Because of the talk and acclaim of Moonight and the way it won Best Picture at The Oscars, I knew I had to give this film a view. I think earlier this week I wanted to go into Moonlight and be overly critical since it beat out La La Land at The Oscars, a film I saw four times at the theaters. Not only did I really enjoy La La Land but I had felt Moonlight was victorious on the alleged biggest night of the year for film for a number of reasons. To begin, the night before the Oscars I had seen an article an actor wrote with the headline something along the lines of I Have Played A Terrorist In Close To Twenty Films, If La La Land Wins Best Picture I Am Done With Hollywood.
And no, this was not an Onion article. This was a failing actor who was seriously whining at such a pathetic level.
So that gives you a hint at how the fear and chaos that Donald Trump has frightened liberals with lead to Moonlight winning Best Picture, but there is still more that I feel The Oscars had to balance, particularly their past.
It was just a year ago that the Oscars were considered to be too white. Sure, it was criticized by people like Will Smith who seemed to be more upset his dud of a film Concussion, in which he uses an African accent and comes across like a black actor in the films of the 1930s and 1940s wasn’t a contender more than he was upset at the setback for black films. If such dull pictures like The Revenant, The Big Short and Spotlight could be considered and win awards, I don’t see how Straight Outta Compton, Chi-Raq or Selma couldn’t have snagged more nominations.
Perhaps the most disturbing and weirdest part of the night was the way The Oscars played Fight The Power by Public Enemy as the credits rolled and the whitest people you could ever imagine stood around in attire worth as much as your car, not drinking any liquids so they wouldn’t appear bloated pretend to have conversations until the cameras went off.
And so whatever you may think of Moonlight, it’s easy to understand how this incredibly low budget film with an all-black cast and black director became a serious contender on the alleged biggest stage for film. Not saying this is the only reason Moonlight got to the top of the ladder, but it is perhaps the main reason it did and only to balance out this bullshit of the past could a film as independent and raw as Moonlight beat out the films with the big and established names.
And yet, there is still one more reason Moonlight won Best Picture that has nothing to do with whether the film was good or bad.
The biggest Oscar snub of recent years and perhaps of all time is how Crash beat out Brokeback Mountain, Crash being a painfully mediocre morality film about how racism is bad beat out Brokeback Mountain, a very well made film about a homosexual romance that perhaps came out too soon when coming out of the closet was still a thing that could change the direction of one’s career, when announcing you were gay could change your image and what people thought of you, when the most notable representation of gay men was Queer Eye For The Straight Guy, a group of fairies who were safe enough for the conservatives who voted George W. Bush in twice.
I feel like this also led to Moonight, a film about a black man growing up in Miami in the 80s who is dealing with his homosexuality to become a serious contender. Because this Oscar snub of 2004-2005 is still a haunting thing for The Academy. After that year, voters were asked once more and now they decided that Brokeback Mountain was obviously Best Picture.
There’s no doubt Moonlight represents a correction of the past, a way to balance out how The Oscars has always gone with a safer far more boring choice of film.
Even with the large politically correct liberal cloud that could easily block and prevent a rational human being from enjoying this film, thankfully I was able to. I found Moonlight to be a very well made film that at the same time has a rough and raw feel that I find refreshing in a critically acclaimed film. The fact that this film was so victorious and feels like three well made short independent films put together was very refreshing to me.
Some of the most problematic parts of this film to some were of zero issue to me. The first being how Mahershala Ali won Best Supporting Actor and how his role feels more like a cameo than a supporting actor role. I personally feel Mahershala Ali was incredibly deserving of this award. With the short time his role is given, he is an incredible and powerful presence. Not only is his role a home run on film, but his presence is felt towards the film after he’s long gone when the main character has begun to resemble him and drives a car very similar to the one Mahershala Ali’s character drove.
Another problematic part of this film was the third act, how this victim who has gotten his ass handed to him constantly throughout his life suddenly became a bad ass drug dealer. Maybe not even that for some, but how could this now bad ass drug dealer still be haunted by a handjob he once received on a beach so many years ago? How could he still be lusting after Kevin when he could have any guy or as many guys as he desired?
The biggest issue I have with some critics is the way they feel that certain things should always go down in films, that if certain things happen to a character, the domino effect HAS to go within a certain direction or it makes absolutely no sense. There’s no explanation for why a human behaves in a certain manner, they just do. In Moonlight, we are only getting quick peaks into this character’s life so to assume we know exactly how he should be acting and the path he should be walking on is incredibly ridiculous to me.
Overall, I found Moonlight to be an incredible film and one that I was glad to have watched. It’s a new and different take on black film with a story that we haven’t been told countless times before. The look and feel of the film is quite beautiful on such a low budget and Barry Jenkins is hopefully a director that sees a lot of work come his way in the near future.
I’m glad a film of this quality and with an original narrative happened to be released in a time when it was able to succeed like it did.