For what seems like months, but is probably only weeks, we have been hearing that "La La Land" was going to win the award for best picture at the Oscars. Then some people started going on about "Moonlight" and "Lion" and "Fences" and "Hidden Figures" and goodness only knows what else. Now, I have seen none of these films, although I have seen certain clips from most of them umpteen times over. So I am not best qualified to comment on any of them but it does strike me that it is hard to decide which is the best picture of a variety of types.
How can you say that a musical is better than a serious drama is better than a film about real events is better than a comedy is better than a film with a political message? Which do you prefer: ham or fruit or cheese or ice-cream? Well, it depends on what stage of the meal I am at. And surely the same goes for films and books and music winning awards.
Personally I am not desperately keen on musicals. The music has to be good. "West Side Story" and "The Blues Brothers" work well for me. i am sure that Abba fans love "Mamma Mia". I have been assured that "La La Land" is not so much a musical as a film with some decent music in it. That may well be so. Some friends who have seen it loved it while others said it was not worth all the hype.
Anyway, the Oscars ceremony arrived and it was announced that "La La Land" had won the award for best picture. Except that then ... it was announced that it had not in fact won. "Moonlight" had won the award. So the award had to be made again. It was all a mix-up by the organisation that counts the votes. The wrong envelope was given to the award presenter. So the "La La Land" people were all excited and delighted and then disappointed. And the "Moonlight" people were disappointed and then excited and delighted but with the edge taken off. Their big moment had effectively been stolen. Apologies are being made all over the place - to film crews, to actors, to presenters, to the audience, indeed to all the world!
Yesterday I listened to Katherine Grainger, or Dame Katherine Grainger to give her her full title, on Desert Island Discs. She talked about having her rowing team having won the silver medal in a world championship competition I think or possibly the Olympics. She and her team wept at having come second best, feeling that they had worked really hard but had not been good enough and had let people down. And then, some time later, the gold medal winners were found to have been involved in a doping scandal and were stripped of the medal. The Great Britain team moved quietly up to gold. But it wasn't the same.
All right, the change in medal status was reported in the papers but, as Katherine Grainger said, they were not awarded it up there on the podium. They were robbed of their moment of glory. And, equally, if not more, importantly, their supporters didn't get to see them receive the gold medal. All of them missed their moment in the sun.
And there must be some of that for the "Moonlight" team. The tinsel-town tinsel was a little tarnished. The land of fluff and froth got it wrong.
Now, I wonder if the organisation who counted the votes had anything to do with counting our referendum votes or the USA presidential election votes.