What is the message of the Academy Awards?
After a brief moment of confusion the truth came out: not La La Land but Moonlight had won the Oscar for best picture on Sunday night. Many commentators see the fact that the award went to a drama about a young, black, gay man rather than to a musical with a predominantly white cast as a clear political message - only enhanced by the blunder.
A revealing faux-pas
The best picture mix-up at the Oscars says a lot about the history of Hollywood films and will have delighted fans of performance art, writes The Independent:
“The Moonlight/La La Land debacle works beautifully as an allegory for the last 50 years of cinema. Yes, the prize should have gone to the film that was hardest to finance, script authentically and sell into the commercial mass consciousness, circumnavigating a thousand miscellaneous gatekeepers. But it went instead to the thing with white people in it, doing something based on a cinematic genre we all decided we liked 50 years ago. Well, it almost did. The two-minute clip of the faux-pas plays out like glorious, life-enhancing performance art. It's like a short film one might be chivvied into a wigwam at the Turner Prize exhibition to watch.”
These winners definitely not to Trump's liking
Journalist Cristian Tudor Popescu sees the jury's decision as a slap in the face for US President Donald Trump in the blog republica:
“Moonlight is a mediocre, politically correct film lacking any original ideas but featuring a black actor who's currently all the rage: Mahershala Ali. The story - an educational tale about a disadvantaged youth without a father and with a mother who takes drugs - is a grab-bag of clichés. The sole 'merit' of the film is the fact that the protagonist is black and gay. ... These Academy Awards are a resounding slap in the face for Trump. Two slaps, in fact: the Oscar for the best foreign film went to The Salesman by Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, whose country is on Trump's travel ban list, and who boycotted the ceremony in protest at the president's order.”
The new academy takes a stance
The protests and reforms of recent years paved the way for the decision to give the main award to a film with African-American protagonists, La Vanguardia comments approvingly:
“The absence of nominations for African-American actors in the 2015 and 2016 editions of the Oscars sparked a protest movement and led to a series of reforms at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. … To promote diversity the number of members with voting rights was significantly increased. This was done taking into account geographic diversity (people from 59 countries), gender diversity (47 percent women) and ethnic diversity (41 percent coloured people). A welcome initiative for promoting diversity at the Oscars. Whereby naturally the quality of the cinematic work should be the main criterion when distributing the prizes.”