As usual full disclosure I didn’t watch the Oscars live. I saw the highlights as they happened on twitter and let other people’s reactions tell the story. I got pretty much all the highs (Viola Davis and Mahershala Ali 😎) and lows (Not Denzel 🙄) and when it came to the end the cynic in me was resigned to accept what I knew was coming, then hope came and punched me in the face. Moonlight won yesterday, and even though I’ve written before that I love that movie, it occurred to me after I closed my laptop last night that I’d never gotten in depth about why in a post. I’m rectifying that now:
When I go grocery shopping or hang out with my friends/family I don’t go outside and have too much trouble presenting to the world a girl who wears all black, wigs, and dark makeup. Occasionally I’m conscious of where I’m going and adjust accordingly, but overall whether I’m make up-less or full on Elvira I am what I am physically. Mentally on the other hand I don’t always feel so free. Meeting new people is almost never a fun thing for me and when I’m not at home talking about myself feels like a bore for just about everyone involved. I’ve lived a fairly sheltered life growing up in a suburb in New Jersey. Though my parents are divorced I still see them both regularly (my mother because I still live with her), and most would see my house and think I’m well off (from a lower middle/middle class perspective). Yet in spite of all that I relate heavily to Chiron a character who grew up in both Miami and Atlanta in an atmosphere that wasn’t nurturing to a kid like him, because we’re both closed off. I can count the people I consider my friends on one hand, and I only need three fingers to show just how many people I think know me best.
To help paint that picture, there’s a scene in the last arc of the film where Chiron mentions that he doesn’t drink alcohol and states that he doesn’t really taste it as an excuse. Now the film never offers a concrete explanation for this, but from a personal perspective, and using what we know of him as a character I believe he’s afraid of being drunk. The stereotypical drunk slurs their words and tells people all their secrets and that’s what he fears. He doesn’t like the idea of losing control and that level of vulnerability and neither do I. Many people frame drinking in the context of having a good time, but for people like us there’s no loosening up to that level, at least not around just anybody.
I’ve hinted at my reasons for being this way on here (though I may have slipped it in more blatantly in another post, I don’t remember), but around this time last year I officially identified as bisexual. This morning for the first time I told my mother that, and she understood. Years ago while I was still learning about the LGBTQA+ community and what that meant my mother commented that she didn’t believe an actress who’d said she was bi, really was and that she was just messing around. It’s possible that I internalized that, however both my mother and I have come a long way since then. Her understanding is pretty much the platonic equivalent of Chiron seeing Kevin again for the first time.
By the end of Moonlight (spoiler kind of) the audience leaves Chiron with a sense of hope that he’ll finally be able to be his true self without barriers, aka the bits of himself that were closed off due to societies pressures and a lack of emotional support. I was only able to see this movie once in theaters, but my sister can tell you that I probably talked about the film for days/weeks afterwards. The minute I could buy it on iTunes I did. After my second viewing I couldn’t think of a single reason that it should not win the Oscar. It was important not just because it effected me, though that is a part of it given that I am a queer black person, it also very clearly effected a lot of different people and was treated with a lot of care. You don’t have to believe me when I say that representation matters, because facts are facts and they show that it does. This win was honestly a move I was not expecting, and dare I say it I’m actually really interested to see what happens next for both the cast and crew, and for the movie industry. Film is a medium I enjoy, but can acknowledge has a racist history (*coughs* Birth of a Nation), which is why to see it move forward like this gives me a deep level of satisfaction that is a bit hard to describe. Definitively I can say congratulations Moonlight, good lord did you deserve it ✌🏽
Also I guess this is my tag line now, but ‘Stay Informed’ and I’ll be back Friday with demons I guess.