How ‘Moonlight’ could win Best Picture Oscar: It’s time

In our forums, poster GusCruz is contemplating a potential path for victory for Barry Jenkins‘s acclaimed indie drama “Moonlight,” which has already won two Critics’ Choice Awards and been nominated for six Golden Globes and three SAG Awards. “La La Land” is still the heavy favorite for the Best Picture Oscar according to our racetrack odds, but GusCruz says “Moonlight” could win if the academy is reminded of one important fact: “In nearly 90 years, no African-American director has EVER won Best Director.”

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In fact, only three black directors have ever even been nominated: John Singleton (“Boyz n the Hood,” 1991), Lee Daniels (“Precious,” 2009) and Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave,” 2013). That’s even fewer than the number of women who have been nominated for Best Director (four), and we all know how underrepresented women have been in that race. None of those directors won — though McQueen did claim Best Picture for “12 Years” as a producer of the film.

“12 Years a Slave’s” Best Picture victory was partly driven by the acknowledgment that black films and filmmakers have been under-rewarded throughout Oscar history. A famous “For Your Consideration” ad for the film even told the academy, “It’s time.” But following its victory came two consecutive years of exclusively white acting nominees, prompting an #OscarsSoWhite online protest the prompted the academy to pursue significant demographic changes to its predominantly white and male membership.

Dish ‘Moonlight’ with Hollywood insiders in our notorious forums

And in the current political climate there might be an even greater incentive to get ahead of the curve, especially when you also consider the film’s LGBT subject matter; the academy notoriously turned its back on “Brokeback Mountain” in 2005. Adds GusCruz, “By Oscar night, we will be a month into the Trump presidency. There will likely be happening protests all over the country. Will the academy really break for escapism over zeitgeist? … Yes, I know that [‘La La Land’] is easier to watch, less divisive. So appeared to be ‘Boyhood’ at first. This doesn’t feel like a good time for the academy to play it safe, though, does it?”

What do our other forum posters think of this scenario? Read some of their comments below, and join the discussion in our forums.

Oscars 2017: ‘La La Land,’ ‘Manchester by the Sea’ & ‘Moonlight’ dominate early precursor awards

clay bryce: “Like what you had to say but, unless something very, very major happens (at Nate Parker epic proportions) ‘La La Land’ is winning Best Picture and Best Director. Nothing is coming close to upsetting it. Nothing.”

Bee: “If the Academy would finally have some sense, they would give this everything. Especially Best Picture. It would be one of the most deserving winners of all time.”

Philip: “I think that the gay issue is much harder for those older voters. We aren’t that far removed from ‘Brokeback Mountain’ and maybe that makes me a little biased, but until they actually award a film about a gay male lead, I don’t think I would ever predict it.”

PJ Edwards: “‘Moonlight’ definitely has a path [to victory]. It’s now a question whether it will fulfill it. I could win Drama Globe + Director, SAG, and DGA. As we saw just last year, PGA is not the be-all-end-all anymore so even if ‘Moonlight’ loses it to ‘La La Land,’ it still has got a shot.”

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Be sure to make your Oscar predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how this film is faring in our Oscar odds. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before nominations are announced on January 24 at 5:00 am PT/8:00 am ET. Be sure to read our contest rules. And join in the fierce debate over the Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.

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