No Gaffs Here, Telluride Film Fest Wins Big at Oscars – Again

No Gaffs Here, Telluride Film Fest Wins Big at Oscars – Again

Was the award for Oscar’s Best Picture really a surprise (after ugh, the other surprise)? The drum beat started right after the Telluride Film Fest ended: “Moonlight” was immediately in the limelight, critics on their knees over the film. In a recent think piece in the Huff Post, critic Matthew Jacobs asked “What Does It Really Mean to Win Best Picture.” He suggested the 2017 Oscar contest would and perhaps should assume new layers in today’s America. After all, the winners were all made under Obama, but they were duking it out for the Golden Statue under Trump. Did it matter? Should it have? Read on for more about “Moonlight,” Telluride Film Fest, and the results of an Oscar night which made history by rewarding a record-breaking number of black stars.


At the Golden Globes,“La La Land” won BIG, seven Globes. But “Moonlight” won Best Motion Picture, Drama, which was especially heartwarming for Film Fest because director Barry Jenkins got his start in the student program for aspiring young filmmakers. And Casey Affleck (of “Manchester”) won best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama.

Since the Globes, the big question on the table was which way would Hollywood ultimately swing: Would it choose a singing, dancing, tribute to its golden past when movies were Great and times simpler – or movies like “Moonlight,” “Manchester By the Sea,” and “Arrival” which, like “La La Land,” premiered at the Telluride Film Fest 2016, the former all dealing with themes like class, race, privilege, and The Other.

In my review of the 2016 Festival weekend, I said this about “Moonlight”: “However raw and difficult things get, we can’t look away because Jenkins made the smart choice to bathe his story in the cold, harsh light of day. Sunlight dominates ‘Moonlight’: we can run, but we cannot hide from the truth-telling on the screen – not even in a dark, cushy theatre tucked away in a box canyon.”

 New York Times critic and Telluride fan AO Scott loved “Moonlight.” He interviewed Jenkins about his must-see movie, which is poetic, nuanced, and necessary. (Here is a link to AO Scott.)

In our intro to yet another wonderful review curated from the Huff Post last November, we wrote:

“…The hosannas began as soon as “Moonlight” left our box canyon. Below, for one example, is Matthew Jacobs’ rave from the Huff Post entitled “To Be Young, Gay and Black: The Beautiful Importance of ‘Moonlight’.” If you read nothing else, at least check these words in the first paragraph: “…most important thing to appear on the big screen this year.” My prediction: “Moonlight” in the limelight at the 2016 Academy Awards.” (Jacobs’ review here.)

And then writing for The New Yorker, Hilton Als said this: “…I don’t know how Jenkins got this flick made. But he did. And it changes everything.”Als went on to describe the film as free of cliches and “achingly alive.” (Go here to read Als’ moving essay.)

So despite the lollapalooza of a snafu (Price Waterhouse, not Beattie), we were not surprised when “Moonlight” actually walked away with the Big Prize of the evening. Besides, there is a trend: despite the well-publicized fact the directors of the Telluride Film Festival pride themselves in celebrating the art, not the business, of Tinseltown, their instincts are uncanny: the list of Oscar winners that were jump-started in our box canyon include, in no particular order, “The Piano,” “The Crying Game,” Slumdog Millionaire,” “Birdman,” “12 Years A Slave,” “Argo,” “The King’s Speech,” “The Artist,” and on and on….

Three years ago, writing for Awards Daily, Sasha Stone had this to say: “Two weeks from today the Telluride Film Festival begins. It is an exciting time of the year because this festival, more than any other, heralds the arrival of the Oscar race. In the years I’ve been attending Telluride, the Best Picture winner has screened there, either premiering or part of the schedule…”

Oh and in 2016, “La La Land,” the other Big Winner, was screened very early in the 2016 Film Fest weekend.

Here is the rundown of this year’s Oscar winners, who got a leg-up in Telluride:

Best Picture: “Moonlight”
Actor: Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”
Actress: Emma Stone, “La La Land”
Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”
Cinematography: “La La Land”
Direction: Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”
Score: “La La Land”
Song: “City of Stars” from “La La Land”
Sound Editing: “Arrival”
Adapted Screenplay: “Moonlight”
Original Screenplay: “Manchester by the Sea”
Documentary Short: “The White Helmets”

And here is a full list of the awards, curated from the Huff Post:

Best Picture
”Hacksaw Ridge”
”Hell or High Water”
”Hidden Figures”
”La La Land”
”Manchester by the Sea”

Best Director
Denis Villeneuve, “Arrival”
Mel Gibson, “Hacksaw Ridge”
Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”
Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea”
Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”

Best Actress
Emma Stone, “La La Land”
Natalie Portman, “Jackie”
Ruth Negga, “Loving”
Meryl Streep, “Florence Foster Jenkins”
Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”

Best Actor
Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”
Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge”
Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”
Viggo Mortensen, “Captain Fantastic”
Denzel Washington, “Fences”

Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis, “Fences”
Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”
Nicole Kidman, “Lion”
Octavia Spencer, “Hidden Figures”
Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea”

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”
Jeff Bridges,”Hell or High Water”
Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”
Dev Patel, “Lion”
Michael Shannon, “Nocturnal Animals”

Best Adapted Screenplay
”Hidden Figures”

Best Original Screenplay
“Hell or High Water”
”La La Land”
”The Lobster”
”Manchester by the Sea”
”20th Century Women”

Best Foreign Language Film
“Land of Mine,” Martin Zandvliet, Denmark
”A Man Called Ove,” Hannes Holm,  Sweden
”The Salesman,”  Asghar Farhadi, Iran
”Tanna,” Bentley Dean, Martin Butler, Australia,
”Toni Erdmann,” Maren Ade, Germany

Best Documentary Feature
“Fire at Sea”
“I Am Not Your Negro”
“Life, Animated”
“O.J.: Made in America”

Best Animated Feature
“Kubo and the Two Strings”
”My Life as a Zucchini”
”The Red Turtle”

Best Film Editing
”Hacksaw Ridge”
”Hell or High Water”
”La La Land”

Best Original Song
“Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” “La La Land”
“Can’t Stop the Feeling,” “Trolls”
“City of Stars,” “La La Land”
“The Empty Chair,” “Jim: The James Foley Story”
“How Far I’ll Go,” “Moana”

Best Original Score
”La La Land”

Best Cinematography
“Arrival,” Bradford Young
”La La Land,” Linus Sandgren
”Silence,” Rodrigo Prieto
”Lion,” Grieg Fraser
”Moonlight,” James Laxton

Best Costume Design
”Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
”Florence Foster Jenkins”
”La La Land”

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
“A Man Called Ove”
”Star Trek Beyond”
”Suicide Squad”

Best Production Design
”Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
”Hail, Caesar!”
”La La Land”

Best Sound Editing
”Deepwater Horizon”
”Hacksaw Ridge”
”La La Land”

Best Sound Mixing
”Hacksaw Ridge”
”La La Land”
”Rogue One”
”13  Hours”

Best Visual Effects
“Rogue One”
”The Jungle Book”
”Doctor Strange”
”Deepwater Horizon”
”Kubo and the Two Strings”

Best Short Film, Live Action
“Ennemis Intérieurs”
”La Femme et le TGV”
”Silent Nights”

Best Short Film, Animated
“Blind Vaysha”
”Borrowed Time”
”Pear Cider and Cigarettes”

Best Documentary, Short Subject
”4.1 Miles”
”Joe’s Violin”
”Watani: My Homeland”
”The White Helmets” 

1 Comment
  • Katrine Formby
    Posted at 07:24h, 28 February

    Thanks for summing up the Oscars in such a delightful way. So impressive that once again the Telluride Film Festival was loaded with so many Oscar winners.