Times trio keeps losing votes: Stephanie Merry got it right in today's Washington Post. Like quite a few others, she noted the dignified, decent way members of the Moonlight and La La Land camps handled Sunday's Oscar snafu.
In Merry's telling of the tale, La La Land's Jason Horowitz comes off as the star of the show. As we pick up, Horowitz is calling Moonlight up on stage to accept the award he'd been mistakenly given:
MERRY (2/28/17): “I’m going to be really thrilled to hand this [Oscar] to my friends from ‘Moonlight,’ ” he said.Horowitz has gone on to be exceptionally gracious and complimentary in other settings about his "friends from Moonlight." That said, if you want to enjoy more behavior of that type, we'll strongly recommend Mahershala Ali's session with the press corps that night.
Horowitz wasn’t just a gracious loser; he became the closest thing the Oscars can get to a folk hero.
It’s funny, right? Because what he did wasn’t exactly revolutionary. He told the truth even though it was difficult and awkward and embarrassing, because he had just stood in front of the world and thanked his friends and family for an award that wasn’t his.
Horowitz could have slunk offstage and let Kimmel and Warren Beatty continue to fumble through an explanation.
Instead he did the dirty work with what looked like pride, sticking around to hug his friends from “Moonlight.”
This kind of behavior shouldn’t be all that exceptional, but truth has been hard to come by lately...
Ali took questions for fourteen minutes; he was exceptionally sane, dignified, decent. In response to one question, he praised the relevance of La La Land, then explained how he felt when the mistake was announced?
ALI (2/25/17): You know, Moonlight—excuse me, La La Land has done so well, and it's resonated with so many people, especially in this time when people need a sense of buoyancy in their life and need some hope and light?We're going to quote Ali again at the end of this post. But we strongly recommend watching the tape, especially for those who like Sane and Decent.
So that film has really impacted people sort of in a very different way than Moonlight. And so when their name was read, I wasn't surprised, and I was really happy for them. It's a group of some extraordinary people, in front of the camera and behind the camera. So I was really happy for them.
And then, when I did see security or people coming out on stage and their moment was being disrupted in some way, I got really worried. And then when they said, you know, Moonlight was—Jordan Horowitz said, "Moonlight, you guys have won," it just threw me a bit.
It threw me more than a bit! But, I just didn't, I didn't want to go up there and take anything from somebody, you know? And it's very hard to feel joy in a moment like that, you know, because somebody else—just in front of them.
But I feel very fortunate to, for all of us to have walked away with the Best Picture award. It's pretty remarkable.
Meanwhile, in today's New York Times, we thought we saw the Same Old Thing playing out again. How do we liberals keep losing votes? It seemed to us that Dargis, Scott and Morris—the amigos 3—were again conducting a master class in the familiar old practice.
The three Times critics discussed the lessons we can glean from Sunday's awards. Below, we'll remind you of the way they conspired to lose votes in connection with last year's Oscars. For now, we invite you to search their current transcript, in which they engage in the type of mandated discussion which gets widely denounced as "politically correct."
We've never used that politicized term ourselves. That said, it's getting harder and harder to ignore the pseudo-liberal behavior which gets mocked in that way. We were struck by the cluelessness on display at various points, but this remark by Wesley Morris screamed out for political translation:
MORRIS (2/28/17): While this was an important night for nonwhite and non-American filmmakers and actors, American movies continue to be appallingly bad for female filmmakers. Meanwhile, the major studios are out to lunch—or at the bank...That “Moonlight” won doesn’t excuse anything. What happens the next year, or the year after, when it’s #OscarSoWhiteAgain?Yes, darlings! The major studios are "at the bank!" So is a substantial portion of your own "news industry."
Meanwhile, ponder the highlighted comment. Ponder the way a steady stream of comments like that actually costs liberals votes.
With 12 Years a Slave in 2014 and now with Moonlight, the Academy has now picked a "black-themed" film as Best Picture in two of the past four years. That said, many people will read Morris to have said something like this:
If some other type of film wins next year, we'll start our complaining again.
Perhaps that isn't what Morris meant. As far as we know, Morris is a good decent person. We would be extremely surprised if that weren't the case.
That said, our tribe issues casual, vote-losing comments like that with relentless frequency. Other people hear these comments in the way we've described. We can't really say that such people are wrong in what they think they hear.
We say that because we remember what the three amigos did last year, in January 2016, after last year's Oscar nominations were announced. In a colloquy in the Times, they assailed the racism of the Academy, focusing on various nominations which didn't get made.
Here was the problem:
Two weeks earlier, the Times' film critics had issued their own choices for Oscar nominations. This produced one of the phoniest moments we've ever seen in the national press.
On January 15, there were Dargis, Scott and Morris, R-bombing the Academy for, among other failures, having failed to nominate Straight Outta Compton and Creed for Best Picture and Best Director awards. And yes, they seemed to do just that. Just review the things they wrote and said that day.
But uh-oh! Two weeks earlier, on December 30, Dargis and Scott had listed their own five choices for nomination in each category. Here's the problem:
Neither Dargis nor Scott had nominated either film in either category! Neither had Stephen Holden, the third film critic who took part that day.
Did you follow that? On December 30, none of the Times' film critics recommended the films in question for Best Picture or Best Director nominations. Two weeks later, the Academy reached the same judgments—and the three amigos told the world that these snubs reflected the Academy's snarling racism!
It's hard to believe that people will do such things, but that's part of what the amigos did last year. During this awards season, they've been back with their standard scripted blather about the various major films, right up to Morris' worried remark this morning.
Our liberal tribe works extremely hard to lose votes in such ways. Meanwhile, we'll recommend the sanity of Mahershala Ali again, thinking of the answer he gave to a question about his five-day-old daughter:
REPORTER: Congratulations on everything, especially being a father.Our team tends to be soft on Decent and Sane. To our eye, they look like strong suits for Ali, and perhaps for some others around him.
ALI: Thank you.
REPORTER: You're welcome. Now this is a time capsule. What would you tell, what would you like to tell your new daughter right now, in this world? Your fatherly advice?
ALI: Just pray to be guided to your excellence. [Pause] That's it.
La La Land and Ali: In some way, was La La Land about Ali?
According to the leading authority, he got his bachelor's degree from St. Mary's College in his native (Northern) California. After graduating in 1996, he landed an apprenticeship at the California Shakespeare Theater.
One year later, he enrolled in NYU's graduate acting program, earning his master's degree in 2000. At that point, he began his acting career.
Was La La Land about people like this? We almost wish someone had asked!