by: Peter Kougias
The 89th Academy Awards will go down in pop culture history. La La Land led the pack with 14 nominations. Shadowing over its competition, Moonlight was the underdog. Movie buffs sat anxiously in front of their t.v.s waiting for Best Picture to be revealed. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway (celebrating the 50th anniversary of their hit film Bonnie & Clyde) presented the notorious award. After Beatty was dumbfounded with the envelope’s contents, Dunaway read the card “La La Land”. But it was alternative facts. Moonlight won Best Picture.
In a racially biased industry catering towards a white audience, Moonlight’s win was a triumph over white mediocrity. This is a rebound after Beyonce’s Lemonade lost Album of the Year at the Grammy’s even with the extraordinary praise. It received five out of five stars from Rolling Stone. Centering around a black man’s growth into adulthood, Moonlight focuses on discovering and coping with sexuality. The story is raw and gritty. It gets in your face and depicts a slice of life that is rarely presented. The film features an entirely black cast. It is the first all-black film to win the award and to top it off it is a film about a gay man.
The jaw-dropping reveal of La La Land’s loss horrified the antiquated Hollywood fans. A “boy meets girl” story overshadowed by a courageous gay film? President Trump tweeted “too focused on politics… sad.” According to the white patriarchy, this was a catastrophe. Ignorance claimed that Moonlight was a pity win over La La Land. They can’t (won’t) recognize the film’s acclaim because it makes them uncomfortable. In a country that is trying to turn back the clock, Moonlight is a progressive film that smashes boundaries. No more will non-straight white men be sent to the corner. Moonlight’s win was a game changer. Artists are ready for battle and they are not scared by the hatred and ignorance that has swept over this country since election night.
“Was it an inside job?” some questioned when the wrong envelope was handed out. Emma Stone claimed that she had her envelope in her hand when Best Picture was awarded. So how did another envelope with her name appear? The Academy fired the accountants responsible for counting the votes. Were the accountants trying to sway the vote and make La La Land win? Or was it a prank to pull the carpet out from La La Land because Moonlight was highly deserving of the award? Maybe in 17 years, VH1 will do a retrospective of this conspiracy theory. In the end, this Academy Awards will go down in history. A fresh and original film featuring realistic portrayals of black lives beat a tired white musical that collapses under the excessive homages and tired references to the great classics.