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Oscars 2017: Movies, Candy & Politics

This year’s Academy Awards expanded upon the usual focus of cinematography, musical performance and fashion. Along with celebrity appearances, Host Jimmy Kimmel’s consistent sarcasm and emotional acceptance speeches, the theatre filled with politically charged comments that calmly, but quite directly referenced infamous actions by none other than President Donald Trump. While some celebrities expressed their solidarity silently, wearing gowns by Muslim designers or sporting blue ribbons in support of the American Civil Liberties Union, others chose to be more vocal. For anyone who missed the show, here’s a recap of some of the most significant (and even some humorous) political quotes from the 89th Academy Awards ceremony.

1. Jimmy Kimmel’s opening monologue 

The host wasn’t afraid to get a little political, first addressing the divide that exists within our country and the world:

“As you know, I don’t have to tell anybody, the country is divided right now. I’ve been getting a lot of advice. It’s time to bring people together. You have to say something. Let’s just get something straight off the top. I can’t do that. There’s only one “Braveheart” in the room, and he’s not gonna unite us either.” (@ Mel Gibson)

Next, he boldly called attention to last year’s Oscars controversy:

“I want to say thank you to President Trump. I mean remember last year when it seemed like the Oscars were racist?”

Kimmel concluded his opener by poking fun at Meryl Streep, who Trump previously defined as “over-rated” after she quote-on-quote “attacked” him during her Golden Globes acceptance speech:

“And of all the “great actors” here in Hollywood, one in part has stood the test of time for her many uninspiring and overrated performances… Meryl Streep has phoned it in for over 50 films over the course of her lackluster career. This is Meryl’s 20th Oscar nomination… Everybody please join me in giving Meryl Streep a totally undeserved round of applause, will you? … Nice dress by the way. Is that an Ivanka?

2. Fake tans > fake news 

In another dig, Kimmel asked anyone from CNN, New York Times, L.A. Times and “anybody with times in their name,” to leave the room:

“We have no tolerance for fake news. Fake tans, we love.”

3. Thanks, Border Control

Kimmel had this to say to French actress, Isabelle Huppert on her nomination as Best Actress for her role in the film, Elle:

“You were amazing in that film and I’m glad Homeland Security let you in tonight.”

4. Asghar Farhadi’s absence 

The Salesman won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, but its director notably decided to miss the event. A statement explained the Iranian winner’s reasoning:

“I’m sorry I’m not with you tonight. My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of other six nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S. Dividing the world into the ‘us’ and ‘our enemies’ categories creates fear, a deceitful justification for aggression and war. These wars prevent democracy and human rights in countries which have themselves been victims of aggression.”

5. No ban, no wall 

During his time on stage as a presenter, actor Gael Garcia Bernal took the opportunity to criticize Trump’s wall:

“As a Mexican, as a Latin American, as a migrant worker, as a human being, I am against any form of wall that wants to separate us.”

6. Where’s Trump? 

Talk about adding salt to the wound. About halfway through the show, Kimmel took to Twitter to question Trump’s whereabouts:

“We’re more than an hour into the show and Donald Trump hasn’t tweeted at us. I’m starting to worry about him.”

He proceeded to tweet “Hey u up?” and “#Merylsayshi” at POTUS. We all await the Twitter storm that is sure to come…

7. Moonlight shines 

Director Barry Jenkins and original playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney both used their acceptance speeches for Best Adapted Screenplay to remind immigrants and the LGBTQ community that they are cared for:

Jenkins says, “And 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 over the next four years we will not leave you alone. We will not forget you.”

And McCraney, “This goes out to all those black and brown boys and girls and non-gender conforming who don’t see themselves… So thank you, thank you, this is for you.”

With presidential jabs, flying candy, surprised tourists, Matt Damon insults, a game of “Mean Tweets” and presenting the award for Best Picture to the wrong film to end the show, it’s sure to say that the 2017 Academy Awards will be remembered for years to come.

Courtney is a Pop Culture Blogger for Her Campus National and contributor to the Her Campus Marist College chapter. She graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Communications, is an avid feminist and eventual professional journalist.
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