Don’t Let the Drama Dim Moonlight’s Shine!

I was very reluctant to watch Sunday’s 89th annual Academy Awards ceremony. I didn’t watch the last two years because of the #oscarssowhite situation and I told myself not to get sucked in if they happened to nominate some black creatives this year. I didn’t follow through because 1. I knew Moonlight and Viola Davis were going to win some deserving awards and 2. I actually enjoy award shows in general, especially film, so I tuned in. As we all know by now, the Oscars mistakenly presented La La Land with the Best Picture nod instead of Moonlight. It completely embarrassed the La La Land cast and crew and stole the shine from Moonlight.

oscars-mixup

Initially when they called La La Land, I switched the channel because I was disappointed. I felt the same way I felt when Kendrick Lamar lost to Taylor Swift and Beyonce lost to Adele at the Grammys; I thought the industry yet again overlooked a great and important representation of black art. Then, I started to scroll through Instagram where I saw a photo of Mahershala Ali’s character Juan holding the Oscar followed by a picture proclaiming Moonlight won Best Picture. I turned back to the channel and the news anchor stated there was a mistake and Moonlight actually won Best Picture. My jaw hit the floor. I was excited but mostly infuriated that they had made such a huge mistake for a historic moment. As I imagined, entertainment news the past couple of days have been about nothing but the blunder.

juan

I really would like Moonlight to be remember for its great writing, acting, and cinematography. This project represented so much. It gave depth to black characters that are usually 2 dimensional, it represented the struggle of people who are largely ignored by white and black creatives alike, and it represented how our stories can be presented in a masterful and thought provoking way. This night will never be forgotten hopefully it brings more intrigue to the wonderful film that is Moonlight.

Highlights of the night

Mahershala Ali won for Best Supporting Actor. He thanked his teachers from the past, cast and crew, and his wife, Amatus Sami-Karim, who just gave birth to their baby daughter. Along with Best Actor in a Supporting Role and Best Picture, Moonlight also won Best Adapted Screenplay. Director, Barry Jenkins had a powerful message, stating, “All you people who feel like there’s no mirror for you, the academy has your back, the ACLU has your back, we have your back, and for the next four years, we will not forget you”. Writer, Tarell Alvin Mccraney followed with, “This goes out to all those black and brown boys and girls and non-gender conforming who don’t see themselves, we’re trying to show you you, and us.” Viola Davis, who won for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, gave a moving speech about bringing the narratives about everyday people to life. She showed much gratitude to her fellow cast mates, Denzel Washington, and her family.

Many actors had choice words for the climate following the presidents racist and xenophobic policies. Asghar Farhadi, Iranian director of, “The Salesman” and winner of Best Foreign Picture, opted to not attend the awards as a protest against the presidents travel ban while actor Gael Garcia Bernal spoke against the construction of a “wall” on the borders of America, stating that as a Mexican, “I am against any kind of wall that wants to separate us”. Winners of the Best Animated Picture, Zootopia, spoke about how the film encouraged tolerance over, “fear of the other”.

Congratulations to the cast and crew from Moonlight and all the winners (except for Casey Affleck!)

Below is the full list of winners.

BEST PICTURE
“Arrival”
“Fences”
“Hacksaw Ridge”
“Hell or High Water”
“Hidden Figures”
“La La Land”
“Lion”
“Manchester by the Sea”
“Moonlight” (WINNER)
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Casey Affleck in “Manchester by the Sea” (WINNER) Boo!
Andrew Garfield in “Hacksaw Ridge”
Ryan Gosling in “La La Land”
Viggo Mortensen in “Captain Fantastic”
Denzel Washington in “Fences”
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Jeff Bridges in “Hell or High Water”
Mahershala Ali in “Moonlight” (WINNER)
Lucas Hedges in “Manchester by the Sea”
Dev Patel in “Lion”
Michael Shannon in “Nocturnal Animals”
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Isabelle Huppert in “Elle”
Ruth Negga in “Loving”
Natalie Portman in “Jackie”
Emma Stone in “La La Land” (WINNER)
Meryl Streep in “Florence Foster Jenkins”
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Nicole Kidman in “Lion”
Viola Davis in “Fences” (WINNER)
Naomie Harris in “Moonlight”
Octavia Spencer in “Hidden Figures”
Michelle Williams in “Manchester by the Sea”
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
“Kubo and the Two Strings”
“Moana”
“My Life as a Zucchini”
“The Red Turtle”
“Zootopia” (WINNER)
CINEMATOGRAPHY
“Arrival”
“La La Land” (WINNER)
“Lion”
“Moonlight”
“Silence”
COSTUME DESIGN
“Allied”
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” (WINNER)
“Florence Foster Jenkins”
“Jackie”
“La La Land”
“Fantastic
DIRECTING
“Arrival” – Denis Villeneuve
“Hacksaw Ridge” – Mel Gibson
“La La Land” – Damien Chazelle (WINNER)
“Manchester by the Sea” – Kenneth Lonergan
“Moonlight” – Barry Jenkins
DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE)
“Fire at Sea”
“I Am Not Your Negro”
“Life, Animated”
“O.J.: Made in America” (WINNER)
“13th”
DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)
“Extremis”
“4.1 Miles”
“Joe’s Violin”
“Watani: My Homeland”
“The White Helmets” (WINNER)
FILM EDITING
“Arrival”
“Hacksaw Ridge” (WINNER)
“Hell or High Water”
“La La Land”
“Moonlight”
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“Land of Mine”
“A Man Called Ove”
“The Salesman” (WINNER)
“Tanna”
“Toni Erdmann”
MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
“A Man Called Ove”
“Star Trek Beyond”
“Suicide Squad” (WINNER)
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)
“Jackie”
“La La Land” (WINNER)
“Lion”
“Moonlight”
“Passengers”
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)
“Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from “La La Land”
“Can’t Stop The Feeling” from “Trolls”
“City Of Stars” from “La La Land” (WINNER)
“The Empty Chair” from “Jim: The James Foley Story”
“How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana”
PRODUCTION DESIGN
“Arrival”
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
“Hail, Caesar!”
“La La Land” (WINNER)
“Passengers”
ANIMATED SHORT FILM
“Blind Vaysha”
“Borrowed Time”
“Pear Cider and Cigarettes”
“Pearl”
“Piper” (WINNER)
LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
“Ennemis Intérieurs”
“La Femme et le TGV”
“Silent Nights”
“Sing” (WINNER)
“Timecode”
SOUND EDITING
“Arrival” (WINNER)
“Deepwater Horizon”
“Hacksaw Ridge”
“La La Land”
“Sully”
SOUND MIXING
“Arrival”
“Hacksaw Ridge” (WINNER)
“La La Land”
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
“13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi”
VISUAL EFFECTS
“Deepwater Horizon”
“Doctor Strange”
“The Jungle Book” (WINNER)
“Kubo and the Two Strings”
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
“Arrival”
“Fences
“Hidden Figures”
“Lion”
“Moonlight” (WINNER)
WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)
“Hell or High Water”
“La La Land”
“The Lobster”
“Manchester by the Sea” (WINNER)
“20th Century Women”
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