Its been exactly a whole week already since the 89th Academy Awards ceremony took place and after what went down right at the very end of it as the most shocking, confusing and total cluster-fuckery moment in the history of the Oscars, I thought it was time to look back on why/how on Earth it all went terribly wrong. I’m not alone this time though, being joined by the always amazing Sarah Buddery (who you should be following on twitter – @sarahbuddery) as we both share our collective thoughts on such a monumental embarrassment…
SARAH: Now that the dust has settled on the shocking turn of events at the end of last Sunday’s Oscars, it’s time to add to the endless stream of reactions and chuck in my two cents! Witnessing what is easily the biggest cock-up in Oscars history was a moment that felt like it occurred out of space and time. I’d picked Moonlight to win, and even had a cheeky little bet on it, but my mind just kept telling me La La Land would do it. Chazelle winning best director put a slight spanner in the works as frequently the Academy choose to pick different films for best picture and best director. Would Moonlight do it? Could Moonlight do it?
ME: OK, so lets get this out the way first. I really liked La La Land when I finally got to see it for the first time with Sarah at the BFI in early January. A musical paying so much homage to the Hollywood Golden Age of the 1930s and 1940s that attracted so much buzz and hype from last year’s London Film Festival, I was certain I’d fall madly in love with it. Well, I really liked it at least. I admired and appreciated for what it achieved. But did I truly love it? Unfortunately, no I didn’t. Seeing it four times at the time of writing is sure evidence though that I thoroughly enjoyed it each time and it was a movie that put a big smile on my face. But the hype surrounding it was far too high for me. Moonlight on the other hand, totally blew me away. Dealing with themes and issues that dealt with bullying and discovering your place in the world are ones that resonated deeply within me. Having seen all the best picture nominees this year, Moonlight was placed, in my view, at the very top as the one to beat. If I had the available cash to throw away, I would had bet £20 or £30 at least for Moonlight to win best film. La La Land already swept clean both the Golden Globes and BAFTAS so I thought things should go a little different at the Academy Awards…
SARAH: Fast forward to the big moment, and I knew something was up as soon as Warren Beatty opened up the envelope, he looked uncertain and the pause was uncomfortably long. Of course now we know why, the card in his hand said Emma Stone, La La Land. He shows Faye Dunaway who apparently doesn’t give a shit that they’re about to make a monumental error and announces that La La Land has won. Cue the tears and cheers as the entire cast and crew make their way onto the stage. At this point, WHY DID NO ONE SAY ANYTHING?! How could it take someone so long to react to this? Then of course the moment that will go down in history, the announcement that it was all a big mistake and Moonlight had won.
ME: The moment Warren Beatty read out from the card after taken a considerably questionable longer than normal pause, that the winner was in fact La La Land; I let out the biggest groan ever. I was so sure more than I have ever been before that Moonlight would do it! But wait a minute, what’s this? Turns out La La Land isn’t really the Best Picture winner after all!? After Jordan Horowitz snatches the card out of Beatty’s hands and announces that Moonlight really is the winner, everything just got a bit too surreal and confusing. And just where the hell did Faye Dunaway run off to when all this drama was going on?
SARAH: Trying to explain how I felt at this moment is near impossible. I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t disappointed, I was numb! Was someone just having a Kanye moment and doing a “La La Land imma let you finish, but Moonlight is the best picture of all time!”? Nope, it was real. Shocked faces all round and then La La Land shuffle offstage to make way for Moonlight who suddenly have to make speeches and pretend like this isn’t the craziest thing that’s happened, and La La Land try to laugh it all off.
ME: I didn’t mention this earlier but Sarah was with me the whole entire night, watching it all go down in complete shock and horror. I can certainly back up the claim that Sarah was indeed very much numb throughout this whole train wreck. Myself, on the other hand, I was in a mix of huge disbelief and absolute thrill at the same time. Thrilled at the fact that the film I’ve been rooting for, for so long, actually got the win but also in a state of stunned silence of what I just witnessed happen.
SARAH: We can look back and laugh now and sure the memes have been great, but what it also meant was that Moonlight’s much deserved win will be slightly tainted, remembered for the wrong reasons, and somewhat in La La Land’s shadow. Similarly, despite its earlier success, La La Land will always be the film that won best picture for like two minutes, only to have it unceremoniously taken away from it. Of course, we might all just forget about this in a few weeks time so maybe we should just take some advice from Shaun of the Dead, have a nice cup of tea and wait for all of this to blow over!
ME: I have to slightly disagree with Sarah in her above comment about forgetting the end result in a few weeks from now. This will surely go down as the biggest fuck up and travesty in the entire American film history of the Academy Awards and even though lengths will be taken to ensure this will probably never happen again, I honestly think this will be a moment in film that will be talked about for months and maybe even years down the line. With Brexit now being a reality in the UK, Donald Trump now in complete control as the next US President and NOW this, it adds even more meaning to the saying ‘you can’t make this shit up’.