88th Academy Awards (The Oscars) Review


Photo by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Karina Kosmala, Arts and Entertainment Editor

This was the 88th Academy Awards I’m glad I didn’t miss one moment of. Whether you were moved by Lady Gaga’s song “Till It Happens to You,” with the tribute to the survivors of sexual assault or other speeches that should be brought to our attention or simply the heart pounding, no longer snubbed for another year, best actor win for Leonardo Dicaprio, it was worth the three hour watch.

There was no avoiding the “White Oscars” issue, but with jokes of how some stars wanted to protest the Oscars, or other jokes such as placing African American actors in the snippets of the best picture nominee movies. Although, at first, the jokes and comments on how ridiculous it was for some to protest the Oscars, knowing that the Oscars would still go on regardless of a protest, made a valid point of the underrepresented group of people.

Besides that idea, the most intriguing part of the Academy Awards were the speeches of the Oscar winners. Beyond the idea that the winners thanking everyone, part that interests me is how they connect their experience working on a film or within the context of the film to a real issue that still resides today, some issues that were captured in the speeches included violence, sexual abuse, and climate change.

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, director of the documentary, “A Girl in the River”  speech delivered the power of proving that a movie still has an impact in advocating change in a society where women are killed in honor in the Pakistan society. She stated in her speech, that “Last week, our Pakistani prime minister has said that he will change the law of honor killing after watching this film. That is the power of film.” (NYMag, The CUT). To think that an normal ‘law’ like this exists on the other side of the world, and where women aren’t treated fairly or properly, horrifies me. Yet this is why I’m glad that some directors take the approach of telling the unknown story and bringing it some necessary attention. If this type of movie, has an impact on a government who is willing to change the society’s rules, who knows what other future ‘art’ creations, not necessarily movies, shift society’s line of thinking.

Furthermore, with speech told by US Vice President Joe Biden, toppled off with Lady Gaga’s ‘Till it Happens to You’ song pledging that you will no “not be the bystander to the problem, but to be a part of the solution,” and to “help keep women and men safe from sexual assault.” (itsonus.org) Vice President Biden encouraged in his speech that “I will intervene in situations when consent has not or cannot be given. Let’s change the culture. We must and we can change the culture so that no abused women or man like their survivors you see tonight ever feel they have to ask themselves what did I do. They did nothing wrong.” With Lady Gaga’s nominated song written with Diane Warren, ‘Till it Happens to You,’ (from the film “The Hunting Ground“) brought a significant push to the issue of sexual assault (in the film, mentioning the sexual assault that occurs on college campuses to women and men), this shouldn’t be the ‘norm.’

Even though, most of the population was cheering for Leonardo Dicaprio finally winning an Oscar for Best Actor in “The Revenant“, after six nominations, he mentioned another issue that should be brought up to the public’s attention, climate change. A topic that we might forget about, but gladly should be talked about. Leonardo Dicaprio advocated in his speech that, “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” (ABC, the Oscars).  I agree with him, and even the few last words he said, “Let us not take this planet for granted,” made me reflect back on how easily it is for us to forget the decisions we make that harm our world everyday.

Although, there were more speeches that brought up different issues we should also take into consideration, but either way, each individual crafted movie that served the purpose of telling a story, some more known than others, but all equally as important.