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I wish just one reviewer would actually focus on the merits of Moonlight as a film. Pretty much all of the analysis from it’s release through this past weekend has focused on it being “small budget” and being about a “gay black boy” and showing an area “never shown on film”. Meanwhile La La Land is criticized for basically not having a political/social motive at its core.

Shouldn’t Best Picture go to the “best” film, and not just the most prescient/socially conscious? I don’t mean to imply Moonlight was a poor film or undeserving, but there has been virtually no analysis of the actual film itself. Only a discussion of what it “represents”.

If it’s truly so amazing to have an inexperienced director make a diverse/unique film, why hasn’t there been much discussion of Lion (a film starring an Indian/Australian cast from a novice director)? The film received nominations but was entirely absent from the awards discussion.

And if a movie needs to speak to modern times, why did Patriot’s Day get no love from the Academy? (A story of radical terrorism, patriotism, civic duty, and what it means to be an American).

I just feel that film critics (and the media at large) decided early on to make La La Land versus Moonlight the sole focus of the awards season, and then divided people into camps designed to pit the movies against one another. Furthermore, those camps weren’t guided to compare the acting/directing/storytelling of the films, but to compare the “importance” and “diversity” of a film like Moonlight versus the “classic” and “privileged” nature of a film like La La Land.

While we can praise Moonlight’s small budget and lesser-known cast, shouldn’t we also acknowledge the massive tailwind the film received from a media obsessed with gender identity and the promotion of diversity? It seems that La La Land’s biggest flaw was that it starred white people and didn’t focus on social issues.

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