Am I the only one that thinks the announcement mistake for Best Picture at the 2017 Oscars was the best thing that could have happened to us? By us, I mean humanity; more specifically, minorities; even more specifically, LGBTQ and people of color in America. We — yes, I am a black American gay male — needed this unanticipated and unplanned “stunt” to happen so that no one will ever forget what film won best picture in 2017 at an unfortunate time when race and bigotry are prevalent and magnified: a film comprised of an all-Black cast surrounding a marginalized, gay coming-of-age character.
If you would have asked me — a guy that watches movies on Apple TV when they come out if he has time — before Sunday which films won Best Picture in the past 10 years, I’d get a D minus / borderline F (trying to get better, especially considering my network in the film industry); avid movie lovers would get all Best Picture films right, but I think it’s safe to say that my knowledge of Oscar history is sparse like most people. Don’t get me wrong: I loved La La Land — LOVED. In fact, I loved it so much I saw it twice within 48 hours; and I think it won for most of the right awards (i.e. Best Director — absolutely; Best Cinematography — for sure; Best Score — 100%). Moonlight — a film I certainly enjoyed and consider an important cultural masterpiece for society — won spot-on for Best Picture like being neck-to-neck approaching a finish line at a marathon, sprinting forward and grasping first place with seconds to spare in true underdog fashion. The award for Best Picture, in my opinion, accounts collectively for all awards as a whole (the direction, cinematography, and music were all fantastic despite the fact that those individual facets were better portrayed in La La Land — again, my opinion), as well as for awards that don’t have a category such as cultural relevance and importance. All of that this year was rightfully so Moonlight.
When Faye Dunaway said La La Land mistakenly, I read several articles speaking to how that moment took away our moment to feel a sense of pride and joy (like when anything we want to win actually wins off the bat). But did it, really? Isn’t it a much better feeling to witness first-hand the unthinkable happen in a race toward the finish and actually see to victory? I don’t think I’ll ever forget my reaction to seeing the results corrected live; nor will I — neither will the world — forget the contenders, especially Moonlight. And for that reason, the message behind Moonlight and the type of film it is will transcend into more homes and more conversations now more than ever. And that is important.