Oscars, but something has been really irritating me.
So La La Land didn’t win Best Picture, and instead the Best Picture Oscar went to Moonlight – a truly great movie about complex black lives. It was well deserved. Moonlight is a rare work of art, and an exemplary example of the best that a film-maker can produce.
It bothers me that a film as good as Moonlight has been overshadowed by a stupid, stupid mistake. It bothers me that people seem to be giving more props to the makers of La La Land for being gracious, than to the makers of Moonlight for creating an excellent movie. The conversation becomes slanted; people suddenly talk about La La Land being ‘robbed’, as if a movie that is effectively Hollywood praising itself is equal to the heartfelt realness of Moonlight.
There is talk on Twitter that this mistake was intentional, and this deflection of deserved praise from a movie highlighting people of color is intentional. I’m not sure if I ascribe to such theories, but… I can’t help but be suspicious. America is a deeply racist place, and this would not surprise me.
For the record… I’m not overly impressed with a lot of Oscar movies. I feel animated features are routinely left out, as if the Academy are unwilling to acknowledge that animated movies are capable of the same level of excellence. There’s also a real sexist bent that I utterly despise; the division of male and female awards for acting, for example, is ludicrous, and only serves to highlight the fact that if there were no awards for actresses, there would likely be no women at all receiving an Oscar.
It certainly disgusts me that, of all the Oscars ever awarded for Best Director, only one woman has ever won it. I have no illusions about the bigotry of Hollywood.
Moonlight deserves so much more praise than it is being given. But the fact of its win is significant, and it makes me hopeful. The world turns, and it changes even in dark times.