The 88th Academy Awards aired Sunday night, February 15, 2016. I was debating sitting out the Academy Awards, with all the controversy surrounding it, but was hoping Leonardo DiCaprio would win. Chris Rock, the ever lively host, had avoided posting anything on social media up until the night of the Oscars. But if you thought he would do the same on stage then you were in for a suprise. Rock preyed on the controversy. It was funny, shocking and at times slightly cringe worthy to see him try and make light of a heavy situation.
“Why this Oscars? It’s the 88th Academy Awards, which means this whole no-black-nominees thing has happened at least 71 other times…” Rock said. “[We did not protest] Because we had real things to protest at the time. We were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won Best Cinematographer.”
Rock kept pace throughout the entire show, addressing the lack of diversity in the academy and entertainment itself, but keeping the humor. It was refreshing. And having his daughters attempting to sell their Girl Scouts Cookies during the show was a fun distraction up to the Best Actor/Actress and Best Film announcement.
The animated appearance of the minions and Woody and Buzz Lightyear seemed to lighten the heaviness of the Oscars. It was not just the controversy of #OscarsSoWhite that seemed to cause some uneasiness, but most of the nominated films were about horrible events happening to people. In ‘The Revenant’, Leo DiCaprio is left out to die and mauled by a bear. The ‘Big Short’ is about four people predicting the 2008 crash. Spotlight is about reporters uncovering a conspiracy of over 80 priests molesting children. These are just a few of the almost depressing themes to grace the academy. The animated shorts, along with Rock and the few celebrities trying to be funny, seemed to help bring out a celebratory mood.
Lady Gaga’s performance added to the importance of real life events being portrayed through entertainment. Gaga’s song was about the many women and men who are raped while attending college who do not report it or feel they are not taken seriously. The performance brought everyone back to reality, revealing that there is more to life than awards.
I was a fan of what the hosts, speakers and award receivers did at the Oscars. Topics that were brought to light were the inequality people of color face, the fact that rapes go unreported, and the lack of representation of LGBT at the Oscars. I believe that yes, awards are about celebrating, but that real life is still happening. It was nice to have real life addressed on such a public platform.
And finally, after six nominations, my dream came true as I saw Leonardo DiCaprio take the stage and his rightfully owed ‘Best Actor’ golden statue. In his speech, he was still selfless as usual. He never once mentioned how the Academy had snubbed him, but instead only thanked those who had helped him achieve his goals and pressed the issue of global warming. It was finally time for the greatest actor of his generation to claim his rightful prize and he did so with elegance, style and grace.
Image credits; Chris Rock's Instagram , wikipedia.com
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