From a 5.4 interview between Underground Railroad director-writer Barry Jenkins and Indiewire‘s Zack Sharf on the Best Picture presentation error at the conclusion of the 2.26.17 Oscar telecast, in which Jenkins’ Moonlight was announced as the winner rather than the briefly awarded La-La Land:
Sharf: “Perhaps Jenkins’ biggest issue with the gaffe all these years later is that it perpetuated a false narrative that Moonlight only won Best Picture because the Academy wanted to honor a Black film.”
Jenkins: “‘In a slightly sinister way, the fuck-up confirms or affirms some people’s unsavory thoughts about why the film was awarded Best Picture. If you did the blind taste test of films and wrote down all the accolades this film achieved that year, whether it be the ratings, the reviews, all of these things, [then Moonlight wins]. If we were at the NFL Combine, and I tell you, ‘This player has these measures and was drafted number one,’ you wouldn’t doubt it at all.
“And yet, when you get into ‘Oh, it’s because it was the Black film’…it’s like no, motherfucker. We ran a [4.2 second 40-yard dash], and we ran it barefoot because we didn’t have the benefits of all that private school Academy training.'”
Four years ago Spike Lee said the opposite — that Moonlight won not because “it was the Black film”, but because of an organizational need to refute #OscarsSoWhite:
Spike Lee to Variety, 6.21.17, starting at :37: “I will put my money on this. The reason why what happened at the Oscars this year [i.e., during the 2.26.17 Oscar telecast, when Moonlight was belatedly announced as the Best Picture Oscar] was because of the year before [with] #OscarsSoWhite. I mean, that was a bad look for the Academy, and they had to switch up with more inclusion, more diversity.”