I hope the Oscars Ceremony 2017 doesn’t just get remembered for the chaos that broke our last night over the winner of the best film. OK, it’s extraordinary that it could have gone so wrong and become the nightmare of everyone who has ever been nominated for an award but……let’s not go too Hollywood over all this.
Let’s remember the occasion as the night that a wonderful film, deservedly, won the film industry’s most glamorous award and that Moonlight was, eventually, given the prize for best movie. Congratulations to all concerned and an extra round of applause for the hugely talented director, Barry Jenkins (previous films include the impressive Medicine for Melancholy, 2008).
Congratulations to another talented director, Damien Chazelle (remember his great film, Whiplash, 2014) who got tangled up in the mis-announcement farce over his wonderful film La La Land but still ended up winning the Oscar for best director. After all the chaos and Hollywood campery, there was something highly satisfying in seeing two terrific young film directors both winning Oscars for films that took risks, let their imaginations run free and showed a profound respect for their medium. Not every Oscar ceremony has had the embarrassment of riches that was on display this year. Both films were worthy additions to the great art of the cinema. Bravo to both of you. Oh yes, and to the splendid director-writer Kenneth Lonergen for another great film, Manchester by the Sea – I wish all three directors could’ve won.
Also, let’s not allow the showbiz furore to let us forget the four outstanding actors who won Oscars for truly memorable and moving performances.
Mahershala Ali – best supporting actor (Moonlight). Movingly humane as a philosophical drug-dealer.
Naomie Harris – best supporting actress (Moonlight). Heart-breaking as a conflicted drug-addict mother.
Emma Stone – best actress (La La Land). There is nothing this woman can’t do, honestly, she’s truly great and, I’m sure, the best is yet to come. Her face acts with every muscle and even when she’s completely still.
Casey Affleck – best actor (Manchester by the Sea). An astonishing portrayal of the unrelenting grief of bereavement and the problems of expressing masculine emotion. No one has done this better.
If you haven’t seen these movies then please do. Moonlight, La La Land and Manchester by the Sea – they all travel down difficult roads, they all challenge our perceptions and, yes, they all play with our hearts. It was so good agreeing with the Oscars this year.