And the 90th Academy Awards were held Sunday night, where the majority of the awards went to white men, despite years of activism demanding increased racial and gender diversity in Hollywood. The awards show came on the heels of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, which shook Hollywood when dozens of actresses came forward to accuse Hollywood’s most powerful producer, Harvey Weinstein, of rape, sexual assault and harassment that stretched back decades. During Sunday night’s awards, many presenters celebrated immigrants, diversity and women’s movements. This is Lupita Nyong’o and Kumail Nanjiani, presenting the award for achievement in production design.
Lupita Nyong’o: “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.”
Kumail Nanjiani: “And so, to all the dreamers out there, we stand with you.”
One of the most powerful moments of the night was when rapper Common and musician Andra Day took to the stage to perform the song “Stand Up for Something” from the film “Marshall,” about the first black Supreme Court justice, Thurgood Marshall. This is Common, speaking at the performance’s opening.
Common: “On Oscar night, this is the dream we tell / A land where dreamers live and freedom dwells / Immigrants get the benefits / We put up monuments for the feminists / Tell the NRA they in God’s way / And to the people of Parkland, we say 'Ashe' / Sentiments of love for the people / From Africa, Haiti to Puerto Rico.”
Common and Andra Day were joined on stage by Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors, #MeToo founder Tarana Burke and legendary civil rights activist Dolores Huerta. But despite the displays on stage, many of the night’s top winners were still white men. Among the exceptions, the film “Get Out,” which won best original screenplay for its writer and director Jordan Peele. The top winner of the night was “The Shape of Water,” which won best picture and the best director award for its Mexican director, Guillermo del Toro. We’ll have more on this year’s Oscars, and why the Oscars are still so white and male, later in the broadcast.