Opinion: Oscars Cling to Fading Relevancy Through Angle of Social Justice


Kaitlyn Davidson, Senior Reporter

As always, the Oscars was a time for Hollywood to pat itself on the back for all the progress they have made.

Outsider fringe movies, like “Get Out”, were assumed to be throwouts as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences prefers awarding established film producers, but the Academy awarded the Jordan Peele creation the award for best original screenplay.

In the interest of diversifying their hall of winners, trophy holders now include “A Fantastic Woman”, “Lady Bird”, “The Shape of Water” and “The Big Sick”. This increase in winners donning the Latina and African American genre categories comes as the Oscars response to past years’ extreme lack of diversity.

In a world that seems ever more divided as the next tweet is sent, political beliefs are becoming more and more polarized. The Oscars seemed like a time for liberal Hollywood to showcase themselves as revolutionaries, forging the way into a safe workplace and fair legislature.

Ryan Seacrest was dogged by all 5 of best actress nominations because of sexual assault allegations currently pending against him now, which was a nod to the atmosphere of the night, which called for social revolution.

The award show tackled more than just the #MeToo movement, with actors Lupita Nyong’o and Kumail Nanjiani introducing themselves as immigrants, increasing awareness to the fragile future of dreamers in America. During Nyong’o’s acceptance speech, she reminded dreamers that legislation is not going to stop them from achieving their dreams. “To all the dreamers out there, we stand with you,” she proudly spoke on the red carpet.

The shift in the Oscars becoming a political spotlight, according to Frances McDormand in an after-show interview, was, “when Moonlight won best picture.” McDormand won her Oscar for best actress in the film “Three Billboards OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI”, a dark comedy featuring a strong female protagonist fighting against an unjust law system that is not sufficient in solving the murder of her daughter.

“A Fantastic Woman”, another big winner of the night, highlighted the journey of a transgender protagonist’s struggle in the wake of losing her lover. Because of the unconventional nature of their relationship, she is stripped of her mourning and is forced to deny one of the only true relationships she’s found. Winning the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, “A Fantastic Woman” signaled that the Oscars aren’t just looking to award their pet favorites like Wes Anderson, but are in the market for real stories: tales that represent different heritages, brutally and honestly.

It seems like award shows are slowly becoming less and less relevant, with the only memorable moments spanning way back to human error like Jennifer Lawrence falling and the disastrous Moonlight mix up of 2017. Since the Oscars were not keen on this portrayal of a mind-numbing 2-hour broadcast clinging to relevance through embarrassing mistakes, they adopted the theme of social justice.

If the Oscars were to define themselves in simple terms, it would be diversity, empowerment, and inclusion. The viewer would provide a synopsis including words like tedious, drudging and wearing yet, amidst all the fake glory, there was a detectable sense of change in the attendees.