The historic Academy Awards error was an embarrassing moment for all parties involved. But worse, since then, Moonlight and La La Land have been indefinitely chained together. Even Variety Magazine, who traditionally release a cover featuring the winner following the awards, printed a cover starring both the Moonlight and La La Land directors, sparking controversy. Director Barry Jenkins has finally been able to share the speech he had intended to give had he won, and much like the film, it is an inspiring piece which urges people to believe in and love themselves.
“To anyone watching this who sees themselves in us”, he writes, “let this be a symbol, a reflection that leads you to love yourself. Because doing so may be the difference between dreaming at all and, somehow through the Academy’s grace, realizing dreams you never allowed yourself to have. Much love.”
The beautiful coming-of-age movie, which documents the life of a young black gay man, is one which is only too relevant in our post-Trump dystopia, yet it has almost been robbed of its rightful praise due to the mix-up, and in turn, the power of its message. With Moonlight being only the second black film to win an Oscar (the first being about slaves), it’s important to remember what makes it so great. Here is the full short statement Barry Jenkins hoped to have made:
“Tarell[Alvin McCraney] and I are Chiron. We are that boy. And when you watch Moonlight, you don't assume a boy who grew up how and where we did would grow up and make a piece of art that wins an Academy Award. I've said that a lot, and what I've had to admit is that I placed those limitations on myself, I denied myself that dream. Not you, not anyone else — me. And so, to anyone watching this who sees themselves in us, let this be a symbol, a reflection that leads you to love yourself. Because doing so may be the difference between dreaming at all and, somehow through the Academy's grace, realizing dreams you never allowed yourself to have. Much love."