Academy Awards stir up controversy

Alex Schneider, Reporter

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Compared to the boycotting of last year’s Academy Awards due to the lack of diversity in its nominees, this year’s awards definitely welcomed everyone from the announcers to the audience, making it much more “colorful” in more ways than one. The 2017 Oscars had plenty of diversity from white and black nominees and other races as well. It was filled with “firsts” and as has been the trend of late, many actors used the night as a chance to speak their minds.

Diversity in the Oscars

The first winner of the night for Best Actor in a Supporting Role was Mahershala Ali for “Moonlight;” he is the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar. Later in the evening, the award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role went to African American Viola Davis.

Over the past 89 years of the Academy Awards and out of 1,778 nominees, only 134 blacks have been nominated and out of that, only 36 have won an Oscar. It took 13 Academy Awards before the first Black actor won an Oscar. In 1940, Hattie McDaniel was the first black actress to ever win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in “Gone with the Wind.”


In addition to the rainbow that was the 2017 Oscars, entertainers’ personal thoughts showed through. The Academy President Cherly Boone went on stage to address the change from last year’s Oscars to this year’s Oscars. In her speech, she brought attention to the acceptance and diversity by saying, “Tonight is proof that art has no borders, art has no single language, and art does not belong to a single faith.”

While Gael Garcia Bernal alongside Hailee Steinfeld presented the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film, Bernal brought up President Trump’s wall plan by stating “As a Mexican, as a Latin American, as a migrant worker, as a human being, I am against any form of wall that wants to separate us.”

The biggest political scandal of the night was when Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won the award for Best Foreign Language for his movie “The Salesman.” However, Farhadi didn’t attend the Oscars due to his protest against Trump’s Travel Ban. When his name was called, Anousheh Ansari took the stage to accept his award for him and read a prewritten speech from Farhadi. Within the speech Farhadi wrote, “My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of the other six nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S.”

Interesting Blunders

The last category of the night was Best Picture, which was mistakenly awarded to “La La Land” but was quickly fixed and awarded to “Moonlight;” this was the first big mistake by the Academy in 89 years. The stage was filled by both casts and crew of both movies. During the second round of speeches made by the correct winners, “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins goes deep into his speech to let all races know that they are safe, “All you people out there who feel like there’s no mirror for you, that your life is not reflected, the Academy has your back; the ACLU has your back; we have your back; and for the next four years, we will not leave you alone. We will not forget you.”


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