Not long ago, 2016 to be more precise, the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite circulated on social media in a grassroots campaign that underscored the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ lack of opportunities for communities of color in front of and behind the cameras.
The following year, the Harvey Weinstein scandal exploded in their faces, taking down alleged sexual predators in positions of power in the film industry and sending ripple effects across America.
The 2018 Oscars ceremony was different from the previous ones in so many aspects. It seems the Academy decided to finally act upon past criticisms, putting at the forefront issues such as equal pay, representation, lack of diversity and sexual harassment during the three-hour show.
Last night we were able to enjoy a more integrated and diverse show that reflects the talent, beauty, and contributions of people of color, as well as powerful statements from women no matter the color of their skin.
In terms of diversity, this has been a better year for the movie industry. Films like Disney-Pixar’s Coco, Black Panther, and The Shape of Water took audiences away from the expected and tried-and-tired and allowed them to experience other possibilities in entertainment, with diverse themes, music, ideas, proposals, and casts.
“Coco would not exist without Mexico’s endlessly beautiful culture and traditions,” said co-director Adrian Molina during the acceptance speech. “With Coco we tried to take a step forward toward a world where all children can see characters in movies that look and talk and live like they do. Marginalized people deserve to feel like they belong. Representation matters.”
Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o and Kumail Nanjiani, co-writer and star of The Big Sick, declared that they were immigrants and expressed their support to DREAMers.
“We grew up dreaming of one day working in the movies. Dreams are the foundation of Hollywood, and dreams are the foundation of America,” said Nyong’o, who was born in Mexico but raised in Kenya.
Nanjiani added: “To all the Dreamers out there, we stand with you.”
Some participants wore orange lapel pins as a way to promote the gun control movement #Everytown for Gun Safety.
The Trump administration has many things to learn as organizations, professional groups, etc. strengthen their ethical policies, give a platform to underrepresented voices and implement codes of conduct to avoid racism, harassment, and violence.
The current president can learn that authoritarianism is isolating, insular and prevents the imagination and creativity of the best and brightest to transform our world for the better.