Warren Beatty reading out La La Land by accident when presenting Best Picture at the Oscars will go down in history as a monumental f***-up.
But in actual fact, it was more than that.
It was a rare moment of Hollywood schadenfreude, and one of unparalleled beauty.
The mask slipped and the triviality of the Academy Awards was exposed for all to see.
And the ultimate victory of the real winner, Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight, was all the more delectable because everyone who had come to grudgingly accept that La La Land would win was proved wrong.
Telling a story about love that’s worthy of attention rather than merely making gestures at one, Moonlight is a miles better movie than La La Land and its other six (former) rivals.
But it had only a little star power backing it, and La La Land — no doubt bolstered by a huge incentive campaign budget — seemed to be a shoe-in because Whiplash mastermind Damien Chazelle had won Best Director.
Not only that, but everyone had been saying that the Academy would favour La La Land because of its focus on old Hollywood and the fact it celebrates the ‘dreamers’ who create stories (spoiler: it doesn’t).
In that respect, the awkward Beatty cock-up seems to symbolise the old Hollywood dying off and giving way to greater variety and less circle-jerking.
It’s also now crystal clear that ‘Oscars buzz’, a golden mist that hovered around La La Land for months on end, is really just bulls***.
It’s a shame that no celebrity panelist acknowledged, during the rather flimsy TV commentary on Sky, that Moonlight was the most deserving winner, obvious though that was.
Egg is firmly on their faces now.
So thank you, Warren Beatty.
You’ve inadvertently rescued what could have been a sad 89th Academy Awards, with Moonlight only taking Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali.
La La Land may have scooped six Oscars to go with all their freshly-minted Box Office dough, but they didn’t get that Best Picture cherry on top. And that’s a positive omen.
Maybe next year the Academy can nominate a wider variety of films so hype doesn’t determine what people see at the cinema. Well, we can dream, can’t we, Damien?
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