With the Golden Globe Awards mainly defined by the #MeToo movement, the 90th annual Academy Awards ceremony highlighted diversity and representation in film achievements. After the #OscarsSoWhite controversy in 2016, Hollywood has attempted to make honoring the year’s best in the industry more inclusive. There is still some progress to be made, but this year’s Oscars did not play it safe.
In his opening monologue, host Jimmy Kimmel didn’t hold back with political jokes and jabs at Harvey Weinstein, who was expelled from the Academy. He also made it clear that this night was about positivity and inspiration. “This year, we have a lot to celebrate. Ceilings have been shattered,” said Kimmel.
One of the most noteworthy moments of the evening was the film montage devoted to the importance of representation. The montage was moving and focused on what it means for everyone to be able to watch movies and identify with someone like themselves. Kumail Nanjiani summed it up best by saying, “Some of my favorite movies are by straight white dudes, about straight white dudes. Now you can watch my movies and relate to me. It’s not that hard. I’ve been doing it my whole life.”
Nanjiani’s other memorable moment was when he took the stage with Lupita Nyong’o to present the award for Best Production Design. Nanjiani and Nyong’o, who are both immigrants from Pakistan and Kenya respectively, briefly spoke about the Dreamers, stating that “dreams are the foundation of Hollywood.”
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“Coco,” the Disney/Pixar film that takes place in Mexico, received the award for Best Animated Feature. Daniela Vega became the first openly transgender person to present onstage. Vega starred in the Chilean film, “A Fantastic Woman,” which received Best Foreign-Language Film.
Another landmark moment was Jordan Peele winning Best Original Screenplay for his film “Get Out,” making him the first black screenwriter to win this award. Peele was also honored with nominations for Best Director and Best Picture. However, “The Shape of Water” took home Best Picture while sweeping up three other awards, including Best Director. In his acceptance speech, Mexican-born director Guillermo del Toro introduced himself as an immigrant and addressed issues of diversity and inclusion. “The greatest thing that art does, and that our industry does,” said del Toro, “is erase the lines in the sand when the world tells us to make them deeper.”
One of the most talked-about speeches of the night was Frances McDormand when she won Best Actress for “Three Billboards Outside of Ebbings, Missouri.” In solidarity, McDormand asked all of the female nominees to stand so they could be recognized for their contributions to the industry.
It may have just seemed like another night of Hollywood congratulating itself, but the awards show’s attempt to strike a progressive note did not go unnoticed.