La La Land was okay, just okay.
Many of us already know about Jazz, about artistic struggle, about sacrificing a career and then not sacrificing a career. La La Land was a fun, whimsical and reminiscent film about those things. It was a magical musical colored with circus acts, creative angst and soul mates reaching across the void. BUT in the last 10 minutes of the film, a main character has a head-scratching transformation. I want to imagine this is why it didn't win.
Three things about Oscar night 2017:
- When Warren hesitated the announcement for Best Picture, I wondered if he was thinking the same thing.
- When Ryan Gosling got on stage and stood away from the group, I wondered if he was thinking the same thing (or if he was thinking, everyone won but me).
- Little did I know, this showdown was the final in the land of 3’s: Cubs. Reality TV megalomaniac wins world leader seat. BIG Oscar snafu.
(As you were.)
What I couldn’t stop thinking - this dark-comedic moment trumped the win for the creators of Moonlight, a difficult film about race and sexuality. In recent years, this snafu may have been politicized. BUT, please, not right now - I don’t want a sociologist studying Oscar envelope distribution and the likelihood of making more mistakes with black films than with white. I really don’t, even though I could go there.
This suspiciously seems like something our political leaders had their hands in. Guess what we’re NOT talking about today? Meryl Streep, donuts, Mel Gibson's baby-mama, and the fact that a lot of talented black people won.
A final thought, I am a product of lookism. I felt embarrassed for the La La Land producers and their beautiful passion speeches. I asked my 17 year old, do you think they’re embarrassed? She said no, probably confused. Being in the business of filmmaking takes hubris and conceding in the moment of victory takes humility I’m not sure I’d have. I’d struggle. I think I’d blame - but maybe that’s why they’re at the top of their game. They didn’t.
This is one of my take aways - lookism. How we look, appear, present… How we accept failure and if we get up again or we slink back to a cave. Wounds certainly need time for repair. And licking might not be bad (Did you hear Radiolab's repeat broadcast this week? Click up top to listen about saving face, licking and inheritance.).
Let’s hope Moonlight really, truly rose over La La Land and cast it's moon shadow on a moment of grace. Because (*exhausted, slump shouldered and shaking my head), we could use some.