Ahhh.. The Oscars.. That time of year when Hollywood royalty get together for a collective groan at the world and turn into a multi-billion dollar political movement for one night only. Looking at the event leaves me with a few burning questions; what role does the Oscars really play in society and why can’t they just ignore politics and make the Academy Awards about movies again?
Why can’t they just ignore politics and make the Academy Awards about movies?
Heavily criticized last year for having no black nominees, the Academy swiftly changed tact and nominated one of the most diverse selections of artists ever seen. Sounds good, but aren’t they just heeding to populism? A bit like that orange guy they all despise so vehemently?
This year, amongst the politics and out-of-touch mutual whining and groaning, they even gave the award for the best picture to the wrong team. After the #OscarsSoWhite fiasco of last year, where only white people were allowed to win, this year the academy got it #OscarsSoWrong as the cast of Blah Blah Land pranced onto the stage to read their acceptance speeches, only to discover they hadn’t really won. Moonlight was the real winner.
Some of the ‘best’ moments:
The bleary eyed Faye Dunaway must have been half asleep as she mispronounced Moonlight as La La Land:
It turns out that Dunaway and her co-presenter, Warren Beatty, were given the wrong category envelope; so the actors announced the wrong winner, leading to the wrong filmmakers to begin their acceptance speeches for an award they hadn’t actually won. But, it took several minutes for the Academy Awards producers and accountants to rectify the mistake and get the actual winners onstage to accept their award.
It all started when Beatty opened the envelope to read the winner for best picture. He looked confused, took a long pause, and then glanced at Dunaway, who clearly thought he was doing some sort of bit. “You’re impossible!” she said, as the crowd laughed nervously. “Come on!” Beatty handed the envelope to Dunaway, who announced: “La La Land!” As cameras cut to the cast and crew of “La La Land” hugging, Beatty could be heard saying something like, “It says Emma Stone,” while Dunaway said, “What?”
Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali became the first Muslim man to win an award for his role in Moonlight, and whilst his performance was very good, he did only feature in about the first 15 minutes of the movie. Mahershala Ali is a great actor and he was very good in this excellent movie, but he only had a bout 5 lines of text.
The award for best makeup went to Suicide Squad, one of the most savagely critiqued movies in living memory, where people only went to the cinema to see how bad it actually was (it was awful).
If you go in with the knowledge that it will be horrible, you might actually be able to enjoy it without feeling too disappointed. I can at least promise that it will hold your attention. You know, like a trainwreck. A very sparkly trainwreck decked out in mega-edgy fonts.
Denzel Washington clearly wasn’t impressed that he didn’t win:
But to be fair to Denzel, he was beaten by a man facing multiple court cases involving allegations of sexual harrassment and attempted rape.
As of right now, Casey Affleck is poised to join the ranks of Daniel Day Lewis and Jack Nicholson as one of the best actors of his time. Unfortunately, he is also poised to join the ranks of Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, and so many other men accused of sexual misconduct, who are content to let their alleged (and in many cases proven) victims suffer even further in the courts of public opinion.
Nicole Kidman forgot how to clap:
Maybe that’s how they do it in Australia..
Seriously? This clapping image is actually quite haunting…
So why all the politics?
Ben Mankiewicz, a host for Turner Classic Movies, says that actors and actresses tend to use the platform of the Oscars to push their agendas for a very obvious reason: “The Oscars simply get more eyes,” he says. “If you take every single other award show and add together all of the buzz and lasting effect they have on the Hollywood colony, that number only equals one-fifth of the influence the Oscars have. Nobody is talking about who won Best Motion Picture at the Globes in 1997.”
Beyond the glitz and the glamour of the show, there were poignant messages in the speeches made by the winners. Moonlight writer and director, Barry Jenkins, said:
“All you people out there who feel like there’s no mirror for you, that your life is not reflected, the Academy has your back, the ACLU has your back, we have your back, and for the next four years we will not leave you alone, we will not forget you.”
How much money did you raise during the show for inner city kids whose lives are ruined by drugs and violence? Nothing.Yes the Moonlight movie did raise awareness about certain struggles, but praising the creators of the movie is little in the way of relief for people going through the real problems.
Why not do a fundraiser in the middle and show the world that the Academy cares about the world and the problems in it, instead of Justin Timberlake making everyone dance really awkwardly. Why not get a ton of sponsers for the best charitable causes everywhere, or name the awards after charities. Why not do something to make a real difference instead of promoting itself as a righteous group of dissattached, but really rich and powerful, egomaniacs.
The truth is that the Academy had already forgotten about those kids by the time the first martini’s had been ordered at the after party. The Academy Awards is a vile, self-indulgent look at how Hollywood wants to be seen. The players in this odd game are pampered multimillionaires who lost touch with reality and the world around them long ago. The Academy Awards needs a huge change in order to be appreciated as a genuine force for good in this world. Right now, it just isn’t.