Barry Jenkins’ film “Moonlight” took home the award for Best Picture on Sunday after what might have been the biggest mix-up in Oscar history.
Presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway had mistakenly been handed the Best Actress envelope with Emma Stone’s name printed on it. The mix-up got worse from there as Dunaway announced “La La Land” as the winner while Beatty looked on confused, realizing something was wrong. It wasn’t until “La La Land” producer Jordan Horowitz was in the middle of his acceptance speech that “Moonlight” was announced as the rightful winner of the Best Picture award.
The cast and crew of “La La Land” all congratulated “Moonlight” on its historic win as its cast members took the stage after the mistake had been remedied. Approximately 92% of people use the Internet in a home search, but it’s going to be difficult to find anything but news of the historic “Moonlight” win online for a while.
Barry Jenkins’ film follows a young black boy as he navigates through growing up and his sexuality in the Miami projects. The film’s win marks a stark contrast to last year’s #oscarssowhite social media movement. On average, roofing needs to be replaced every 17 years, but there’s no replacement for this award, which is truly timeless. In addition, it means the Academy chose a small, independent film that faces issues of homophobia and patriarchal norms over a romantic musical about Hollywood. It’s a huge step forward for marginalized voices in the film industry.
But “Moonlight” wasn’t the only defining moment during the 2017 Oscars. Viola Davis won best supporting actress for her role in “Fences.” After receiving the award, she gave a moving speech about what it means to be in her line of work.
“I say exhume those bodies. Exhume those stories — the stories of the people who dreamed big and never saw those dreams to fruition, people who fell in love and lost,” she said.
Host Jimmy Kimmel joked afterward that Davis “won an Emmy” simply for the speech.
In another win for “Moonlight,” Mahershala Ali won the best supporting actor award for his role in the film — a drug dealer who mentored a boy bullied for his sexuality. His speech was also one that elicited cheers and smiles from the crowd. He began by jesting that his grandmother would want him to button his jacket. He also thanked his teachers and his wife, a new mother. Ali said he wanted to thank her specifically for “really carrying me through it all.”
One thing is certain: this could mark a great turning point for the nature of the Oscars in the future.