And the Oscar Goes to…
by Lily Lin
The 90th Academy Awards was a celebration of past traditions and firsts. The Oscars, as always, premiered on the ABC network this past Sunday, March 4th, 2018. Jimmy Kimmel, who hosted the 89th Academy Awards, was again the host for 2018, opening up the night with his monologue, which introduced some of the nominated actors and films. One such nominee was first-time nominee Timothee Chalamet, the star of Call Me By Your Name. Kimmel’s light-hearted jokes also touched on some serious topics, reminding the audience of the problems that still plague our society. He referenced Hollywood’s former belief that successful movies could not have women or minorities in leading roles, which has been shown to be untrue due to Wonder Woman’s and Black Panther’s extremely successful box office performances. He also addressed the sexual allegations against Harvey Weinstein while promoting the importance of women standing up and speaking out against sexual assault.
This year’s Oscars also made several political statements against the White House. While explaining the film Call Me By Your Name, Kimmel jokes about how the movie was made to spite the current Vice President Mike Pence, a well-known conservative. When Lupita Nyong’o and Kumail Nanjiani presented together, they both introduced themselves as immigrants. They both showed support for the Dreamers, who are allowed to live in the United States under DACA, a program that President Trump has moved to end.
Despite rising success for the nominated films, the 90th Academy Awards saw a record low in the number of televised viewers at 26.5 million viewers. The previous record low was in 2008 at 32 million viewers, which followed the Writers Guild of America strike. However, it wasn’t just the Oscars that saw record low ratings. The Grammys, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Superbowl, and the Winter Olympics also saw a drop in viewers this year.
2018 saw a lot of returning nominees, along with a lot of first-time nominees. One such first-time nominee was Allison Janney, who won an Oscar for “Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role” for her role in I, Tonya. Another first-time nominee who also took home an Oscar was Sam Rockwell, who won an Oscar for “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role” for his supporting role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. One returning nominee was Roger Deakin, who has been nominated for “Best Achievement in Cinematography” fourteen times. Deakin finally won this year for his cinematography work in Blade Runner 2049.
Many of this year’s nominated films took home multiple awards. The Shape of Water took home four Oscars, including “Best Motion Picture of the Year”. Dunkirk took home three Oscars. Coco, Blade Runner 2049, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri each took home two of the coveted awards.
While the Academy Awards are a celebration of the dedication and work of movie productions, the awards ceremony served as a platform for addressing social issues that concern the public. Rather than condemning political statements and support behind movements such as #MeToo and Time’s Up, the ABC network should encourage such displays so that issues can receive more attention. In order for these issues to be addressed, more proactive movements to spread awareness should be made.