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MOONLIGHT Won Best Picture… After LA LA LAND Won Best Picture (We’ll Explain)

MOONLIGHT Won Best Picture… After LA LA LAND Won Best Picture (We’ll Explain)

So, here’s what happened.

Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, Oscar legends of the caliber you’d usually find reading off the year’s victor of the Best Picture Award, opened the final envelope of the night to find something rather suspicious: They were given the wrong card. Though vexed by the sight of Emma Stone’s name in what was meant to be a declaration of the Best Picture, and its association producers, Beatty proceeded to announce the accompanying movie, La La Land, as the big winner of the night. Naturally, the La La Land team took the stage to express their gratitude for the honor. That is, until they realized the mistake.

Midway through the group’s recitation of the usual thank-yous and expressions of the importance of dreaming big and going for the gold, La La Land producer Fred Berger got word from one of the Oscar ceremony’s techs that Beatty and Dunaway had read off the wrong title. In fact, the real winner of the Best Picture: Moonlight.

The mixup yielded an unsurprising amount of confusion and hullabaloo. Beatty reclaimed the mic to explain his perspective on the misstep, and Kimmel tried to smooth out the mayhem with a few jokes about giving both movies the Oscar. But in truth, the La La Land team, led by Jordan Horowitz, were incredibly gracious about the transference of the Oscar to its rightful owner.

The ultimate revelation that Moonlight was indeed the true winner of this year’s Best Picture Oscar inspired a great deal of elation, and surprise (and not only because of this particular episode of mayhem) from many of us watching at home. La La Land has long been projected as the favorite to win big this year, hitting the ceremony with a record-tying 14 nominations. Those rooting for Moonlight (including yours truly) recognized the story of a gay black child struggling to discover his own identity as he grows into manhood in an unforgiving neighborhood in Miami, as especially important to expression of tolerance, acceptance (and self-acceptance) and inclusion.

The only sustained tragedy of the incident is how the mix-up may overshadow the sociopolitical importance of Moonlight‘s win. But if we can get passed the “What?!” factor of it all, we can appreciate this victory as one of more than just a movie, but of an idea we need to prioritize now more than ever.

Image: A24

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