I know Donald Trump’s speech last night was a big deal and he’s supposedly “presidential” now that he can actually acknowledge anti-Semitism (big moment for him!) while continuing to disparage immigrants, but we have to keep our eyes on what's really important: the Oscars.
Two nights ago, long, long before Trump's address, one of the biggest flubs in Oscars history unfolded. You may have heard a lil’ something about it—how La La Land was said to have won the Academy Award for Best Picture due to Warren Beatty being given the wrong envelope, and how Moonlight had actually won the award.
The drama may have made for an iconic moment in Oscars history (despite the show being the second lowest rated in Oscars history), but that unfortunately meant that Barry Jenkins couldn’t give the speech he had in mind. Not only did the three producers of La La Land already give their speeches, but they TOOK AN EXTRA 38 SECONDS TO EXPLAIN WHAT HAPPENED instead of just giving the Moonlight producers their moment. (And yes, I counted the seconds.)
Well, Barry Jenkins and La La Land director Damien Chazelle sat down with Variety for an (exclusive!) interview after the whole thing went down. Leaving aside the problematic decision to put Chazelle in there at all, we still got a glimpse into what Jenkins had planned for his actual moment in the sun. It was like seeing a beautiful alternate universe:
“I had something that I had prepared to say, and that thing went completely out the window,” he recalls. “I’ve been saying that [co-writer] Tarell [Alvin McCraney] and I are that kid in the film, and that kid does not grow up to make a piece of art that gets eight Academy Award nominations. It’s a dream I never allowed myself to have. When we were sitting there, and that dream of winning didn’t come true, I took it off the table. But then I had to very quickly get back into that place. And my first thought was to get to the stage to give Jordan a hug as quickly as possible.”
It would have been magnificent to see it on stage. It would have been magnificent if Moonlight’s historic moment wasn’t eclipsed by literally the only thing that could have done so. Would be magnificent if Moonlight was recognized for its greatness and successes unconditionally, rather than as an upset to La La Land. But at least it won.