In the near (or far) future on a pleasant summer night you’ll stand up with a belly full of wine and cheese and the instrumental version of Another Day of Sun will fill the night sky. As your group packs up your trash someone will undoubtedly say, “How did that not win Best Picture”.
And you can say “it did, but then we realized the error of our ways”
I’m not here to bury La La Land but rather to give my reasons why Moonlight deserved it more. You’re not going to convince a lot of movie fans. Not the usual ones that want an entertaining escape. They want to see another world, experience beautiful emotions and see their dreams come true. Did you ever want to be a nanny to 7 children and then fall in love with their father? A Sound of Music. Did you want to be a down on his luck restaurant owner just trying to get to the next day without the Germans closing you down? Casablanca. You ever want to save the galaxy with some crazy magic and unknowingly French kiss your twin sister? Star Wars.
So it goes without saying that watching a young guy and a young gal struggle but eventually succeed in the city of dreams makes your heart sing. There’s dancing and singing and choreography and bright beautiful dresses. “That’s the life I want!” you scream. That’s what we came to LA to get and doesn’t it feel good to watch a pretty movie with pretty people and their pretty problems make it work out in the end?
You’re absolutely right.
But aren’t there a hundred other movies that already did that? (some might say better but that’s for someone else to write)
Where is the movie for a confused boy who doesn’t fit in? A boy of COLOR? A GAY boy of color? Where is the movie that shows how someone who isn’t gifted with looks and opportunity finds a little piece of love? The movie about a gentle soul who never intended to hurt anyone? The movie where a boy gets bullied and abused and demoralized to the point where the only option is to use brute force against all the forces that conspire to extinguish him.
Moonlight is the movie for the outcasts, for the forgotten, for the ignored. For the people that have watched movies for years and pretended to be the main character but that main character looked nothing like them. And then you can only pretend that someone else’s dream is yours until the harsh light of reality hits you. You don’t look like your hero, you don’t live like your hero and as much as you try your hero’s wins aren’t yours. And let’s face facts, a story about a gay boy with a drug addicted mother and a drug dealer for a role model isn’t what Frank Capra and Steven Spielberg hand out to the masses like so much daily bread. Stories like that get forgotten or relegated to the B story line if they even get in the script.
For one shining moment there was a movie about a different looking kid who acts differently and ends up different. But in the end there’s one thing that he does find; he finds someone that loves him through all his differences. An earned love that may not be pretty to you but to him is more beautiful and real than any dream.
*had this happened in 2006 I’d be writing about Brokeback Mountain. Fuck Crash