'Moonlight' Director Still Hasn't Gotten Over Last Year's Oscars Mix-Up

Barry Jenkins says the history-making gaffe "made 2017 a very long year."

A year has passed since the extremely awkward Academy Awards moment when presenters mistakenly named “La La Land” as 2016′s Best Picture. Although “Moonlight” ultimately emerged victorious, director Barry Jenkins still hasn’t gotten over the shock.  

Jenkins told the Hollywood Reporter that the history-making Oscars flub made him question whether or not “Moonlight” was, in fact, the evening’s real winner. He said he was so “distraught” by the way his film’s win played out at the ceremony, he continues to have a difficult time celebrating its success. 

“I wasn’t sure that thing was mine or who it belonged to because of how everything happened,” he revealed in a Feb. 23 discussion with fellow black Best Director nominees John Singleton, Lee Daniels and Jordan Peele. “It’s bittersweet because when that switch happened, I didn’t enjoy it ... And it made 2017 a very long year.” 

The director said he’d come to terms with his film’s loss even before presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway erroneously announced “La La Land” as the winner. 

“For two minutes, we lost,” he said. Pointing to his forthcoming film, “If Beale Street Could Talk,” as well as a new series about the Underground Railroad he’s developing at Amazon, he added, “And in those two minutes, I was still self-satisfied because I knew I’m going to go off and do these things, you know? Winning or losing is not gonna take any of those things off the table.”

Jenkins stressed that he didn’t make “Moonlight” — which depicts a queer, black latchkey kid’s sexual awakening in the Miami projects and was unanimously praised for humanizing marginalized voices — for “the awards conversation.”

The experience, however, has him somewhat jaded by the prospect of future nominations.

“I’m never going to get the opportunity to enjoy that — because even if it happens again, it won’t be the same,” he said. ”‘Moonlight’ was a very special film for me.”



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