Oscars Recap: “Moonlight” Nomination Gaffe Steals an Otherwise Uneventful Show


Jennica Martin
Staff Writer

This year’s Oscars will be the most memorable award show of all time. Jimmy Kimmel was a forgettable host, and most of the show dragged on and on, but the last five minutes of the show were some of the most exciting and shocking few minutes in television history. It was certainly a shocking moment that rivals Steve Harvey’s flub during last year’s Miss Universe.

The award for Best Picture, the most prestigious award in the film industry, was given to the wrong film. For this revered category, filmmaker Warren Beatty opened the card on which the name of the winner was written, staring at it confusedly before actress Faye Dunaway read the card aloud and announced “La La Land.”

The entire “La La Land” cast and crew went onstage and began to give their speeches. But three speeches in, they realized that there was a “card mix-up.” The coming-of-age drama “Moonlight” was the actual winner of the award. It was an awkward but hilarious way to end the show that left me laughing for five minutes straight.

Despite the awkward mix-up, I wholeheartedly believe that “Moonlight” deserves the award. This film told the story of black gay man growing up in a poor community, portraying him in a humanizing way that people aren’t normally shown. It was new, it was groundbreaking, and it was incredibly important for those whose voices aren’t normally heard. As Tarell McCraney said in his acceptance speech for best adapted screenplay, “This goes out to all those black and brown boys and girls and non-gender-conforming who don’t see themselves. We are trying to show you and us … this is for you.”

As for the rest of the show, it was predictable and forgettable. One of the highlights of the show was watching Jimmy Kimmel continue his ongoing joke of insulting and degrading his old friend, actor Matt Damon.

Unfortunately, his ongoing joke was the only genuinely good joke from his time as the host. He brought random, unsuspecting tourists onto the show, which was an amusing bit at first, but eventually grew tired. He also often poked fun of the current president while also praising Mel Gibson and Casey Affleck, which was quite hypocritical considering the controversial pasts of both actors.

Chances are, those who followed the awards season closely had correct predictions about the best actor and actress winners. Casey Affleck won Best Actor for his role as a tragic custodian in “Manchester by the Sea.” Setting his controversial past aside, I didn’t find his performance in this film to be that strong. However, the best actor category was quite weak this year, so it’s no surprise that Affleck won. Emma Stone won Best Actress for her role as a hopeful actress in “La La Land.” I didn’t find her performance to be as strong as other actresses in the category, like Natalie Portman and Ruth Negga, but she was a favorite among all the other awards shows so it’s understandable that she would win this award.

Two immensely talented actors, Viola Davis and Mahershala Ali, won for Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor, respectively. There was no doubt that Viola Davis would win this award for her powerhouse role in the play adaptation “Fences.” It’s unfortunate that she wasn’t campaigned as Best Actress, because she likely would have fared well in that category also.

As for Mahershala Ali, he deserved the award for his role as a warm-hearted drug dealer in “Moonlight.” Ali not only played a role that was well-rounded and full of depth, but also one that subverted stereotypes about black men in poor communities.

As for Best Director, Damien Chazelle emerged victorious for “La La Land” in his first time receiving a nomination for that category. This award makes him the youngest Oscar-winning director at 32-years-old, which is truly impressive. “La La Land” was a technically impressive film as well, which can be proven by the five other Academy Awards it won, including Best Soundtrack and Best Cinematography.

This award show started off smoothly, and continued predictably, but who knew that it would end with such a BANG!