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« What Does Tom Hanks Have to Do to Receive Another Oscar Nomination?| Main| "Nocturnal Animals"Posters »
Friday
Sep 09 2016

A Brief Note on Moonlight's Oscar Buzz

Nathaniel R reporting from the Toronto Film Festival

I'll need more time to processMoonlight,a stunning triptych about a black gay man named Chiron at three stages in his life (played by Alex R Hibbet as a child,Ashton Sanders as a teenager,and Trevante Rhodes as an adult).A full review then is yet to come.Barry Jenkins' film inspired by the play "In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue"is beautifully calibrated to explore its central theme of finding your identity.It provides no easy answers as to how to do that and no simple catharsis which could make it a difficult sell.If anyone is up to the task it's the distributor A24 who will platform release the film beginning on October 21st.

As to the reductive topic of all the Oscar buzz,I am uncertain.Yes,it's going to be a huge critical success and some people's favorite of the year.Barry Jenkins has most definitely announced himself as a exciting formidable writer/director.Yes the cast is performing the material gorgeously particularly Mahershala Ali as a complex father figure to Chiron in the first act,and Trevante Rhodes who pulls all the Chiron's together with heartbreaking interiority in the last act.(Of note: Naomie Harris as Chiron's drug-addicted mother is the only actor to appear in all three chapters but she's impactful each time).But,how to put this...it's definitely an art film that's going to work best for audience members for whom identity politics resonate (*raises hand*).It's also a double minority story about being black and gay.

Juan (Mahershala Ali) teaches Chiron (Alex R Hibbet) to swim in Moonlight's first chapter "Little"

Oscar is,rather infamously,a majority instution if you get me.They normally need some "in"for LGBT or black stories,in the form of an already renowned director for the former or a famous historical event or famous actor in celebrity bio or some such for the latter.We'll see.

I repeat: If anyone is up to the task it's the distributor A24!

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Reader Comments (17)

Brad Pitt produced the movie.He'll certainly campaign on its behalf.

September 9,2016 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

fingers firmly crossed!

September 9,2016 | Unregistered Commentersfenton24

They normally need some "in"for LGBT or black stories,in the form of an already renowned director for the former or a famous historical event or famous actor in celebrity bio or some such for the latter.

Nat,considerBoys Don't Cry(two nominations,one win) andPrecious(six nominations,two wins).And I guess you're saying that Ang Lee was the reason forBrokeback'ssuccess (eight nominations,three wins)?

Then again,you did say "normally...";-)

In any case,I can't wait to see this!

September 9,2016 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

This is the film I am most dying to see during the upcoming film awards season,and I can definitely relate to one aspect of the identity politics.Tired of films that are being made just to gain Oscar prestige.

September 9,2016 | Unregistered CommenterBlueMoon02

Boys Don't Cry would seem to be the most salient example above.It had no one truly famous producing,directing,or starring,and it was truly an "event"performance from Hilary Swank that hit the zeitgeist and got it in the conversation...Though I'd argue the film deserved even more attention for the writing,directing,and performance by Peter Sarsgaard,for example.

Precious had Oprah putting it out there and Mo'Nique (already famous) in another event performance.Brokeback had Ang Lee,Heath Ledger,and Jake G (ALL already famous) and a classical structure and familiar romantic tragedy angle to draw on.The "heartthrob goes gay and turns out to be a great actor"angle has always worked.

My worry for recognition with this one is that the greatness seems very diffuse,with no obvious,unambiguously great element through which to channel the awardage.I'd put my money on Naomie Harris for a supporting actress nod,though,if anything...Longtime quality actress plays crack addict mother in acclaimed art film?Yup.

September 9,2016 | Unregistered CommenterAdam Keller

Wait,they're releasing on 10/23?Why on a Sunday?

This is my second most anticipated movie of the fall with LA LA LAND as my #1 of course.

September 9,2016 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

Glad a movie is tackling that particular subject matter with skill and thoughtfulness.Oscar can lag behind.It's one of those "who cares about Oscar situations"like Carol last year.

September 9,2016 | Unregistered CommenterTony T

I don't understand why the Oscars are so reluctant to acknowledge LGBT films,亚博主页peaking in Carol's snubs last year.Thank goodness for the expansion of the Academy.

September 9,2016 | Unregistered Commenterbeyaccount

I have not seen any major review mention Harris.

September 9,2016 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordon

I'm happy that people are loving this film and hopefully it turns into the critical push for the year.Someone we need to remember helping this type of film is oscarssowhite.亚博主页

I'm just excited the film is great and between this and Luke Cage I'm hoping Ali can break out because it was so sad to be him be washed for years on HOC.

September 9,2016 | Unregistered CommenterEoin Daly

Cannot wait to see this!!

September 9,2016 | Unregistered CommenterMichael R

Cannot wait to see this!!

September 9,2016 | Unregistered CommenterMichael R

EOIN - what is HOC?

Ryan T -- my bad.i'll fix.

September 9,2016 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

what is HOC?

House of Cards

September 9,2016 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

Agree 100% with this.Specially the part about it becoming a favorite for many.It's already mine,can't wait for it to open so I can see it again.And again.

September 10,2016 | Registered CommenterMurtada Elfadl

I believe it is Ashton SANDERS vs.Chanders.

September 11,2016 | Unregistered CommenterTyson

TYSON - thanks.fixed.

September 11,2016 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

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