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Last night’s Oscar bizarreness was not just bizarre but bizarre in a way that is typical of this entirely bizarre time. The rhythm of the yes-they-won-oh-my-God-no-they-didn’t event, with “La La Land” replaced by “Moonlight” as Best Picture, was weirdly like that of . . . Election Night. First, a more or less expected, if “safe,” result was on its way—though Hillary Clinton never got all the way to the stage, so to speak, the result did seem safely in hand at 7 P.M., according to the polling—and the expected and safe people were ready to deliver their touching but obviously polished pieces. Then the sudden confusion and visible near-panic of people running around in the background of the stage, with the same slightly horrified spirit that one felt on Election Night as shocking results began emerging from the exurban counties in Florida. Then, yes—can this be happening?—the revised and unexpected result.
In this case, obviously, the result was positive to all but the poor “La La Land” producers, with their earnest and spouse-approved speeches already delivered. “Moonlight” was no Donald Trump of cinema, and obviously a popular favorite. (Though there are those of us who found its beautifully photographed sentiments a bit, well, sentimental.) But the rhythm of the night was disconcertingly the same, and the sheer improbability of the happenstance scarily alike. Nothing like this has remotely happened before. This wasn’t just a minor kerfuffle. This was a major malfunction. Trump cannot be President—forgetting all the bounds of ideology, no one vaguely like him has ever existed in the long list of Presidents, good, bad, and indifferent, no one remotely as oafish or as crude or as obviously unfit. People don’t say “Grab ’em by the pussy” and get elected President. Can’t happen. In the same way, while there have been Oscar controversies before—tie votes and rejected trophies—never before has there been an occasion when the entirely wrong movie was given the award, the speeches delivered, and then another movie put in its place. That doesn’t happen. Ever.http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/did-the-oscars-just-prove-that-we-are-living-in-a-computer-simulation