For the past week, I’ve heard a lot of chatter on one subject: the Oscars. Primarily, this chatter has been about the upset of “Moonlight” winning over “La La Land,” the movie that was slated to win by a landslide.
While many people are excited “Moonlight” won, much more were angered by the change of events.
This may be adding to an already popular opinion, but you know what, in my opinion, “Moonlight” definitely should have won.
The story is of a girl going to Hollywood hoping to make it big, in the meantime meeting a brooding, talented man who thinks something (in this case, jazz) is never as good as it once was.
We see this girl struggle. We see her work for what she wants, holding down part-time jobs to make ends meet. We yell at the screen, “Just pick her, she’s the best!”
In the end, the girl gets what she wants. She becomes a singer or a dancer or an actress. And she rides off into the sunset with Brooding Man by her side. All is well, the American Dream is secure.
If this trail of events sounds familiar, that’s because it decorates a countless number of movies. What made “La La Land” so special was its music and that its two main characters were played by some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling.
Unlike “La La Land,” “Moonlight” actually had a new and relevant story to tell its audience.
“Moonlight” is a drama following the life of Chiron, a young black man growing up in a rough area of Miami. Chiron must deal with his own sexuality, his abusive mother and as he grows up, the cycle of the world he lives in.
Unlike “La La Land,” “Moonlight” humanizes an aspect of American culture and society that isn’t viewed in popular culture: poverty, the hardship of drug addiction and homosexuality, specifically in an African American community.
This marks an important precedent for a film in general, as “Moonlight” took these difficult topics and handled them in a genuine, respectful way, but it was also important for people struggling with the same hardships as Chiron. They were able to see themselves represented in a film that does not judge, that does not misinform. It simply tells the story.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved “La La Land,” too. But that story, the story of a girl who looks like me and has the same privileges as me, has been told over and over again. It’s time to let someone else’s story be told, and have it recognized for how powerful and thoughtful it really is.