Oscars 2018: From immigration to #MeToo and gender parity, all the issues the event covered

Kuhu Singh

Mar,05 2018 14:57:13 IST

If one doesn’t count the # this and # that — starting with the powerful #MeToo to #TimesUp, #ChangeTheRatio and #HereWeAre (the gorgeous Twitter TV spot that presented and supported voices from powerful women from the entertainment and tech industry), the 90th Academy Awards (or Oscars 2018) at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles was pretty much business as usual.

The glitter (the stage was bedecked with hundreds of Swarovski crystals), the glamour, the best dressed, the prized Oscars — you wouldn’t know that the last few months, weeks and days have not been business as usual! Unlike the previous year, there was no mention of the tantrums of the Trumps (though Kimmel did take a jab or two at Vice President Mike Pence when talking of the movie Call Me by My Name), the NRA’s full-frontal assault on the anti-gun lobby (except for rapper Common’s amazing performance) nor the recent Florida school massacre (there were orange pins and buttons for your lapels and gowns, ladies and gentlemen!). “We make movies and magic” was the mantra with which these Oscars were designed and with which it ran the entire night.

90th Academy Awards - Oscars Show - Hollywood, California, U.S., 04/03/2018 - Presenters Lupita Nyong'o and Kumail Nanjiani. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson - HP1EE35064CEM

Oscars 2018 presenters Lupita Nyong'o and Kumail Nanjiani. REUTERS

But alongside the glam and the glory, #MeToo was present — from the red carpet to the stage. There was some sprinkling of symbolic as well as literal representations. The immensely talented and hilariously funny Jimmy Kimmel opened the night by taking the bull by its horns and addressing the culture of sexual harassment and gender inequality at work places. And what’s an Oscar without a little political action? Very, very little but still…the feisty Planned Parenthood president Cecil Richards as well as Black Lives Matter activists were in attendance. Lin-Manuel “Hamilton” Miranda spoke about a call-for-action on Puerto Rico — the country Trump doesn’t think needs help after the hurricane devastation of last year. And The Shape Of Water's Best Director winner Guillermo Del Toro touched on immigration as did actors Lupita Nyong'o and Kumail Nanjiani, who called out to Dreamers, saying “We are immigrants” and "We stand with you".

When Ashley Judd, Annabella Sciorra and Salma Hayek walked together on stage, you knew something big was going to happen and it did – a video presentation on the importance of diversity, inclusion and gender inequality. Speaking of gender inequality, it remains a fact — like that nose on your face — in every industry, and Hollywood notoriously so. While Black actors have gained considerable attention in recent years, women directors (after Kathryn Bigelow’s big win for Hurt Locker in 2009) have remained low on the radar — thus, #ChangeTheRatio. Many in the audience chuckled and clapped when last year’s best actress winner Emma Stone described the Best Director nominees as “four men and Greta Gerwig”. Mudbound co-writer and director Dee Rees was the Black woman to be nominated in the adapted screenplay category, Rachel Morrison the first woman to receive an Oscar nomination in the cinematography category. One of the best moments at the Oscars included Jane Fonda and Helen Mirren walking in together to present the Best Actor award — truly priceless!

With the fall of the seemingly infallible Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, the movie industry has been racked with #MeToo, led by Rose McGowan, Mira Sorvino and Ashley Judd who first spoke up about serial harasser Weinstein. Had some of these women not spoken up time and time again, Larry Nassar would not be serving 150 years in prison or other similarly powerful men in media, business, politics, sports and entertainment. Steve Wynn, LA Times editor Ross Levinsohn, Al Franken, Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer…the list is unending. The anti-sexual harassment legislation in California could be reality soon.

Until then, the best takeaway from this year’s Oscars — the Best Actress category winner Frances MacDormand for the movie Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri calling on ALL women nominees to stand up and “be seen”. “Look around, everybody," MacDormand said. "Look around, ladies and gentlemen, because we all have stories to tell and projects we need financed.”

Updated Date: Mar 05, 2018 14:57 PM