The 90th Academy Awards ceremony was a glamorous, star-studded affair full of white dudes.
However, the winds of change are shifting. It’s becoming abundantly clear the Academy, the film industry, and the country will no longer solely look to straight, cisgender, white men to lead the way. And that’s awesome.
Here are 12 standout moments from last night’s Academy Awards that give me hope for a brighter, more diverse and inclusive future.
1. Jordan Peele won Best Original Screenplay for his horror masterpiece “Get Out.”
He’s the first black screenwriter to win the award. Yeah, first.
“I want to dedicate this to everyone who let me raise my voice,” he said in his acceptance speech.
2. Before presenting a montage of clips from war films, Cherokee actor and veteran Wes Studi addressed the audience in Cherokee language.
So #WhatDidWesSay on the #Oscars last night? As Vietnam Vet @WesleyStudi introduced a montage of military movies, he said in our Cherokee language
“Hello. Appreciation to all veterans & Cherokees who’ve served. Thank you!” Learn more Cherokee here! Wado! https://t.co/qc9yAx5ThP pic.twitter.com/aVAs94VRUo
— CherokeeNation (@CherokeeNation) March 5, 2018
3. The award for Best Original Song went to “Remember Me,” from “Coco,” written by husband and wife duo Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez.
With this being his second Academy Award win, Robert Lopez, a Filipino-American, is now the first person to ever win at least two Grammys, Emmys, Tonys, and Oscars — or as the kids say, the “Double EGOT.”
4. “Coco” also took home the award for Best Animated Feature Film, and the acceptance speech was heartwarming.
Producer Darla K. Anderson thanked her wife and co-director Adrian Molina thanked his husband, which is always awesome to see on national TV.
And co-director Lee Unkrich took a minute to stress the importance of representation in film:
“With ‘Coco’ we tried to take a step forward toward a world where all children can grow up seeing characters in movies that look and talk and live like they do. Marginalized people deserve to feel like they belong. Representation matters.”
5. James Ivory took home his first Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for “Call Me By Your Name.”
Ivory is openly gay, and at 89 years old, he’s now the oldest person to win an Oscar. He also wore the film’s star, Timothée Chalamet, on his shirt. Your fave could never.
6. “The Silent Child,” which tells the story of a deaf child who learns to communicate, won for Best Live Action Short Film.
The film’s writer and co-star, Rachel Shenton, promised Maisie Sly, the film’s 6-year-old deaf actress, that she would sign her acceptance speech if they won. Shenton fulfilled the promise, using British Sign Language (albeit slightly nervously) to accept the award.
7. Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o and nominee Kumail Nanjiani — immigrants from Kenya and Pakistan, respectively — showed their support for DREAMers.
“Like everyone in this room and everyone watching at home, we are dreamers. We grew up dreaming of one day working in the movies. Dreams are the foundation of Hollywood, and dreams are the foundation of America,” Nyong’o said.
8. In the performance for their nominated song “Stand Up for Something” from the film “Marshall,” Andra Day and Common invited activists to join them on stage.
Common and Day personally invited each activist to participate in the performance. Guests on-stage included Bana Alabed (author and Syrian refugee), José Andrés (ThinkFoodGroup), Alice Brown Otter (Standing Rock Youth Council), Tarana Burke (Me Too), Patrisse Cullors (Black Lives Matter), Nicole Hockley (Sandy Hook Promise), Dolores Huerta (Dolores Huerta Foundation and the United Farm Workers of America), Janet Mock (#GirlsLikeUs), Cecile Richards (Planned Parenthood Action Fund), and Bryan Stevenson (Equal Justice Initiative).
9. Guadalajara, Mexico, native Guillermo del Toro took home his first Academy Award for Best Director for “The Shape of Water.”
The film later went on to win Best Picture. And del Toro checked the envelope just to be sure. (Can you blame him after last year?)
10. Daniela Vega, star of Best Foreign Language Film, “A Fantastic Woman,” became the Oscars’ first transgender presenter.
Vega introduced singer/songwriter Sufjan Stevens to the stage to perform his nominated song, “Mystery of Love” from “Call Me By Your Name.”
11. Three of Harvey Weinstein’s accusers, actresses Ashley Judd, Annabella Sciorra, and Salma Hayek, delivered a moving speech about women reclaiming their time and space in the industry.
12. And I’d be remiss not to mention Frances McDormand, who won Best Actress for her role in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”
Not only did McDormand have every single woman nominee in the room stand up and be recognized, she also taught all of us a very important phrase — inclusion rider.
an inclusion rider is something actors put into their contracts to ensure gender and racial equality in hiring on movie sets. We should support this for a billion reasons, but if you can’t find a reason to, here’s one: it will make movies better.
— Whitney Cummings (@WhitneyCummings) March 5, 2018
Inclusion riders can cover not just the casting but the crew as well, opening up opportunities for marginalized people in all areas of the industry. It’s truly using your privilege and power for good. Brava!
So, yes, the Academy Awards were a glamorous, star-studded affair full of white dudes — but they won’t be for long.
Change is coming quicker and more aggressively than ever before. And it’s about time.
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