Oscars beyond entertainment: issues, debates, discussions

Other than the glitz and glamour, this year’s Academy Awards raised a number of issues

GN Bureau | February 29, 2016


#climate change   #sexual abuse   #Di Caprio   #racism  
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More than the debate on who would take the Oscars home, it was a Twitter hashtag – ‘OscarsSoWhite’ – that acted as a prologue to the Academy Awards. The hashtag came as an insult to the awards ceremony which was heavily criticised on social media for lacking racial diversity in its acting category nominations, second year in a row. The nominees, 20 of them, were all ‘white’. While some celebrities like actress Jada Pinkett Smith and director Spike Lee chose to boycott the event, others like actor Chris Rock hosted the awards ceremony after much deliberation.

Rock came out with some hard-hitting jokes in his opening comments: “Man! I counted at least 15 black people on that montage. Hey! Well, I’m here at the Academy awards – otherwise known as the white people’s choice awards. You realise if they nominated hosts, I wouldn’t even get this job. Y’all be watching Neil Patrick Harris right now.” 

In the midst of all the laughs and claps, US vice president Joe Biden turned the crowd’s attention to raise awareness about sexual assault. He discussed about the government’s campaign, ‘It’s On Us’, before introducing singer Lady Gaga who performed her song, ‘Til it Happens to You’, highlighting the pain of young women who are victims of sexual abuse. “Let’s change the culture so that no abused woman or man ever feels they have to ask themselves ‘What did I do?’ They did nothing wrong,” Biden said.

Finally after six nominations, actor Leonardo DiCaprio won the Oscar for ‘best actor’ for his role in The Revenant. Thanking everyone for the award, DiCaprio addressed the consequences of climate change – “And lastly I just want to say this: Making ‘The Revenant’ was about man's relationship to the natural world. A world that we collectively felt in 2015 as the hottest year in recorded history. Our production needed to move to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow. Climate change is real, it is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating. We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people out there who would be most affected by this. For our children’s children, and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed. I thank you all for this amazing award tonight. Let us not take this planet for granted. I do not take tonight for granted.”
 

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