INTERSECTIONALITY CELEBRATION! Hollywood Picks Boring Black Gay Love Story For Best Picture


On Sunday night, Moonlight shocked America by defeating heavily-favored Best Picture competitor La La Land.

It won for one simple reason: those in Hollywood decided that intersectionality should defeat Hollywood self-aggrandizement this year.

Here’s the thing about Moonlight: it’s not a particularly good movie. It’s interesting in the way that all character studies are interesting. It’s a look at a place and at a time and at a person. But it doesn’t truly uplift or soar or do much of anything, actually. It won because the Academy voters preferred not to hear another year of griping about #OscarsSoWhite and because those same voters could feel good about supposedly slapping Donald Trump in the face with diversity. It’s no coincidence that an Oscars ceremony that opened with Kimmel tweaking President Trump — “Remember last year when it seemed like the Oscars was racist?” – ended with the Academy giving the Best Picture Oscar to Brokeback Inner City Miami.

This isn’t to say there can’t be a great movie made about a black, gay coming of age story. There can. But this movie wasn’t great.

This isn’t the first time the Academy has bowed to political correctness rather than quality, of course. And this year’s Oscar battle featured two battling Hollywood priorities: honoring itself, and honoring the most politically correct picture of the year. In recent years, this battle has become nearly the entirety of the Best Picture race. In 2014, Hollywood rewarded its own importance with Birdman instead of the far superior Whiplash or American Sniper; in 2013, Hollywood rewarded the rather forgettable 12 Years a Slave instead of Gravity or Dallas Buyers Club; in 2012, Hollywood gave an Oscar to Argo – yay, Hollywood does foreign policy! – instead of Zero Dark Thirty or Lincoln; in 2005, Hollywood held its largest PC-off in a Best Picture fight between Brokeback Mountain, Crash, and Munich (Capote was a better picture than all three).

One of the reasons Hollywood no longer rakes in the big bucks other than on tentpole features is that it sees the only profound movies as those that center on intersectional concerns – upholding the virtue of identity politics – or the importance of art itself, rather than movies that tell stories people actually want to see.

La La Land is a far better, more watchable movie than Moonlight. But there were at least three other movies this year that were better than either: Hell or High Water, Arrival, and Hacksaw Ridge. And that doesn’t include what I thought was the most entertaining flick of the year, 10 Cloverfield Lane. Unfortunately for those pictures, they weren’t concerned with black gay children or the wonders of Hollywood. If somebody makes a movie about a half-black, half-Native American bisexual transgender trying to make his/her way in Hollywood, you can hand them the Oscar now.

This is how you know Hollywood is dying: instead of telling particular stories with general appeal, Hollywood tells stories that appeal only to themselves. They reassure themselves of their importance every year, either by making movies telling them how important they are, or making movies trying to show how important they are by taking on The Issue Of The Day™ in after-school special fashion. It doesn’t make for good entertainment. Which is why television, which actually tells stories rather than getting hung up on the self-important nonsense of the movie industry, now outranks the movie industry in terms of quality.