Moonlight Shines Bright Amidst Oscar Screw-Up

Despite coming into the Academy Awards as the underdog, Moonlight walked home with Best Picture though not before a blunder.

The flick was seemingly beaten by the juggernaut La La Land before it was announced a mistake was made. The musical makers were already halfway through their speech before they were told Faye Dunaway had committed a blunder. A viral close-up of the envelope suggests they were handed a copy of the Best Actress award.

Producer Jordan Horrowitz declared that Moonlight was the real winner, provoking an emotional response from the crowd. Host Jimmy Kimmel attempted to handle the situation comically, saying “I knew I would screw this show up. I really did”.

Moonlight‘s win is notably important for the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that preceded in addition to the film’s subject matter: the coming of age flick follows the story of a black gay man coming to terms with his sexuality. Speaking about the win, director Barry Jenkins said “it’s unfortunate that things happened the way they did, but hot damn, we won Best Picture!”. The movie also went home with a Best Actor win for Mahershala Ali, the first Muslim to win the accolade. In addition, it picked up the award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Jenkins and playwright Tarell McCraney gave an emotional call to arms for inclusion during their speech, with McCraney noting:

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.

The Ryan Gosling & Emma Stone lead La La Land didn’t go home empty handed either, picking up 6 of its 14 nominations. Damien Chazelle walked away with an award for Best Director, fending off tough competition including Oscar heavyweight Mel Gibson. This makes Chazelle (32 years and 38 days) the youngest ever winner of the accolade, beating previous record holder Normon Taurog (32 years and 260 days) by mere days. Best Actress winner Stone thanked him as well as co-star Gosling for being “the greatest partner on this crazy journey”. She also thanked her friends and crew, saying “I’m going to hug the hell out of you when the feeling re-enters my body”. Unsurprisingly, the film also won Best Original Score & Song.

Moving Speeches & Sibling Affection

However, it wasn’t just La La Land and Moonlight who dominated the night. Casey Affleck won the Best Actor accolade for his performance as a grieving man in Manchester By The Sea. His brother Ben was exstatic, bear-hugging Casey before he went on stage. Casey noted his sibling in his speech, saying “Ben, I love you. You ain’t heavy”. The win was rather controversial as activists and actors took to Twitter to criticise the Academy Awards for even nominating him after two sexual harassment suits were opened back in 2010.

While Denzel Washington lost out, his Fences co-star Viola Davis picked up an accolade for her performance. “I became an artist and thank God I did,” she stated in her speech “because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life”. Davis now joins an exclusive club of actors and actresses who have won an Oscar, Emmy and Tony, making her the first African-American to win this distinction.

Snubs and Surprises

Despite being up for six nominations, Lion went home with nothing, joining a long list of snubbed films. Boyhood was also up for six nominations in 2015 though it only managed to secure one. Both Hidden Figures and Hell or High Water also failed to pick up any of their collective 7 nominations.

It wasn’t all doom or gloom though. While it never picked up any awards for Directing or Best Picture, sci-fi darling Arrival was recognised for its sound. The movie, starring Amy Adams, focuses on language and communicating with aliens, an unlikely nominee for an Academy Award. The film was meant to be up for a Best Actress nomination for Adams, a story that unfortunately came out as a rumour. This would have been Adams sixth acting nomination following chances with American Hustle, Doubt and The Fighter.

In addition, The White Helmets also won a well-deserved accolade for Best Short Documentary Feature. The documentary follows the Syrian Civil Defence as they attempt to save as many human lives as possible. Sadly, none of the team attended the event as they were denied entry under Donald Trump‘s ban. This wasn’t the only dig at the President last night though as Kimmel tweeted at the former reality star.



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