Magazine article Screen International

Comment: Academy Got It Right with 'Moonlight' Best Picture Win

Magazine article Screen International

Comment: Academy Got It Right with 'Moonlight' Best Picture Win

Article excerpt

Ignoring if it is possible for a moment the tumultuous manner in which Moonlight was declared best picture winner at the 2017 Oscars, the film's victory reflects the Academy's steadfast desire to recognise quality.

It would be tempting to attribute the win to a deep-rooted will to banish any perception of institutional racism, however while that is true it would only tell part of the story.

Academy members have not enjoyed the opprobrium that has come their way over the last 13 months since the #Oscarssowhite scandal blew up.

Yet they have honoured people of colour before and voters who have spoken to Screen over the past year said they were determined not to do so under duress or out of duty to any sense of positive discrimination.

So the merit of Moonlight was something voters were keen to reward, even if La La Land was by far the noisiest contender in the latter stages of the season.

Both films won staunch fans early on and benefited from strong campaigns that kept them in the conversation for six months.

La La Land rode a wave of adulation into Toronto after its Venice Film Festival premiere and was already being positioned by Lionsgate and its campaign cohorts as the early heavyweight. It was the hottest ticket in Toronto.

Moonlight was a more subtle affair. It premiered in Telluride, the elite event that writer-director Barry Jenkins has attended for several years as a cinephile and friend of the festival, and also arrived in Canada with high hopes.

The leadership at A24, which made its first financing commitment on the $1. …

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