'Representation matters' a resounding message at 2018 Oscars ceremony
The 90th Academy Awards were a quiet appreciation of just how much has changed in the film industry, and how much still needs to change.
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It wasn’t just films vying for the spotlight at the Oscars Sunday evening.
Diverse voices of all kinds took centre stage.
But unlike the night of the Golden Globes, with its laser focus on sexual harassment and #TimesUp and its rousing political speeches — Oprah's was so intense that people mused that she would run for president — the 90th Academy Awards were a quiet appreciation of just how much has changed in the film industry, and how much still needs to change.
“Marginalized people deserve to feel like they belong. Representation matters,” Coco director Lee Unkrich said in his acceptance speech for Best Animated Feature. The cartoon, which features an all-Latino cast, follows a 12-year-old Mexican boy’s adventures in the Land of the Dead, a central part of the culture many say has been demonized by the president.
Host Jimmy Kimmel set the tone with an opening speech noting that disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein was only the second person ever to be booted from the Academy, after some guy who passed around tapes of Seabiscuit before it was released. He praised Oscar himself — he of the statue — for being the ideal man, because he keeps his hands where everyone can see them.
Kimmel encouraged the audience to use their platform to draw attention to the #MeToo, #TimesUp and #NeverAgain movements, as well as pay equity.
Since so many people were expected to make political statements, he offered a $17,000 jetski as a prize for the shortest acceptance speech in a mock Price is Right-like segment with a gown-clad Helen Mirren serving as eye candy.
From racially conscious horror sensation Get Out, for which Jordan Peele won best original screenplay, to tender gay coming-of-age tale Call Me By Your Name, stories that don’t usually get told are having a moment.
Lupita Nyong’o and Kumail Nanjiani dropped a note of support for DREAMers, while Salma Hayek and Ashley Judd — both, they say, victims of Weinstein’s misconduct — introduced a mini-documentary on the diversity on display at the Oscars.
Rapper Common’s freestyle off the top of Stand Up For Something, his Oscar-nominated song with Andra Day from the film Marshall, gave love to the people of Puerto Rico and decried the NRA for being “in God’s way.”
It was a night of firsts: Rachel Morrison is the first woman to ever even be nominated for cinematography, for her work in postwar epic Mudbound.
Allison Janney won her first Oscar from her first nomination, for her role as a working-class skating mom in I, Tonya.
Greta Gerwig, a double-threat nominated both for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for her Lady Bird, is the first woman to be nominated for her directorial debut. (Only one woman, in 89 years, has ever won best director — Kathryn Bigelow, for the Hurt Locker, in 2010.)
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