The 2017 Best Picture in Retrospect

In today’s guest post, Craig Pisani shares his thoughts on the controversy that marked last year’s Oscars ceremony:

On March 4th, 2018 the 90th Academy Awards ceremony will be held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California and hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. Doubtful there will be a repeat of last year’s embarrassing debacle which saw La La Land erroneously named winner for Best Picture only to be yanked midway through their speeches and handed to the cast and crew of Moonlight. The gaffe was courtesy of a buffoon who treated the night like amateur hour, fouling up the one job he had by sending the Best Actress envelope out on stage with Warren Beatty, there to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Bonnie and Clyde. Beatty failed to resolve the issue upon realizing there was a problem and passed the task off to his former co-star, Faye Dunaway, knowingly allowing her announce the wrong winner. The incident wasn’t funny and Jimmy Kimmel could have been less of a bad comedian during the crisis and more apologetic/sympathetic but in my opinion looking back on it, La La Land should have been the winner to begin with.

Moonlight did a lot with a little, using only a small $4 million budget and gaining big results. It received 8 Oscar nods and won Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor to accompany its Best Picture award. Although the film was highly decorated I felt that it was dialogue heavy and repetitive in nature. The film chronicles a shy man’s life from the age of a young boy to high school to his mid-20’s and every step of the way those around him continually try to pry words from his mouth. Repetitive to say the least and quite honestly it was boring as I kept waiting for something to give but it never did. Near the film’s completion, I placed it on pause to see how much time remained. With 10 minutes left I anticipated some dramatic event, some change in character, something other than dialogue that held no tension or weighted purpose. It felt like I was watching a poor attempt to rip off Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain which was a powerful and great film. Nevertheless, my hopes were crushed of any redemption upon film’s end.

Meanwhile, La La Land may have been the greatest musical in American history. With a higher budget of $30 million and bigger star power led by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, La La Land visually stunned wth fantastic set designs and lighting. Nominated for 14 Academy Awards, it won six of those including Best Achievement in Directing and Cinematography. The catchy tunes of the soundtrack delight and can easily draw a particular mood out of the audience when intended to. The film keeps pace with any classic musical but throws you a curve ball if you expect the typical happy ending, but also unconventional as a death is not the cause of the heartbreak. We’ve all imagined “what if” in our lives, the alternate reality musical ensemble ending will invoke that thought once again whether you like the film or not. Excellent acting, solid love story, extremely well produced film all around. I’m sorry La La Land, you were robbed.

What do you think 2017’s Best Picture was? Let us know below!

Craig Joseph Pisani is an avid moviegoer and aspiring screenwriter with Bachelor’s degrees in both Cinema and English.