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Barry Jenkins reflects on infamous Oscars mix-up: 'In the end, it's all just a bit ridiculous'

Kevin Polowy
·Senior Correspondent, Yahoo Entertainment
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Two years after his indie breakout Moonlight ruled the Oscars, Barry Jenkins is right back in the awards race with his stunning adaptation of the James Baldwin novel If Beale Street Could Talk.

Of course, Moonlight’s Oscar triumph was unfortunately and infamously overshadowed by the most shocking moment in Academy Awards history, with Warren Beatty mistakenly reading La La Land as the winner after he was handed the wrong card in a snafu that immediately became known as “Envelopegate.” In a recent interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Jenkins reflected on the bizarre turn of events in which his film was robbed of its proper moment of glory. (Watch above.)

“I just went so deep into work that I didn’t have a chance to process it,” said Jenkins, who started work on Beale Street shortly after the 2017 telecast. “In the end, it’s all just a bit ridiculous. … Getting on the stage or not getting on the stage did not alter the film. The film was what it was way back in August [2016] before it premiered. Same as [Beale Street], it’s what it was before it premiered at Toronto.

“I try to always remind myself of that, because I like to say, ‘Be in love with the process, not the results.’ And the results were bizarre. They were what they were, but they were bizarre. But I can’t be beholden to them. I’m just trying to make stories.”

Jenkins acknowledged that he and La La Land director Damien Chazelle (who is also back in the awards race this year with the Neil Armstrong biopic First Man) will forever be linked in Oscars lore.

“You’re right we’re just linked,” said the filmmaker, who ran into Chazelle while both were doing interviews at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. “When he came offstage, we just hugged, because there’s this feeling. We definitely are fused forever in that very bizarre moment.”

If Beale Street Could Talk opens in select cities Friday, and nationwide Christmas Day. Watch the trailer:

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