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Moonlight Oscar Chaos Amidst Record TV Advert Revenue

27/02/2017 13:18 | Updated 02 March 2017

What was scripted to be a Hollywood ending at the 89th annual Academy Awards turned into chaotic scene from an old slapstick comedy as the wrong film was named Best Picture. Yet it was a measure of poetic justice for the corrupt money based system that drives the honors, where often lesser films are rewarded based on their promotion rather than artistic merit.

For some still curious reason presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway claimed they were given the wrong envelope and called out La La Land, a hyper hyped modern day musical tribute to the Hollywood film industry, when the real winner was Moonlight.

In fact it was La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz, in the middle of his cast's onstage celebration and brief jubilation, who announced Moonlight was the real winner.

La La Land still won the lion's share of gold with six awards at the Hollywood Oscar ceremony in a staged event that almost went according to the script. It earned statues for Best Director Damien Chazzel, Best Actress Emma Stone, Best Song City of Stars, Cinematography La La Land, Production Design, Best Original Music Score.

Up to the last minute all the money was on La La Land to win Best Picture. That's normally the case when a film wins the Best Director Oscar.

But the controversy at last year's event concerning the almost all white slate of nominees spurred resurgence of high quality films dealing with non white subject matter and actors.

Moonlight is the story of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles with life while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami.

In addition to Best Picture, it won Best Supporting Actor Mahershala Ali and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Viola Davis won the Best Supporting Actress statue for her role opposite Best Actor Favorite Denzel Washington in the emotionally charged drama Fences. Yet, Casey Affleck wound up winning Best Actor for his tour de force performances in Manchester by the Sea.

This year's anointed candidate was La La Land, a good film, not a great musical, another example of Hollywood hype to earn more more money for its investors, one of which is TIK Films, a subsidiary of Chinese broadcast giant Hunan Broadcast Intermediary.

Hollywood is drooling over the Chinese these days at the thought of them financing more and more of American movies, and this one in particular is a musical commercial promotion of the the Hollywood itself.

An even bigger Chinese deal was recently announced. Viacom's Paramount Pictures will receive a $1 billion cash investment from two Chinese film companies, Shanghai Film Group and Huahua Media, giving the U.S. studio needed seed money for future projects.

The Wall, starring Matt Damon, currently on release in the West is a big budget CGI filled Chinese blockbuster filmed entirely in China.

As for La La Land, while it had good acting, directing and cinematography, the hype hid the fact it had a lousy ending combing elements of films "The Way We Were" and "The Last Temptation of Christ."

People go to the cinema to be entertained with dose or reality or pure escapism. Patrons paying to see Manchester by the Sea probably know in advance it will be a heavy drama based on tragedy. But, if you pay a few quid to see La La Land, its for an escape into a light hearted boy-meets girl film not a bitter sweet dose of reality that may leave you dissatisfied. This film violated the old musical romance rule...a happy Hollywood ending.

As for the Academy Awards show, it has long been a money making event. Even at last year's show hosted by outspoken Chris Rock and controversy over its uni-racial nominations, it brought in record advertising revenues for the ABC TV network, part of the Walt Disney entertainment conglomerate.

This year those concerns were addressed by four nominated films based on non-white subjects. Yet in the end it doesn't really matter.

You see, after all the speeches, protests and glam after parties, this ever growing back slapping ceremony isn't about art, aesthetics or diversity. It's all about making money. Now largely through media consolidation, of which ABC, owned by Disney Studios, is a prime example.

For some time news and broadcasting networks have been same bed with film studios. There are similar situations with Fox and NBC, all part of multi media conglomerates; incestuous corporate alliances vividly portrayed in the 1989 Oscar winner Network.

The Oscars telecast has the most expensive domestic US TV ads after the Super Bowl, with a 30 second advert spot going for $2 million and a 60% growth in numbers since 2012.
Last year's Oscars brought in $115 million in ad revenue from its 80 commercials, according to a Kantar Media Group study. The ad revenue is nearly equal to the Grammys and Golden Globes combined.

Here again is where the Chinese connection could have an impact. Hollywood now makes as much or money from the international market than from domestic sales meaning the US film industry more and more is courting the European and Asian markets to sell their productions while seeking Chinese money to fund their productions.

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