Oscar turns 90

The 90th Academy Awards focussed on inclusivity and history

By on March 6, 2018

The Quinnipiac Chronicle
The 90th annual Academy Awards, or the Oscars, stunned audiences with its noticeable inclusivity and sense of nostalgia.

Jimmy Kimmel hosted the Oscars on March 4. The show opened in black and white, the same way it began 90 years ago. His opening speech was focused on the history of the Oscars, the importance of the movie industry and the people in it—a theme he kept coming back to throughout the night. Kimmel made sure the focus stayed on that theme, making light-hearted jokes, but never going too far over the top. The biggest joke he made was about giving away a jet-ski for the person who gave the shortest speech.

Kimmel’s laid back attitude was comforting when most award shows tend to be overly focused on being as political as possible. That’s not to say he didn’t reference some important issues we’re facing right now in the United States including sexual harassment and the #MeToo Movement. For instance, Kimmel referred to the Oscar statue and why everyone in Hollywood loves it.

“Oscar is the most beloved and respected man in Hollywood. And there’s a very good reason why,” he said. “Just look at him. Keeps his hands where you can see them. Never says a rude word and most importantly, no penis at all. He is literally a statue of limitations, and that’s the kind of men we need more of in this town.”

Inclusivity was also a major theme of the night. In the past the Oscars have been criticized for its undiversified list of nominees and winners in each category. The trending hashtag #OscarsoWhite in 2017 expressed the disappointment in the lack of diversity amongst nominees and winners. This year, it was much different.

Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph addressed the phenomenon while presenting the short-film Oscars.

“We are so happy to be here but a little nervous too, because a few years ago people were saying that, ‘Oscars were so white,’” Rudolph said.

Rudolph then mentioned that since then there has been a lot of progress made to take back that statement.

“But when we came out together we know some of you were thinking, ‘Are the Oscars too black now?’” Haddish said.

Rudolph then commented on the true lack of change in the Awards.

“But we just want to say, ‘Don’t worry,’” Rudolph said. “’There are so many more white people to come.’”

This year the Oscars did honor many diverse artists, including Jordan Peele, who is the first African American to win “Best Original Screenplay” for his movie “Get Out.” Another winner was “Coco” for “Best Animated Film,” where producer Lee Unkrich thanked Mexico for the win during his speech.

“‘Coco’ would not exist without your endlessly beautiful culture and traditions,” Unkrich said. “With ‘Coco’ we tried to take a step forward toward a world where all children can grow up seeing characters in movies that look and talk and live like they do. Marginalized people deserve to feel like they belong. Representation matters.”

The most talked about acceptance speech, however, was Frances McDormand’s win for “Best Actress,” for her role in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” bringing it back to the empowerment of women.

“If I could be so honored to have all the female nominees in every category stand with me in this room tonight,” McDormand said. “Look around ladies and gentlemen, because we all have stories to tell and projects we need to be financed… I have two words to leave with you tonight, ladies and gentlemen, ‘Inclusion rider.’”

Kimmel, however, wanted to do more to honor the people who go to the movies. So, he grabbed famous stars including Gal Gadot, Mark Hamill and Lupita Nyong’o and walked over to the theater across the street where a group of people were seeing a first screening of Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time.” The audience was stunned when the celebrities walked in with snacks and finding out that they were on the Oscars.

“We were talking about our appreciation for people who go to the movies, and that is you guys,” Kimmel said.

The Oscars even went on as to making history for presenters. Daniela Vega is the first transgender individual to present an award at the Oscars.

“Thank you for this moment,” Vega said. “I want to invite you to open your hearts and your feelings to feel the reality, to feel love. Can you feel it?”

Honoring 90 years, timeless actors and actresses like Eva Marie Saint and Rita Moreno presented awards, adding to the sense of nostalgia. Emotional montages of past movies and past winners were also shown during important moments of the night— including before presenting the awards for “Best Supporting” and “Best Actor and Actress.”

Major winners of the night included Allison Janney for “Best Supporting Actress” for her role in “I, Tonya,” “Best Supporting Actor” Sam Rockwell for his role in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” “Best Actor” Gary Oldman for “Darkest Hour” and “The Shape of Water” for “Best Picture.”

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About Lindsay Pytel

Associate Arts and Life Editor