The Academy Awards celebrated their most diverse nominees and winners last night. Celebrities took the stage to present and accept awards, as well as to highlight social and political causes.
Politics and race featured heavily during last night’s Academy Awards (because, of course they did), which opened with African American actress Regina King saying she would “have traded in my heels for marching boots” had former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin not been found guilty of killing George Floyd (King must have been listening to Rep Maxine Waters).
- While the best picture nominees all focused on a political or social ill, they were not necessarily the best movies, with Politico highlighting technical and story-telling deficiencies for many of the nominees.
- Diversity generally was the theme of the award winners, as Chloé Zhao won best director for “Nomadland”, a film about retirement-age Americans living a Bedouin-like life on the road which also won best picture.
- Striking a different tone than most other winners and presenters, Tyer Perry, who won the humanitarian award, urged attendees and viewers to “refuse hate” and encouraged people to find common ground, saying “that’s where change happens – it happens in the middle.”
- Axios concluded the ceremony, which eschewed video-conferenced acceptance speeches in favor of more traditional programming was “boring, but historically significant” given the diversity of the winners.
- CNN reported that China is effectively forcing a blackout of the Oscars over politics, denying Chloé Zhao of recognition in her childhood homeland as a result of a single comment in 2013 in which she criticized China.
- Deadline praised the politics of the Oscars, calling “inspiring speeches” the highlights of the night, referencing Regina King’s monologue addressing viewers who would rather politics not be involved during the awards show.
- The Oscars ended on a shocking note, as the award for best actor was the last to be announced, as Anthony Hopkins (who was not in attendance) won over the late Chadwick Boseman, with some blue checkmarks confused and somewhat outraged the ceremony would end with Boseman not winning.
- New York Post light-heartedly chided those who consider Hopkins’ win a snub of Boseman.
- Libertarian website Reason.com suggests the slow decline of the Oscars’ viewership, along with other awards shows, has as much to do with politics as with the pandemic, saying “movies have become grist for the culture-war-take mill.”
- Media critic and columnist Sonny Bunch wrote in The Washington Post that if the Oscars really wanted to get political, stars would highlight the shocking abuse and internment of the Muslim Uighur people in western China.
Stories We Should Care About More Than the Oscars
- Special Envoy for Climate and husband to a ketchup heiress, John Kerry, appears to have been opening up to Iran on Israeli covert operations in the Middle East.
- The political alliance founded by Russian dissident and Putin critic Alexei Navalny, who has been in prison since February 2nd for speaking out against Putin, has been suspended as a Russian court is determining whether to label it an “extremist organization.” (Author’s note – This is what real repression and authoritarianism looks like.)
- India is experiencing one of the worst surges in coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with a severe oxygen shortage compounding packed hospitals.
© Dallas Gerber, 2021