This years Oscar narrative was all but sealed until this past weekend. If you are betting money, you should still predict La La Land for Best Picture. It is still the safest bet, but there seems to be a last minute surge for Moonlight. Director Mark Duplass wrote the following letter to the Academy is support of Moonlight.
“I really want you to see ‘Moonlight.’
“Because it is a bit of a miracle.
“The sad truth is, films like this don’t get made anymore. It is a film about a young black boy from Florida navigating his burgeoning homosexuality while simultaneously trying to overcome the perils of being raised by his drug-addicted single mother. It has no movie stars. It is unabashedly honest and unapologetically runs against the tide of what is commonly considered to be commercial cinema. That’s all to say… it is impossible to get a movie like this made in today’s indie film ecosystem.
“Yet, the film exists. Somehow, it got made.
“Because this is my favorite film of the last 10 years.
“And, I think it’s fair to say that it’s an important film. Not important in the ‘eat your vegetables and see this important art film even though it’s painful to watch’ way. The film is important because it is actually not a niche film. It is not just for people who like movies that feature marginalized characters who aren’t often featured in leading roles. The film is important because it is a beautiful, sweet, open love letter to the core human values that connect us all. It is important because it reaches beyond its specific characters and tells the story of all of our dreams and collective life experiences. It simultaneously tells a harsh truth and, miraculously, does it with an air of hope. It is the kind of film I have been trying to figure out how to make for my entire career.
“So now I recommend it to people as loudly and as often as I can. And I make it a point to recommend it not just to art film geeks but also to fans of blockbuster cinema, childhood friends from back home, or older couples who don’t like ‘these kinds of films.’ And inevitably they call me a week or two later. Or sometimes the very next day. And we talk about the film. About how it made them feel. About how they connected so deeply with characters who were, more often than not, very different from them.
“And I can’t help but think how a movie like this is helping to create a small but sturdy bridge in our extremely divided times. I think about those of us who are trying to find ways to connect with others we don’t fully understand. And I think that a simple, fun way to pitch in to this effort is to simply sit down and watch this film. And let it change you.
“So, please. Go see ‘Moonlight.’ Because the film is simply fantastic. And because, when you’re done, it feels really good to reach out to others and say to them ‘I really want you to see ‘Moonlight.’”
The publicity team behind La La Land way outmatched Moonlight’s Oscar campaign. Moonlight decided to go more on word of mouth then a full on campaign. With a little more time Moonlight might have won. It’s just too late in the game, or is it?