The Spokesman

What did you miss at the Oscars? Well, a lot.

Brandon Tejeras, Outreach Editor

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The Oscars have come and gone, with many memorable and astounding moments worth looking at. From solidarity in protest to quirky and humorous reflections on past awards ceremonies, the 90th Oscars will go down as one of the most notable in Hollywood’s history.

 

The 89th Oscars, in concurrence with the beginning of the Trump White House, featured some of the fiercest and rousing moments in all of Oscar’s history. So, one would expect that roughly a year into the new presidency, this year’s would follow suit. Yet while there were subtle and sly signs of frustration this year, they did not compare to last year’s more astounding displays.

 

From the Best Foreign Film going to an Iranian director, a counterpunch to Trump’s controversial travel ban, to sporting blue ribbons, symbolizing solidarity with the ACLU, there were many moments of impassioned rebellion against the Trump Presidency. But this failed to hallmark the 89th Oscars ceremony. The bit garnering the most buzz was, of course, the La La Land and Moonlight mishap. Hollywood staples Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway slipped up in the most hilarious and controversial way possible, naming La La Land the winner of Best Picture when it was Moonlight slated to win officially. The Oscar mishap was readily laughed off, but this year’s Oscars proved a substantial departure from the politically-charged, protest-filled Oscars of the past.

 

The Time’s Up movement, originating within the walls of Hollywood with Harvey Weinstein, was a rallying movement at this year’s Oscars ceremony. Many in attendance, from the winner of Best Director Guillermo Del Toro to the oh-so magnificent Jane Fonda, sported signature Time’s Up movement pins on the red carpet in a show of support for the movement to hold predatory men in Hollywood and elsewhere accountable. Sam Rockwell also sported this pin while walking the red carpet for his movie Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

 

Another form of subtle political protest was the orange pins. These bright orange and white American flag pins are the creation of Everytown for Gun Safety, an organization dedicated to promoting gun control legislation and grassroots efforts to stop more mass shootings following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. As many Americans are aware, there exists a significant push by students and young people in general for common sense gun policy reform. And to show support for this noble effort, actors, actresses, and others in Hollywood are sporting these pins and donating money to causes such as the March For Our Lives. The likes of Emma Stone, Oprah Winfrey, and George Clooney are among the A-List celebrities joining the effort.

 

An equally important but slightly less dominant cause was also supported by those in attendance. The devastation still present in Puerto Rico from hurricane Maria was clearly on a lot of people’s minds. Lin Manuel Miranda specifically called on people to “visit Puerto Rico.” He went further to say how the lifeline of Puerto Rico is tourism, so visiting the island is necessary to bring it back online after last year’s devastating hurricane.

 

Beyond the subtle signs of protest on the red carpet and in the theater, the winners and losers of the actual ceremony, the host’s trip to moviegoers across the street, and the fashion trends drew as much buzz if not more than the actual protests.  

Going down as one of the most diverse series of nominations in movie history, the 90th Oscars began their slow departure from the #OscarsSoWhite controversy of the past. The Shape of Water won Best Picture, featuring the second female screenwriter to secure an Oscar in that category since WW2. Winning Best Original Screenplay, Jordan Peele became the first African-American to ever do so for his thrilling movie Get Out. Kobe Bryant also won his first Oscar for his short film Dear Basketball. His film followed a poem Bryant wrote in 2015 announcing his retirement from his first love, basketball. While these are a few of many winners to make movie history, another winner left her own lasting and inspiring moment in Oscars history, Frances McDormand.

 

“And the Oscar goes to…Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri!” was the phrase heard all around the world on that February night. While some saw it as just a win for McDormand, what followed her receiving the Oscar will go down in the record books.

 

Frances McDormand won Best Actress for her role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Not only was her win among the most memorable of the night, but her acceptance speech also received praise and featured a rousing message, bring about more inclusion in films. Starting off by saying “ If I fall over, pick me up cause I’ve got some things to say,” the audience and viewers everywhere were in for a rousing message from the newly minted Oscar winner. Calling on all the female nominees to stand up, she singled out Meryl Streep and said: “if you do it, everybody else will, c’mon.” She emphasized how the amazing women of Hollywood have “stories to tell and projects (they) need to be financed.” Her insistence on “inclusion rider” clauses also hallmarked her riveting speech. The term is a stipulation actors or actresses sign in their contracts asking/demanding a more diverse cast and crew. So, by calling on men and women in Hollywood to fund female works and calling on them to bring more representation to films, Frances McDormand set the standard for Oscars acceptance speeches.

 

There were many historical wins for Hollywood that night,  but some losses of the night left us wanting more. While Gary Oldman took the win for the first time in the Best Actor category for his role playing Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour, many were hoping that the youngest male nominee ever (Timothee Chalamet, who played Elio from Call Me By Your Name) would take home the Oscar. Another dull moment of the night was the loss by Lady Bird director Greta Gerwig. Being the first female ever to be nominated in the category, many in the audience and in front of their tv’s held high hopes for a win for Gerwig. Even though she did not leave the after parties with an award, Guillermo Del Toro’s win for The Shape of Water was enough for now. Being only a few of many nominations to fall short of expectations, the remainder of the Oscars rebounded with the host himself, Jimmy Kimmel.

 

Taking up the mantle as the 90th Anniversary Oscars host, Jimmy Kimmel led the night in pointed, quippy and laugh-out-loud jokes. To say that the Moonlight/La La Land mix-up was still on his mind would be an understatement saying, “This year, when you hear your name called, don’t get up right away. Give us a minute.” Later on, he hoped to strike a more humorous tone in the midst of the #MeToo movement by joking about the Oscar statue himself. Kimmel pointed to the several foot tall statue by saying Oscar “keeps his hands where you can see them, never says a rude word and, most importantly, [has] no penis at all.” While the #MeToo movement remains a serious matter to address in Hollywood and the workplaces around the world, the audience welcomed the light-heartedness of his performance as host.

 

Among the most memorable hosting moments of the night, Kimmel’s trip with fellow Oscars attendees to the nearby TCL Chinese Theater rank near the top. Throughout the night, Kimmel took time to highlight the centrality of the moviegoers to the success of Hollywood and their resulting insistence on producing more and more notable movies, but this thankfulness climaxed when he took a few other A-List celebrities to the nearby theater. Handing out candy and goodies with the likes of Gal Gadot, Margot Robbie, and Lupita Nyong’o to those attending a showing of A Wrinkle in Time, Kimmel announced to the theater their “appreciation for people who go to the movies…So, we wanted to say thank you to the moviegoers.” Those very moviegoers, who continue to demand better and better movies, are the lifeblood of the industry and therefore deserve the praise Kimmel delivered to them in that advanced screening. The last of laughable moments occurred at the tail end of the ceremony. At the beginning of the night, Kimmel promised a jetski, not including Helen Mirren who rode atop the display, to the Oscar winner who delivered the shortest acceptance speech. The new jetski went to Best Costume Designer Mark Bridges for his work in Phantom Thread.

 

It has now been quite some time since the awards, after parties, and the march of the stars down the red carpet, but their movies continue to enthrall us like no other artform before. Captivating audiences with down-to-earth performances of everyday people, taking us to the depths of the human condition and opening up new worlds where the lines that divide us are either erased forever or highlight our own world’s most contentious moments remain the universal effect of the magic of filmmaking. These films push the boundaries of what is expected, what is desired, and what is happening right now. So, go to the movies. Experience someone’s sweat and labor unfold before you and watch one of the winners or nominees. You might come away from it changed fundamentally or thrilled to have entered a world unlike any other.

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What did you miss at the Oscars? Well, a lot.