What do the Oscars represent? Rich people awarding themselves for doing their jobs? White men pretending to be in-tuned with any culture other than their own? Entertainment for the masses? In a way, the Oscars do represent all these things, but last night showed that the Oscars can mean so much more.
What we saw at last night's Oscars ceremony broke boundaries and promised a bright future for the next generation of filmmakers. It celebrated the art of women and people of color, it gave awards to films that embraced minorities and represented differing cultural experiences, and it promised to continue on this trend towards diverse representation and cultural inclusion in film. I want to believe the wind of change that has hit Hollywood and the film industry this year will progress and we will see more Lady Bird's, Get Out's, The Shape of Water's, and Black Panther's (the only superhero movie I can get behind... and, Wonder Woman, too, of course) in the years to come. If this year in film taught us anything, it's that white male led films aren't the only films that can be critically and financially successful.
Proudest moments of the evening: Jordan Peele becoming the first black man to win the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, Guillermo del Toro showing the love for those who need their stories heard, Lupita Nyong'o and Kumail Najiani speaking out for the dreamers and the inclusion of immigrants, the Times Up movement receiving the care and attention it deserves, Frances McDormand dedicating her win to all the female nominees (who were horrendously scarce when stood up like that) and demanding that equality happens now, and the Academy highlighting how art and film has a purpose to serve society and to enlighten humanity about what it means to be alive.
There is nothing quite like the Academy Awards. Does it always get it right - no, absolutely not. But it does always celebrate the beauty and importance of art and film in society and the impact and change that art can bring. But most importantly, it has the radical artists and anarchists that fight the system and seek to make the world a better place through art.
So, yes, the Oscars are about awards and giving awards out to "the best films of the year." But really, it's about using its platform to speak out about the importance of art in society, the importance of respect and representing in arts, and the ability to change society one film at a time.
90th Academy Awards
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