On Monday, Oscars winners Damien Chazelle and Barry Jenkins had an exclusive joint interview with Variety. Te day next to the Oscars the awarded directors sat to discuss the previous night and it’s beautiful.
In the delightfully fresh interview, they discussed their experiences making the awarded movies. Also, each other’s work as well as what’s next for them and what they expect to leave to the industry.
A beautiful mess bringing people together.
The 89th Oscars ceremony was a pretty legendary one and its ultimate moment was the epic fail at the moment of delivering the most anticipated award of the night, Best Picture. Due to a mix-up of the winners’ envelopes, presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced the wrong best picture winner and gave the Oscar to “La La Land,” when the actual winner was “Moonlight.”
As confusion reigned on and off stage the mistake was mended and the rightful winners took the stage to take their award. In a joint interview Damien Chazelle and Barry Jenkins, directors of “La La Land” and “Moonlight” respectively, reflected on the epic moment and found the beauty on it.
They both considered it a beautiful mess as the epic mistake turned into a touching display of solidarity and empathy among contenders and colleagues, something they both considered is pretty needed. Barry Jenkins said “You have these two groups of people who came together for a second. That’s what the moment was.”
Familiar with each other, and each other’s work.
“La La Land” and “Moonlight” directors are no strangers, they met at Telluride Film Festival, in Colorado. In that opportunity, they got to see each other’s work and their path crossed.
In a funny turn of events, each one found in the other’s work a beautiful sense of longing and connection. Barry, an LA native, found himself longing for his home after seeing Chazelle’s “La La Land.” While Chazelle was stunned by Barry’s “Moonlight.” They both were familiar with each other’s previous work and even discussed it and wished the best luck.
Making history on their own.
The epic moment on Sunday night was historic, yeah, but these two made history on their own as well. Chazelle became the youngest director winner ever, while Moonlight became the first LGBTQ film from a black director/writer to win best picture.
Regarding this Barry said, “I will be glad when all these firsts and thirds and fifths are a thing of the past, so it’s bittersweet. But it’s not something you set out to do. I don’t think Damien set out to be the youngest winning director. You kind of just create the work. These things just happen, until they don’t.”
Dream on dreamers.
They also discussed how success can be reflected in their careers. Barry expects it doesn’t change the way he approaches the work. Chazelle said “We hope it changes things for the better, in the sense that it gives us more freedom. But there’s always that fear that it changes things for the worse — that pressures or second-guessing creep in.”
The “La La Land” director invited people to dream by saying, “Any student of film history can look at various examples of ‘too much, too soon.’ We’re cognizant of that. But so many of the filmmakers that inspired both Barry and I have never won an Oscar, or were never nominated. So you have to keep that in mind. This only means so much.”