Each week this column will highlight one winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, progressing chronologically until all winners have been discussed. There will be a brief discussion of the film itself followed by a mention of what we wish won from the nominees in the given year (though in many cases there were films that were superior in terms of quality and/or impact that were not nominated). This week’s entry is Moonlight (2016).
When watching Moonlight (or any of his other works for that matter), it’s impossible to not become entranced in Barry Jenkins’s style. With a fluid and lyrical movement, it often seems more poem or painting than film, evoking so much beyond the scope of the dialogue to paint a picture simultaneously deeply personal and evocative of so much of society. Unfortunately, the screenplay itself has always felt somewhat lacking to me, coming off as far less innovative than the rest of the film through its repetition of beats seen many times before and bringing down the film as a result, especially in a third act that feels disjointed from the rest.
The Real Best Picture:
For a few glorious seconds, the Academy had named as Best Picture the film that was not only the best of their nominees, but the actual best of the year. Of all the times a film was robbed of the prize, none were so bad as seeing it actually taken back from La La Land.