Variety released a cover on Wednesday for their annual director’s interview for the person who won Best Director at the Academy Awards. That person was Damien Chazelle this year. Variety wanted Damien to do the cover alone, as usual, but he wanted to share the cover and story with Barry Jenkins, who directed Moonlight, which won Best Picture at the Oscars this year. (Rightfully so!) Variety said okay and we are left with this.
What the bleep, Variety?!
The things that are wrong with this cover and make my weave itch are:
1. Barry is bowing to Damien. I know Barry lost Best Director to him, but really, though?
2. Damien’s film LOST to Barry’s film for Best Picture.
3. The cover says AMAZING GRACE. “Shock gives way to solidarity as Damien Chazelle and Barry Jenkins regroup from a crazy Oscar night.” What is graceful about giving up an award you didn’t win? I guarantee you if Moonlight got called up first and Best Picture actually went to La La Land, all this stuff about the mix-up wouldn’t be happening. Why is that film with an all-white major cast and production team called “gracious” and “generous” for giving back an award they didn’t earn?! That’s called common sense, not grace, class, civility, and generosity. What were they supposed to do, demand a second set of Best Picture statuettes for Moonlight‘s producers? Again, if it were reversed, Moonlight‘s people would not have been called anything even close to “gracious” or “classy”.
4. It’s bad enough that Moonlight‘s historic and deserved win won’t stand on its own for all time now because of the kerfuffle with the mixed up envelopes, but this just really seems to dig the knife in and twist it just because they can. This film’s big win is inextricably tied to La La Land losing, which upset a lot of people, especially critics who liked the movie and, in my opinion, overrated it. (Seriously, the movie stopped being a musical about 30 minutes in, and after the first hour went to a very serious and confusing place and never left. Also, MUSICALS DON’T HAVE ABOUT 70% SPOKEN DIALOGUE! THIS WAS JUST A MOVIE WITH SONGS IN IT! It is a good film, however, but not the media darling it was made out to be.)
5. Moonlight stands on its own as a multiple-nominated Oscar-caliber film that has a few notable wins under its belt – Best Supporting Actor Mahershala Ali, Best Adapted Screenplay winners Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney, and Best Picture (for an LGBT-themed film that didn’t deal with slavery – THANK GOD – and had an all-black cast FROM TOP TO BOTTOM). It also should have won Best Cinematography, in my opinion. The film swept the Independent Spirit Awards too. The movie didn’t need to share a cover with La La Land.
I just want my people to be great on their own without “help” being “offered” or ham-handedly forced onto us. Variety should have told Damien “No” to his request to share with Barry Jenkins and done one for Barry Jenkins and Moonlight winning Best Picture. Let the two movies stand on their own. Integration isn’t needed this time, especially since there was apparently so little use for minorities in La La Land.
Basically, Variety, stop All Lives Matter-ing Moonlight and blowing up a mistake to be more than what it was – a mistake; human error. Nothing gracious about it.