Sunday was the night of the 90th Academy Awards, more commonly known as the Oscars. In previous years the Oscars have been accused of being too white, not showing enough diversity and this year one big topic was sexual harassment, Times Up –movement and gender equality. Even though in January a lot of women wore black to the Golden Globes, this was not the case for the Oscars, but there were still strong demonstrations for equality.
The host of the night Jimmy Kimmel pretty much covered all the burning issues in his opening monologue. Not five minutes into the show Kimmel brought up the Times Up –movement. He talked about how Harvey Weinstein had been expelled from the Academy last year after several women came forward saying he had sexually harassed them. Kimmel also stated that what happened with Weinstein “was long overdue. We can’t let bad behavior slide anymore.” Kimmel continued to say that the Academy can set an example in stopping sexual harassment. He also brought up the wage gap between men and women and mentioned super hero movies, especially Wonder Woman and Black Panther which have both been huge hits. They are the first super hero movies starring women and minorities. Overall, his monologue was about positivity and how the world is changing for the better.
Gender equality was visible also in the nominations. This year for the first time a woman was nominated in cinematography, as Rachel Morrison got the nomination for the movie Mudbound. Greta Gerwig was nominated for best director for her movie Lady Bird. She is the first in eight years and only fifth ever female nominee in this category. She was also nominated for best screenplay for the same movie. When the nominees for the best director were presented, Emma Stone further emphasized Gerwig’s nomination by saying “these four men and Greta Gerwig created their own masterpieces this year.”
As expected, many speeches mentioned the Times Up and Me Too –movements. The most powerful speech of the night must have been the one given by best leading actress winner Frances McDormand. In her thank you speech McDormand asked all the female nominees from all categories to stand up with her.
“Look around ladies and gentlemen. Because we all have stories to tell and projects we need financed”, she said and encouraged everyone to come meet with the women in their offices to talk about their ideas and projects. The change in attitude could also be seen on the red carpet, where the first question women got asked wasn’t “Who are you wearing?” This was not the case few years ago.
There were also smaller demonstrations of feminism, like when Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph walked on stage wearing slippers and carrying their high heels.
But the equality in Oscars is not limited to equality of genders only. A couple of years ago #oscarssowhite was trending, pointing out the lack of diversity in nominations. This year we saw many African American nominees, winners and presenters, such as Daniel Kaluuya and Denzel Washington, nominated for best leading actor, Mary J. Blige and Octavia Spencer, nominated for best supporting actress, Blige was also nominated for best original song for Mighty River from Mudbound.
Also Hispanic countries were celebrated when Guillermo del Toro won the Oscar for best director for his movie The Shape of Water and the new Disney movie Coco won in two categories, best animated feature film and best original song. The best original song winner, Remember me is made by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. As they too celebrated the Mexican culture in their speeches, Anderson-Lopez also pointed out that the category “is not only diverse, but also close to fifty-fifty gender representation.”
And last but not least the best live action short film was won by The Silent Child which is about a deaf girl. Not only that, but Rachel Shenton gave her thank you speech also in sign language.
The Oscars are definitely becoming more equal each year, but there’s still ways to go before the movie industry itself reaches equality.