As much as I deeply identify with Joanne the Scammer, and as a result found myself filled with a sense of glee watching the events of #OscarGate unfold, I’m mature enough to admit that it was also kind of sad. I don’t mean for La La Land. The tragedy of #OscarGate is that the controversy took attention away from the momentous achievement of Moonlight.
With its win, the film became the first movie with an all-Black cast to receive an Oscar for Best Picture. Moonlight was a huge win for both Black people and LGBTQ people. The Oscars aren’t known for honoring these kinds of stories in the film industry.
But it was hard to focus on the winner of Best Picture when everyone was off to the races trying to figure out how and why the announcement was botched by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. Confusion seemed to trump glee and even disappointment. La La Land and Moonlight became fused together in that moment, and it kind of sucks.
In his acceptance speech, Moonlight director Jenkins said that it was “generous and gracious” of the La La Land crew to pass along the award… as if it didn’t actually belong to his film in the first place. Adele may have set a standard for harking on your competitor in a top category after she swooned over Beyoncé at the Grammys, but the premise there was that her fellow nominee actually deserved the award and she knew it. That isn’t necessarily the case here. [sips tea]
Moonlight deserved to bask in the fullness of their victory, but instead they had to share the moment with another film and the controversy of one of the biggest pop culture flubs ever. Hopefully it won’t always be overshadowed as we try to rectify the mistakes of someone else. We’ve already seen that story too many times. That in itself is a robbery.