By Lizbeth Galeno Contributor
To say that there was a spotlight on the Oscars this year in light of the current social turmoil would be an understatement. It’s been three years since the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite called out the Academy for their lack of racial diversity. Additionally, the recent #MeToo and Time’s Up discourse in Hollywood called out how sexual misconduct in the industry proves there is a dangerous power imbalance.
Many discussions in the recent years have focused on representation for women and people of color. However, it seems that while some efforts were made for people of color, little was done in terms of gender representation.
There are some notable moments. Jordan Peele’s win made him the first black man to win an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Guillermo Del Toro, a Mexican filmmaker, won two awards for “Shape of Water.” Several moments celebrated Latino culture —“Coco” won two Oscars and actors Lupita Nyong’o and Kumail Nanjani spoke about standing with Dreamers. There was even a short film montage encouraging people of all colors and genders to create films.
Are these highlights enough? The answer is given when actress and comedian Maya Rudolph assured anyone who thought the Oscars were “too diverse” that, "There are many more white people to come tonight."
The majority of the Academy remains male and white. It should be of no shock that despite those aforementioned highlights, the majority of this year’s winners were male and white.
To add to the discrepancy between hopes for diversity and the Academy’s efforts, a measly six women won awards this year, as opposed to the 33 male winners. Actresses Emma Stone and Sandra Bullock both took shots at the lack of female inclusion, bringing up the fact that Greta Gerwig was the only woman nominated for Best Director. Gerwig’s “Lady Bird” is the story of a teenage girl’s difficult high school life and the complicated love-hate relationship with her mother. It is one of the best reviewed films ever. While the Academy can pat itself on the back for the nomination, the film and its director won nothing.
Another setback involved awarding Gary Oldman and Kobe Bryant, two men who have been accused of abuse. It begs the question of how much is really being done to support women in the Hollywood industry. Harvey Weinstein was shamed and excommunicated from the Academy, but what good is it if they only punish one but not the rest?
It’s fair to give the Academy some credit. It’s also fair to say that they’re just not there yet. Still, there’s a light to look forward to. In her speech, this year’s Best Actress winner, Frances McDormand encouraged creators to incorporate “inclusion riders.” An inclusion rider is a contract that film crews and casts can use to demand realistic demographics and representation. Now, it’s up to the filmmakers to create more stories, while we wait to see if next year the Oscars will celebrate these stories and progress with society.
Offended at the Oscars?
By Brianna Castro Contributor
Celebrity comments about gender equality, racial inclusion and more recently, gun control, have shown our society is slowly progressing, but conservative media believes a politicized Hollywood is a bad idea. The 90th Academy Awards in particular took a major hit from conservative critics recently.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the editor-in-chief of the Breitbart News radio show, Alex Marlow, accused Hollywood and the mainstream media of “hypocrisy,” claiming that this was the most “divisive Oscars ever” and that “politics were around every corner.” However, it’s not the winners that offended Marlow. Instead, he claimed, “what was offensive was [...] the obsession with race, the obsession with ethnicity and sexual orientation.”
The awards ceremony is not the only institution receiving backlash from Marlow for being “hypocritical” when standing for equality. Earlier this month, popular conservative media sensation and talk show host Tomi Lahren slammed Hollywood on Twitter, stating, “I’m guessing there won’t be armed security outside of the Oscars tonight...we know Hollywood wouldn’t be that hypocritical or anything. Oh. Wait.” So why are celebrities and award shows like the Oscars being hit with such criticism? The answer is simple.
Hollywood is an easy target. It symbolizes a place where people can be whatever they want to be, create whatever they want to create and most importantly, express themselves to a wide audience. It’s a giant community of artists who depict the world how they see it, whether people like it or not. Hollywood’s messages reach everyone in the world.
Therefore, isn’t Hollywood the best place to politically express yourself? One would think they have every right to do so. Obviously, conservative media would not, but it won’t stop it from happening. Conservative media can criticize as much as they want. Hollywood, and the rest of the people who believe in human rights and want to express it, will keep doing so.