Academy Awards get Best Picture right by getting it wrong



Mahershala Ali arrives at the 89th Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood. (Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

By Saketh Vasamsetti, Columnist

The 2017 Oscars was one to remember for years to come. Host Jimmy Kimmel offered the perfect balance between comedy and simplicity (with the exception of the  uncomfortable “tour” segment), we were able to witness Viola Davis’ incredible acceptance speech and the mix up of the year just so happened to take place at the end of the show.

The show’s final and most prestigious award, the Academy Award for Best Picture, was presented at the end by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.

Dunaway read out “La La Land” as the winner. But when the cast and crew were giving their speeches, the mixup unfolded, and it was soon realized the wrong movie was announced. “Moonlight” was the actual winner for Best Picture.

“La La Land” topped the list of favorites to win the award; however, as the Oscars neared, critics started to make arguments for the low-budget underdog “Moonlight” to win.

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    “La La Land” was a phenomenal movie by all means. “Moonlight,” however, offered more in terms of being the more progressive and artistic film. Considering the movie was able to do so much despite costing a mere $5 million compared to the $30 million of “La La Land,” “Moonlight” should have been the favorite coming into the Oscars.

    The winners of the Best Picture award in past years have usually followed a trend. The Academy seemingly favorites movies that incorporate the movie industry in some sort of way.

    Winners like “Spotlight,” “Birdman,” “Argo” and “The Artist” all have acting and filmmaking incorporated into them in some sort of way. “La La Land” fit that role perfectly. It portrayed a wishful actress and a passionate jazz musician both chasing their dreams to succeed. It was the perfect movie to notch academy votes. Again, not to take anything away from the brilliance of “La La Land” — it just didn’t offer as much complexity and originality as “Moonlight.”

    And right when we thought the Academy would fail us once again by picking the stereotypically chosen movie, it finally got it right … by getting it wrong.  

    The Academy gave credit to the movie that offered more to the world. By choosing the more progressive movie, the Academy has also taken a step forward in broadening the types of movies it favors.

    Yes, people love to see people caught up in their dreams and living life to the fullest while having the loves of their lives present, but love it or not, the truth is also important to display.

    “Moonlight” provided the perfect truth — the heart-wrenching truth many of us refuse to see or even acknowledge. But it has finally been noticed — and hopefully the success of “Moonlight” will inspire a much-needed trend of acceptance for both filmmakers and the audience.

    Saketh is a freshman in DGS.

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