Monday, February 27, 2017

89th Academy Awards (2017) - Review: A Truly Messed-Up (and Even Dangerous) Ending

IMDb listing
Previous/Other years

Wow, what a Mess.  At the end of a show that had already seemed like a mirror opposite of the first Academy Awards that I reviewed five years ago -- when a film about a stuttering, dead English King, (The King's Speech [2010]), the very epitome, pinnacle, DEFINITION of WASPishness, _swept_ the Awards -- all Hell broke loose:

The Sweet but Old (and certainly still about as _white as can be_) Bonnie and Clyde [1967] stars Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty came-up to announce the winner of Best Picture for this year and ... were given the wrong envelope.  They announced, as winner, the _lovely_ but also (one has to say it) the MOST MILK-TOASTY _WHITE_ / SAFE film of those nominated this year, La, La Land [2016], when _apparently_ the QUITE LITERALLY _MOST GHETTO_ FILM (populated _almost completely_ by actors / actresses of color) Moonlight [2016] had, in fact, WON.

What the heck happened?  Where did the second envelope come from?  Who printed it?  Who gave it to Warren Beatty?

Now for full disclosure here, I LOVED La, La Land [2016] (giving it 4+ Stars) and really QUITE DESPISED Moonlight [2016] (giving it then 0 Stars).

Now why would I give the latter such a low mark?  Well, I thought that with the exception of film's lead character -- a gay gang-banger (Soprano's star James Gandolfini ALSO played a gay mobster / hitman in the unfortunately named comedy The Mexican [1997]) -- ALL the other characters in Moonlight [2016] played to some of the worst stereotypes of the inner city.  Indeed, interestingly, Naomie Harris, who played the lead character's "crack whore mother" initially declined the role precisely for the reason that it played to a terrible stereotype, consenting to do it only after being told by the writer-director Barry Jenkins that it was based on his own mother (IndieWire).  At the end of my review of Moonlight, I wrote: "Honestly, if THIS FILM gets Oscar nominations and Hidden Figures [2016] and Fences [2016] (both far more positive / honest) do not, then the Academy should just go to Hell."  Well the other two films did get plenty of nominations, Viola Davis did win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Fences [2016], and of the nominees, I myself believed Mahershala Ali to be most deserving of the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Moonlight [2016].  So if Moonlight [2016] did indeed win, I'd certainly accept it, now.

However, I honestly would like to know: Was there then an attempt _to steal_ the Best Picture Oscar from Moonlight [2016] at the Awards show (OR conversely did Moonlight [2016] actually steal the Best Picture Oscar from La, La Land [2016])?  At minimum, there was an extra envelope back stage.  Again, who printed it?  And who gave it to Warren Beatty?

Presently laughing are certainly Putin and Trump.  If our society can't trustworthily audit an election involving only a few thousand ballots for an (admittedly significant) Awards Show, how can Democracy as a whole remain safe?


ADDENDA --

STATEMENTS:

Statement of PricewaterhouseCooper Accounting Firm (2/27/2017):



Statement of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences:

89th Oscars Best Picture Statement (2/27/2017)

We deeply regret the mistakes that were made during the presentation of the Best Picture category during last night’s Oscar ceremony. We apologize to the entire cast and crew of La La Land and Moonlight whose experience was profoundly altered by this error. We salute the tremendous grace they displayed under the circumstances. To all involved — including our presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, the filmmakers, and our fans watching worldwide — we apologize.

For the last 83 years, the Academy has entrusted PwC to handle the critical tabulation process, including the accurate delivery of results. PwC has taken full responsibility for the breaches of established protocols that took place during the ceremony. We have spent last night and today investigating the circumstances, and will determine what actions are appropriate going forward. We are unwaveringly committed to upholding the integrity of the Oscars and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.


COVERAGE:

Jimmy Kimmel Live - 2/27/2017 - Oscars' Host Jimmy Kimmel Reveals What Really Happened at Craziest Oscars Ever

The Hollywood Reporter - 2/27/2017 - 12:09 AM PST  by Erik Hayden, Oscars Accountants Apologize for Snafu, Vow to "Investigate How This Could Have Happened"

The Hollywood Reporter - 2/27/2017 - 7:07 PM PST  by Gregg Kildray - Oscars Accountants Offer Another Apology as Academy Launches Investigation of Snafu

CNN - 2/28/2017 - 12:55 AM ET, by Sandra Gonzalez, contributing Brian Stelter and Stephanie Elam - Timeline of a Historic Blunder


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