Circuit Breaker Episode 32: Instant Oscars Reactions Following the Show

Welcome to the Awards Circuit podcast titled “CIRCUIT BREAKER!,” a weekly podcast from AwardsCircuit.com featuring host Clayton Davis along with panelists Sam Coffey, Mark Johnson and Joey Magidson. We discuss movies, television and all the awards shows that need predicting. New episodes are released every Monday. Find us on Twitter at @Circuit_Pod, email us at [email protected], and submit your comments and questions at the bottom of the episode.

On the agenda:

  • An instant reaction of the Oscars ceremony including the mistake heard around the world and what we thought of the winners.  Fair warning: some Awards Circuit staffers are a little drunk.  This takes place just minutes after the ceremony ended.

Comment and send in #CinephileShowdowns, #ChoosetheGold and #ACCircuitBreaker questions in the comment section below!

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About Clayton Davis

Clayton Davis is the esteemed Editor and Owner of AwardsCircuit.com. Born in Bronx, NY to a Puerto Rican mother and Black father, he’s been criticizing film and television for over a decade. Clayton is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association where he votes and attends the kick off to the awards season, the Critics Choice Awards. He’s also an active member of New York Film Critics Online, International Press Academy, Black Reel Awards, and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. Clayton has been quoted and appeared in various outlets that include The New York Times, CNN.com, Variety, Deadline, Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg Television, AOL, Huffington Post, Bloomberg Radio, The Wrap, Slash Film, and the Hollywood Reporter.
  • Joey Magidson

    Passions are running high during this one. Enjoy!

  • Derrick

    This is going to be something to remember and MOONLIGHT making history!

  • NobodyWins

    I’m only two minutes in but, Mark…girl. Everything is gonna be okay.

    I think the preferential ballot helped Moonlight. Despite being a gay, black film it faced no real backlash this season compared to the tons LLL has been facing the past month or so (right in the middle of voting!). Prefential ballot lets a voter vote directly against a film if they wish. LLL probably received a lot more 4th/5th/lower placements than Moonlight, which was probably high even on LLL voter ballots. Plus, there’s always going to be a biased against musicals that hurts it on the preferential ballot. If we had the preferential ballot back then I’m sure Chicago would have lost to The Pianist, for example.

    I don’t think it can be underestimated how much Cheryl Boone Isaac’s efforts at diversifying membership led to this result either. I don’t think La La Land loses an identical race if it happens last year.

    Also, everyone just ignored the SAG Ensemble snub for LLL, but it was a sign that the Actor’s didn’t love it that much and they are the biggest branch of the Academy. All those “It’s a two hander!” arguments were always ridiculous because they’ve nominated small casts before. If they like a film, it gets in Ensemble.

    • I agree with you about ignoring the SAG Ensemble. That was my biggest mistake this year. And I agree with the CBI’s efforts to diversify the Academy and how important that was to do.

    • Julie

      There’s a real dichotomy in the Oscars this year. I keep hearing that the acting performances in LLL were not great, not as good as the musicals of the past, etc. etc. On the other hand, Emma Stone won over strong performances by Natalie Portman and Isabelle Huppert, not to mention the non-nominated Amy Adams. So…

      I think in addition to the political climate, LLL lost because it was dominated by a female, and it was “Brokeback”ed in the sense that people thought it was not the greatest representation of a genre. They thought it was lacking as a classical musical, esp. compared to those of the past, just like “Brokeback Mountain” was considered by what Tom O’Neil calls the “steakeaters” of the Academy to be a poor representation of the classic western as exemplified by the films of John Ford/John Wayne.

  • NobodyWins

    Getting rid of the preferential ballot is a TERRIBLE idea – it allows a film with a relatively small amount of support among the Academy to win BP.

    Between this and the unnecessary ageism directed at Dunaway and Beatty (Beatty clearly realized something was wrong, and Dunaway simply acted too quickly – their being old had nothing to do with anything), Mark is really turning me off this episode, sorry.

  • John

    What’s with the whispering Clayton?

    • Luke McGowan

      It was after midnight and he has young children sleeping

  • MovieManiac14

    La La Land >>>>>>>>>>>>> Moonlight

  • MovieManiac14

    Also, Gravity >>>>>>>>>>>>> 12 Years a Slave

  • Phill Milner

    Boyhood>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Birdman

  • Phill Milner

    Manchester by the Sea>>>>>>>>>>>> Hacksaw Risge>>>>>>>> LaLa Land>>>>>>>>Baby Geniuses >>>>>>>> Moonlight.

    • Julie

      Manchester’s wins were probably my two favorite of the night. I enjoyed the somewhat unexpected Hacksaw and Arrival wins as well (at least I didn’t predict them).

  • AndreTheTurtle

    Once La La Land won, I basically had to leave the house right away because I was meeting some friends for dinner. As I was about to start the car, my brother runs out and yells. “Andre, they pulled a Steve Harvey. Moonlight won best picture!” I ran in to see for myself, and it was one of the craziest things I got to witness. XD.

  • JK3

    I wouldn’t sleep on the fact that “La La Land” didn’t get nominated in the SAG ensemble. Moonlight may have lost it, but at least it got nominated. A nomination shows strong support. And tbh I’m really not surprised that the Actors were colder on La La Land. Are people really going to go to the mat in a couple of years over Emma Stone’s performance? Don’t get me started on Ryan Gosling’s nomination.

    That being said, when black people win things based on achievement, sometimes it’s not about you (white people /Trump).

  • Denise

    Mark is a mess, he needs to calm down. It’s not always about you, white people. There is always some excuse you say whenever a person of color wins. Moonlight is the most critically acclaimed film of the year, it deserved to win just as much as La La Land.

    • It certainly does deserve to win as much as La La Land did. And I’m sorry you took my comments as something racial.

    • Chelsea

      So ridiculous. You are doing the exact thing you are accusing Mark of.

    • Julie

      Commentary like this from Moonlight aficionados is why people get annoyed. I like what Mark said and thought he had guts to go full-throatedly at it when the others were annoyingly taking issue with him and condescending to him. I thought he’d be afraid to say what I found to be self-evident.

      You are very divisive. “There is always some excuse… whenever a person of color wins.” I didn’t hear any commentary about Ali and Viola, and Casey needn’t apologize for having the best male performance of the year by a country mile.

  • Luke McGowan

    Guys lay off mark. We’ve all had our upsets and he’s right to be frustrated, I certainly was when Boyhood and Stallone lost.

  • Randy

    The position that Moonlight won simply because of political reasons is outrageous. It’s not like we are talking about a garbage movie here. Moonlight received widespread critical acclaim. Either La La Land or Moonlight would have made a fine best picture winner, but to say that Moonlight won only because people are reacting to politics is ridiculous. La La Land lost in technical categories like sound mixing, which it was expected to win, which shows that it wasn’t universally loved like some of you claim. (And Moonlight was not up for those technical categories so it’s not like “snubbing” La La Land in those categories would have directly added to Moonlight’s award count.)

    I get it – you resonate with certain movies. A movie about a black gay man from the inner city isn’t going to necessarily resonate with a white person from the midwest. But the power of film is its ability to tell compelling stories, stories that otherwise would not have been told through other mediums. Isn’t that why you all fell in love with film and became film writers and critics? Say what you will, but the story of a black gay man from the inner city is not one that is widely told. It’s an underrepresented story that is told artistically and respectfully in Moonlight. There is an achievement in simply getting a movie like that made and an even bigger deal when the film is made so well. Again, it’s not some throwaway movie. It was the movie that went toe-to-toe with La La Land for most of the circuit. It’s reasonable that it would have won.

    Each time a black film wins, someone will always have an excuse for why it wins, which just shows you that the movie industry, including the people that write about and critique films, manifests a power imbalance. But are we talking about Soul Plane here? No, we’re talking about Moonlight.

    • It’s a great film, no doubt. It was my #3 for the year, and it’s stars – Ali and Monae – finished #1 and #2 on my favorite post I write each year (Breakthrough Performances). I won’t address some of the other comments you made (some fair, some maybe not), but please don’t presume a film about gays or blacks could not resonate with a white male. This story goes well beyond race and sexuality.

      • Randy

        I don’t presume that it doesn’t resonate with you personally; I’m glad you enjoyed the film. Perhaps I should have added “more” (although I thought the qualifier “necessarily” was sufficient to show I’m not talking absolutes.) I’m not trying to suggest that you are biased so I beg your pardon if it came across that way. But, I’m not naive here – I do think at a visceral level, people will gravitate toward certain films, which is why I’m sure La La Land’s loss here felt so personal to you. People criticized the lack of diversity in the Academy because it tended to favor certain movies, which bore out in the the kinds of films it awarded and more basically for the types of achievements it nominated.

        My comment is mostly directed at the narrative that a movie like Moonlight would have been a fine choice any other year but that this year it only won because voters were reacting to politics. I don’t dispute that yes, there were likely some voters that felt more resolute in voting for Moonlight because of the political climate, but to say that is the only (or even main reason) doesn’t seem consistent with the level of admiration of the movie you say you have. And, the fact that La La Land was so heavily nominated and yet walked away with only 6 and without BP isn’t unheard of. There will necessarily be a let down for a movie that has so many nominations; it just won’t win them all (or even most like Lincoln).

        My critique of the podcast is this false dichotomy: La La Land is the best and if voters thought otherwise it’s because of politics. If we are using a standard of reasonableness here, then Moonlight’s win should be applauded. It’s a perfectly reasonable outcome. Again, it’s not like some other movie came out of left field and won this award.

  • Agenor Mark

    Guys (and gal), it’s really hard to listen when 4 people talk at the same time, I gave up after 5 minutes (unfortunately).

    • I understand where you’re coming from on that. It was a pretty heated exchange and everyone was tired and emotional. It did get much more organized after the first little bit.

  • RaulSGama

    I agree with Mark, and if people want to say his coments were racist to disqualify his arguments, they can, it’s just not fair. (just as Jimmy said at the oscars, we should be able to listen to diverse opinnions, otherwise nothing is gonna change).

    It’s not people making excuses for every “black film” (hate this term that separetes us more) to win, neither Moonlight, again, we’re not discussing our taste here, but the academy’s, where Films like Gravity, MadMax and will win in lots of categories, but will never win BP, we know it, and a film like Twelve Years a Slave, is the academy’s taste in every way for it.

    The problem is, no one is denying the quality of Moonlight, but Moonlight supporters suddenly drop all their knowledge about academy’s taste and history beliving the Academy would like it BETTER than LLL.

    The discussion is about taste, we know the academy has shown it’s easy for them to choose something over other for narrative, it’s all about that, for instance: Leo Dicaprio is not their type of actor, he’s not popular, friends with everybody like clooney, he does’t have a career changing story like Mcconaghey. So the Academy waited until it became ugly for them to deny his tallent, so he had a “baity” role and an overdue narrative, to give him the award.

    I find his performance in The Revenant to be the best of that year, but im not gonna fool myself thinking the academy voted for him for that reason instead of the other facts i’ve always knwon to be true.. If they would vote for performance, he would’ve won for TWOWS and so many other times more people agreed he was the best. But they would never give it to him for playing that role and without all the narrative.

    And that’s the point, not that the academy didn’t like Moonlight, but like it better than LLL..

    • Julie

      I will also say that the hatred and snideness of some of the Moonlight fans, the insipid and/or vicious criticism and tearing down of one film to build up another, was really unfortunate and contributed to heated exchanges. For example, one blogger whom I usually enjoy, perhaps even love, said that Jenkins was to Chazelle as Picasso was to paint-by-numbers, which I found to be BS and totally based on demography and politics.

      You took a film I may have wanted to see and made me say “f it.” Nice job. (2nd person you, not RaulSGama)

      • RaulSGama

        Agreed!

        I also want a film like Moonlight to be able to win BP, but i don’t want it to be forced, cause it doesn’t truly represent the academy’s quality and taste characteristics, this win only represents where we are as a society, and how strong negative campaigning and bad militancy actually work, it always happend, but now a days, it’s effective because of the Internet.

        There are two types of people that voted for moonlight aside the ones that truly think it was the BP of the year, the ones that want diversity to be forced and included even in a messy way, and the ones that are “afraid” to “dislike it”, quoting a critic from another Awards Podcast ” – No one would like to be associated as a person who doesn’t like Moonlight”..

        That’s the world we live in today, cause that’s what happens if you disagree with someone about something that has “a social issue” in it’s story.. “racist, misogynistic, homofobic”… Just read what was said about Mark after the podcast..

        That’s the tipe of “passion” we get from people these days, those are images of the “LOVE WINS” people these year..

      • RaulSGama
  • Kevin

    Man, lots of whining in these comments. The podcast was recorded at 12:30 in the morning after a long show that had the craziest ending ever. People were still stunned from the ending. All the talk of, “White people need reasons for a black film to win!!!” is idiotic and pathetic.

    The podcast was also recorded before ANY information came out. All we had was Beatty’s brief explanation that made no sense, and Emma Stone saying she had her envelope the whole time. So yeah, people were jumping to conclusions. Get over it.

  • Chelsea

    To say that someone can’t identify with a movie simply because of their race or assumed sexuality, is ridiculous. I feel like we are so quick to label someone homophobic or racist simply because they don’t like a film, or in this case just prefer a different one – and that really takes away from the conversation about film in general.

    I am a white, bisexual female from the Midwest and my experience growing up, understanding my sexuality, and reconciling my place in the world around me may or may not align me with any part of Moonlight. If I prefer – passionately – a film like La La Land, is that because I’m white? Or is it because I don’t understand the struggle to be LGBT+? If I prefer Moonlight, is that because I’m a bisexual female who grew up in a conservative region and understands the struggle to find yourself while being told you don’t matter? How would you know? To assume or summarize someone’s argument by assigning it a label like racist or homophobic, is a lazy argument to make. And, it’s just as terrible as someone who ACTUALLY makes comments about disliking something based on race or sexuality. Mark did none of those things.

    • Randy

      Thanks for your insights, Chelsea. I think you’ll find that I posted a fair response to Mark below.

      I am not saying that someone is racist or homophobic because they prefer a certain movie. My issue is with the assertion that a movie like Moonlight could not have won but for politics. After listening to the podcast, the message that came across loud and clear to me was this: Moonlight is a worthy BP winner but just not this year, and it’s mainly because of politics. (Can you imagine if we used that reasoning every year?) There are other reasons for its win, which Clayton and Karen pointed out.

      But, the problem is that because of #OscarsSoWhite or backlash against the current administration, films with minority casts or helmed by minority directors and producers will always have some doubt cast on them; that the films’ achievements could only be because of politics. Minority filmmakers will get criticized for pointing out structural racial imbalances within the Academy (like Ava DuVernay), and at the same time, the community’s achievements will also get minimized because of politics. So, damned if you, damned if you don’t. That’s a shame.

      • Chelsea

        I think the same can be said for anyone who disagrees with a win like this for any reason. You are automatically charged with being racist or homophobic…or making it “about you white people” as someone *so* eloquently stated below. It’s simply not at all what Mark was doing, and I find it incredibly troublesome that accusations like that are so freely thrown around. (Not meaning you, just in general.)

        I appreciate the response, Randy.

        • Julie

          strongly agree with this. STRONGLY.

  • Manning Franks

    Joey is right! The ones where you guys disagree are always the most entertaining, even with angry, drunk Mark.

    • Joey Magidson

      It’s true. We always try to analyze as much as possible, but when passion comes out, it makes for better radio, as it were.

  • Joey Magidson

    Let me quickly say something. Anyone who is making any assumptions about what’s in Mark’s heart clearly doesn’t know Mark. Clayton, Karen, Sam, I, everyone on the site, our politics are rather left of center, not that it’s anyone’s business. What we have here is a situation that’s less about race and more about perception, politics, and how everything in life has become divisive. In any year where this would have happened, the people who essentially got teased about the winner would be stung. It’s just unfortunate that this year, it put a damper on Moonlight winning. As I said at the beginning, this win should be about everything we champion here. The little guy emerging victorious and showing the Academy can evolve. The issue is that it’s clearer this year than in most past years that there was the possibility of other, non cinematic, factors at play. People vote politically all the time, it’s just heightened now due to the Presidential election. If you listen to the conversation (though I agree, argument is probably the right word), not once is race as quality factor brought up. No one who preferred La La Land did it because it was the “white” contender, just like no one who preferred Moonlight did so because it was the “black” contender. The talk of political factors is that Mark and others saw the vote as partly a statement against Donald Trump. In politics, yes, race is a factor. Here, it’s just that there’s a preference for less “being of the moment” and more just focusing on what the majority believes the best of the year is. Remember, almost everyone on the site loves both films nearly equally, and in most cases, prefers Moonlight. Any assumptions that there’s an agenda here for myself, Clayton, Mark, Sam, anyone, is just misguided and misplaced.

    Thanks for listening. Thanks for reading. Thanks for being there this year. Hopefully you’ll be right there with us next year!

  • Cornelius Buttersby

    I don’t know about the other comments here but this was a great podcast. It was hilarious and entertaining and it was one of the most passionate film discussions I’ve ever heard – which is exactly what you want from a film podcast. Although there were a few barbed jokes, the discussion felt pretty civil and respectful to each other and each other’s rights to contrasting opinions. I hope next year is as contentious as this one was.

    • Joey Magidson

      Much obliged.

  • Steve

    I enjoyed hearing this podcast with everyone and their reactions right after the win. I’m now looking forward to ACCA 1993. Some of my favorites that got 0 Oscar nominations are Rudy, Carlito’s Way, Groundhog Day, Dazed and Confused, The Sandlot, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Three Colors: Blue.

    Performance Showdowns:

    Casey Affleck in Manchester by the Sea or Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant
    Emma Stone in La La Land or Brie Larson in Room
    Mahershala Ali in Moonlight or Mark Rylance in Bridge of Spies
    Viola Davis in Fences or Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl

    Choose the Gold:

    Adapted Screenplay 2006

    Borat
    Children of Men
    The Departed
    Little Children
    Notes on a Scandal

    I still choose The Departed, but I think all 5 nominees deserved it.

    • Julie

      For these performance showdowns, I’d choose Casey Affleck, Brie Larson, Mahershala Ali (didn’t see the performance, though), and Viola Davis.

  • Ryan

    Cinephile Showdown:

    Moonlight OR Boyhood
    Mrs. Doubtfire OR Tootsie
    3:10 to Yuma OR Girl, Interrupted
    Roxanne OR The Jerk
    The Ring OR Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl