Predictions-wise, I hit some big bumps, garnering my worst prediction-score of 14 out of 24. Categories where I predicted La La Land to be an easy winner turned out to go in different directions, the short film categories absolutely butchered my score, and hotly contested two-horse races hurt me as well. Also, I can't be the only one left annoyed by the fact that we now live in a world where Suicide Squad is an Oscar Winner - even if it was for one of its best elements, can I? But at the same time, some of those surprises did leave me very happy to be wrong. The Harry Potter universe finally earned a richly deserved trophy for Colleen Atwood's stellar wardrobe, Arrival managed to earn a token win making sure it wouldn't go home empty handed, and most satisfying of all was to see long overdue sound mixer Kevin O'Connell finally get his due for Hacksaw Ridge. All we need now is to get Thomas Newman, Greg Russell, and Roger Deakins one.
But I also managed to ace many of the major categories, including seeing my favorite performance of the year, Emma Stone in La La Land, triumph in a hard-earned and highly deserved Best Actress win. Damien Chazelle also earned a win for Best Director for the film, all culminating in the film enjoying it's day in the sun as the film was announced the Best Picture of 2016...
But then, that moment came shattering to pieces, when it turned out that La La Land wasn't the Best Picture winner of 2016. It was Moonlight...
|"Oh, what a waste of a lovely night."|
It makes you feel absolutely terrible for all parties to suffer from this colossal screw-up, to Beatty who essentially had to wing it when realizing such an epic mistake, to the crew of La La Land who must have been crushed that their movie's victory was overturned, and especially to the crew of Moonlight, whose shining moment was dimmed by this turn of events.
I'm as disappointed as anyone that my favorite film of the decade didn't win Best Picture, as well they should have, but you know what? I still can't express enough how happy I am to see a film like Moonlight triumph in the end. Smaller, more modest films of this state are rarely given such high regards by the Academy's general preference for crowd-pleasers and the usual Oscar-bait, and in a very good way, could lead to more films of this nature managing to see the light of day, financed by more major studios, and earning more recognition from the awards circuits. Maybe one day, Megan Ellison won't be the only one rescuing fare that anyone else would have otherwise discarded.
|Feel that, Moonlight? "You in the middle of the world."|
But I won't be one of them. Let's just be real for a minute... when all is said and done, it's just an awards show. It may not reflect your personal opinion (Personally, I think Lion and Hacksaw Ridge are among the year's most overrated movies), but the beauty of the Oscars and other similar awards shows are in showcasing an eclectic set of voters' choice, hearing the things that viewers take away from each experience, and shedding some light on movies that many folks at home wouldn't otherwise know about. We're all united to these awards shows, love them or hate them, based on our unified love of movies. Even disregarding the politics at play behind nominations and wins, it always feels so great to witness each event unfold, when our favorite film wins something, when getting a long-shot prediction right and holding eternal bragging rights for it, or for when a movie we've yet to see pulls off a surprise win, leaving us eager to seek it out. In the end, I think we all need to follow the example of those other fans of films, like producer Jordan Horowitz of La La Land himself. He could have proceeded on as if nothing actually happened, continued basking in the glory of his victory on that spot, or thrown an angry fit when his Oscar was revoked, but he instead decides to stop himself to acknowledge a mistake, and graciously hands his spotlight over to the team of Moonlight. If that isn't a virtue of true sportsmanship and class, I don't know what is.
I often find its best never to have your heart so firmly dependent on whether or not the movie you like wins. You can be delighted if they do triumph (as I'm sure supporters of Moonlight are), or find yourself mildly disappointed before shrugging it off moments later, but no matter what goes down, it's still important to know not to take these things so personally. If your goal is to actively rip apart a film just because it beat your favorite, you're being far too immature and unfair, taking all the objectively wrong examples to heart. We're all fans of film, and the beauty of the Oscars experience isn't about the bragging rights if our favorite wins, but in sharing our love for that craft with each other, sharing in the passions of films we may not like as much, and becoming lost in the illusion of the flickering brilliance of the screen.
And with that, let's go ahead and put this entire year behind us. Until next time, this has been Indy, and while Moonlight was not my favorite film of the year, I'm still greatly pleased by its victory.