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March 05, 2018

The 90th Academy Awards: Not So Male, Not So Old, Not So White

Text by Sadaf Shaikh

Why inclusion and empowerment were the unequivocal themes at the Oscars this year

Last night’s awards ceremony was rife with political statements and surprise nominations. Close on the heels of the Golden Globes, SAGs and Grammys, the Oscars took the opportunity to sustain the conversation that highlighted everything that’s wrong with the world and needs addressing, besides lauding several breakthroughs that the movie industry made this year. Here is our list of the moments that made us hurrah along with the whos-who of Hollywood, even if it was only from the couch installed in front of the television.

Jordan Peele won best original screenplay for Get OutThe writer-director is the first African American person to win an award in this category. We can almost hear the cast of Black Panther crossing their arms over their chests and chanting ‘Wakanda Forever!’ during this segment.

Frances McDormand won best actress in a leading role for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Although this is not the actor’s first Oscar (she won one for Fargo in 1997 and has been nominated five times previously), her championing of ‘inclusion riders’ was a giant step for the industry. She called upon the female nominees in every category to stand before adding, “Look around, ladies and gentlemen. We all have stories to tell and projects we need financed. Invite us into your office in a couple days — or you can come to ours, whichever suits you best — and we’ll tell you all about them.”

Guillermo del Toro won best director for The Shape of Water. The movie, which del Toro also co-wrote, was the nominee leader of the night, with 13 nods — four of which it took home.

Ashley Judd, Salma Hayek and Annabella Sciorra joined forces to talk about the #MeToo movement and #TimesUp initiative. Salma Hayek’s endearing speech revealed how her 10-year-old daughter had already proclaimed herself a feminist stating that she feels relieved to know that the new generations will have a strong voice backing them.

A Fantastic Woman from Chile won best foreign language film. The premise revolves around the journey of a transgender woman navigating the loss of her boyfriend and is Chile’s first win in the category.

Lupita Nyong’o and Kumail Nanjiani shone a light on the current battle in Washington over Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Both are immigrants and announced to the audience, “We’re dreamers. Dreams are the foundation of Hollywood, and dreams are the foundation of America. To all the dreamers out there, we stand with you.”

The filmmakers behind war documentary Last Men in Aleppo made it to the event despite producer Kareem Abeed earlier being denied a visa to enter the United States for the ceremony.

Mary J. Blige was nominated supporting actress and best original song for Mudbound — making her the first person to be nominated in a song and acting category for the same film. Not far behind was Rachel Morrison, the first woman to be nominated for cinematography for her commendable work on the World War II-era drama.

Tiffany Haddish paid homage to her late father’s native country Eritrea, in a gown that celebrated the spirit of the northeastern African country. “He said one day I would end up here, and if I ever end up at the Oscars, to honour my people. So I’m honouring my fellow Eritreans.”

Call Me by Your Name star Timothée Chalamet was the youngest best actor nominee in nearly 80 years. In fact, Matthew McConaughey, who played father to Chalamet in Interstellar couldn’t stop raving about the actor’s performance in the critically acclaimed film saying, “There’s not a false moment in it and he’s here to stay.”

Host Jimmy Kimmel called out industry bigwigs who get away with being accused of sexual harassment and abuse. He pointed to the Oscars statue on the stage, saying, “Oscar is the most beloved and respected man in Hollywood, and there’s a very good reason — He keeps his hands where you can see them, never says a rude word and most importantly, no penis. He is literally a statue of limitations.”

Meanwhile, our resident style expert took some time to train her sartorial lens on the best-dressed celebrities on the red carpet:

The 90th Academy Awards will be aired on Star Movies and Star Movies Select HD at 8.30 p.m. tonight. You can watch the repeat at 1 p.m. on March 11, 2018.

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