Oscars 2017: Moonlight wins Best Picture in a confusing ending

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In a totally unexpected turn of events, Moonlight took home the Best Picture Oscar, something no poll had predicted. In fact, it became the most confusing moment of recent award shows since presenter Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway initially announced La La Land as the winner of this category. After a few seconds of confusion (and midway through the acceptance speech), not really knowing whether the producer of the film, Jordan Horrowitz was joking when he said Moonlight had won the award, Barry Jenkins’ team was called to the stage and given the coveted prize. This wild ending will go down in Oscars history, and probably not in a good way. Warren and Dunaway were given the wrong envelope (whose fault is that), and Dunaway just announced the winner without properly reading the envelope. How could this even happen and how could it happen in the most important award of the night?

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I am personally appalled first of all by this mistake, which I do not find funny at all (how would YOU react if it happened to you), and by the decision itself since: despite loving Moonlight, I thought it lacked the transcendental feeling of La La Land. Moonlight was great, but it looks like many other independent films you can watch at Sundance. La La Land was both a box office and a critic success and has started a new trend of musicals in Hollywood. La La Land has unquestionably earned a place in my top movies list and after taking every major award this year not winning the Oscar seems just wrong. And the again, what about this trend of giving Best Picture and Director to different movies? I don’t know, it doesn’t make sense to me. I would have obviously had a better reaction had Moonlight been announced from the start but you just can’t play with my heart. Damn you Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.

Overall, La La Land ended up taking 6 out of the 14 awards it was up for, including Best Director and Best Actress. Not exactly the massive triumph every poll predicted (not even close). It would have been good enough for any other picture, but not for the one who received a record-tying 14 Oscar nominations: can you imagine Titanic not winning Best Picture? Damien Chazelle has made history as the youngest director to win this award (he is just 32), so it’s easy to predict he has a promising career ahead of him. I believe La La Land’s uniqueness will make this film go down in history, which is something that is expected from every Best Picture winner. I don’t know, it just seems like a very big mistake for me.

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No major surprise in acting categories: Emma Stone took Best Actress for La La Land, acting legend Viola Davis understandably took Best Supporting Actress and Mahershala Ali won in the Supporting Actor category. The main question was whether Denzel Washington would make history as the fourth male actor to win three Academy Awards or Casey Affleck would spoil his night. Despite my dislike for Affleck, he understandably took an award he had been destined to win for weeks. Diversity has been recognized this year with two African-American winners in the acting department and of course an African-American Best Picture. Many things need to be improved, but it’s not too bad after two years of #OscarsSoWhite.

The most powerful moment of the night, and the most politically relevant was the speech delivered on behalf of Asghar Farhadi, the Iranian director of The Salesman, winner of the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. The double Oscar-winner (he already won in 2012 for A Separation) decided not to attend the ceremony to protest President Trump’s racist travel ban that affected citizens from 7 predominantly Muslim countries. Despite the fact that the ban was lifted, Farhadi’s decision remained the same, as a sign of respect for those affected by Trump’s policies. His absence was the most powerful presence of the night.

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The role of Oscars host is a dangerous task and all eyes were on Jimmy Kimmel before the beginning of the show: was he going to get political? He did, but using is late night show style, not as political as Stephen Colbert or Seth Meyers. He simply made fun of Donald Trump in his usual style, with tweets and jokes, but his message was mainly funny, leaving aside deep political commentary such as the one used in Meyers’ A Closer Look (Seth Meyers would be a great Oscars host…). Most importantly, Kimmel delivered a message of unity and love, stating that if everyone in the room took a moment to reach out to one person you disagree with and have a positive, considerate conversation … we could really make America great again.” He also joked with Isabelle Huppert about Trump’s controversial travel ban (“I’m glad Homeland Security let you in”) but the standing ovation of the opening moment arrived when he praised Meryl Streep, recently criticized by Donald Trump and nominated for her 20th Academy Award for Florence Foster Jenkins. Critics liked Kimmel’s show, but let’s face it, he was no Ellen DeGeneres, despite the funniest moment of the night when tourists where brought inside the Dolby Theatre unaware of the ceremony. But this number couldn’t top Ellen’s year as a host, when she brought pizza, took the famous selfie and appeared dressed as Glinda from The Wizard of Oz. By the second time Kimmel sent flying goodies to the attendees the joke seemed simply repetitive.

It was also a great night for Internet majors: Netflix took Best Documentary Short for White Helmets and Amazon Studios’ Manchester by the Sea was awarded Best Original Screenplay amd Actor. Surprisingly enough though, the Academy turned its back on virtual reality when Pearl, the first VR film to be nominated for an Academy Award lost Best Animated short to Piper. It was an option but it still seemed unexpected.

Overall, the only thing that will be remembered about this ceremony will be its wild ending but nothing else really happened, which is something that should make Oscars producers realize that some major changes need to be brought in order to make the ceremony shorter and more dynamic. Yes, Kimmel’s jokes were funny, but did they really make the almost 4-hour show bearable? I don’t think so, and I’m someone who, despite thinking this has been one of the worst shows in recent years, loves the Oscars.

Full list of winners here:

Best Picture

  • Arrival
  • Fences
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell or High Water
  • Hidden Figures
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Moonlight

Actress in a Leading Role

  • Isabelle Huppert, Elle
  • Ruth Negga, Loving
  • Natalie Portman, Jackie
  • Emma Stone, La La Land
  • Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Actor in a Leading Role

  • Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
  • Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Ryan Gosling, La La Land
  • Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
  • Denzel Washington, Fences

Directing

  • Arrival
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • La La Land
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Moonlight

Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
  • Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
  • Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
  • Dev Patel, Lion
  • Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Viola Davis, Fences
  • Naomie Harris, Moonlight
  • Nicole Kidman, Lion
  • Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
  • Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Writing (Original Screenplay)

  • Hell or High Water
  • La La Land
  • The Lobster
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • 20th Century Women

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

  • Arrival
  • Fences
  • Hidden Figures
  • Lion
  • Moonlight

Makeup and Hairstyling

  • A Man Called Ove
  • Star Trek Beyond
  • Suicide Squad

Costume Design

  • Allied
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Jackie
  • La La Land

Documentary (Feature)

  • Fire at Sea
  • I Am Not Your Negro
  • Life, Animated
  • J.: Made in America
  • 13th

Sound Editing

  • Arrival
  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • La La Land
  • Sully

Sound Mixing

  • Arrival
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • La La Land
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Foreign Language Film

  • Land of Mine
  • A Man Called Ove
  • The Salesman
  • Tanna
  • Toni Erdmann

Short Film (Animated)

  • Blind Vaysha
  • Borrowed Time
  • Pear Cider and Cigarettes
  • Pearl
  • Piper

Animated Feature Film

  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Moana
  • My Life as a Zucchini
  • The Red Turtle
  • Zootopia

Production Design

  • Arrival
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Hail, Caesar!
  • La La Land
  • Passengers

Visual Effects

  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Doctor Strange
  • The Jungle Book
  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Film Editing

  • Arrival
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell or High Water
  • La La Land
  • Moonlight

Documentary (Short Subject)

  • Extremis
  • 1 Miles
  • Joe’s Violin
  • Watani: My Homeland
  • The White Helmets

Short Film (Live Action)

  • Ennemis Intérieurs
  • La Femme et le TGV
  • Silent Nights
  • Sing
  • Timecode

Cinematography

  • Arrival
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Moonlight
  • Silence

Music (Original Score)

  • Jackie
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Moonlight
  • Passengers

Music (Original Song)

  • “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from La La Land: Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
  • “Can’t Stop The Feeling” from Trolls: Music and Lyric by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin and Karl Johan Schuster
  • “City Of Stars” from La La Land: Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
  • “The Empty Chair” from Jim: The James Foley Story: Music and Lyric by J. Ralph and Sting
  • “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana: Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda

 

 

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One thought on “Oscars 2017: Moonlight wins Best Picture in a confusing ending

  1. I totally agree with you. I love the Oscars, but this year, it did not really happen much (besides the obvious…oh my…). La La Land should have won Best Picture. But the movie is special either way and had a wonderfully successful evening.

    Liked by 1 person

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