Why Moonlight Deserved its Oscar

 

Many are calling last Sunday’s Oscars the craziest ever, the antics building up to the unprecedented mistake announcement that La La Land won best picture when, in reality, it was Moonlight. Jimmy Kimmel was a hilarious and timely host who added never before seen segments like a tour bus of random people coming to the venue under the assumption they were going to a museum, and candy being parachuted down into the auditorium. The jokes at Matt Damon’s expense were a welcome addition to the ceremony, but anyone who watches Jimmy Kimmel Live knew that was going to happen. The Oscars typically aren’t the most entertaining show, but Jimmy Kimmel delivered a clever performance. 

HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 26: 'La La Land' producer Jordan Horowitz holds up the winner card reading actual Best Picture winner 'Moonlight' with actor Warren Beatty onstage during the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

HOLLYWOOD, CA – FEBRUARY 26: La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz holds up the winner card reading actual Best Picture winner ‘Moonlight’ with actor Warren Beatty onstage during the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Even though La La Land was projected by many to win, Moonlight is a superior film. It tackles real issues with grace, has a rich, complex story, and boasts tremendous performances.  Moonlight tells the story of Chiron, a young, impoverished black man who is unsure how to cope with sexual orientation and is victimized by the abuse of his drug-addicted mother. With an all Black cast, its storyline highlights a specific group of people, but still most can relate to the struggles of the protagonist. Anyone who has ever felt isolated, abused, or been close to drug or alcohol addiction can empathize with the story and its complex characters.

La La Land was a movie made to please the Academy: it was about two struggling performers, made by a once nominated director, took place in Los Angeles, had an A list cast, high budget cinematography, and, finally, it was a musical. It follows the love story of a down on her luck actress and her lover, a Jazz pianist. It attempts to defy expectations with its ending by attempting to flip the genre on its head, but in doing so falls into the same classic trap of Hollywood love stories — that love prevails. It’s common for movies about the entertainment industry to perform especially well at the Academy Awards — think The Artist, Birdman, and Argo.  

La La Land is fairly straight forward, while Moonlight delivers with its subtlety. It never panders to its audience and, as I said in my earlier review, “every scene is essential.” Moonlight deserved its win.

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