On Sunday, Feb. 28, the 88th annual Academy Awards was held at the Dolby theatre in Hollywood, CA. Amidst the glitz and glamour of the red carpet, heavier topics overshadowed the show making the night more of a political platform. The night known for presenting awards soon became a platform to discuss the elephant in the room, the lack of diversity in nominees.
As the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite began to trend once again, many celebrities including Will and Jada Smith, and Spike Lee took a stance in boycotting the Oscars in effort to disapprove of the Academy’s all white nominations.
As emcee, Chris Rock touched upon the topic of Hollywood’s racism throughout the evening with his crude but necessary humor. Rock explained why African Americans are supposedly “just now” starting to protest after 88 years of the show running, “We were too busy getting raped and lynched to care about who won best cinematographer,” said Rock, eliciting a loud response from the crowd.
Besides the issue of racism in Hollywood, Lady Gaga’s performance of “Till It Happens To You” brought attention to the reality of sexual assault on college campuses. She was joined by 50 real sexual assault victims standing up for the cause. The piece won best original song nominated from the documentary, “The Hunting Ground.”
But somewhere in between the heavy speeches and emcee jokes, awards were presented as usual. After many deserving years, Leonardo DiCaprio finally won an Oscar for Best Actor as his role in “The Revenant.” In accordance with the night, DiCaprio also used his time on stage to inform America on the dangers of the climate change.
Brie Larson was named Best Actress for her heartbreaking role in “The Room.” The most prestigious award of the night was given to “Spotlight” for best picture.
At the end of the night, the show proved to be more than just a night of celebrating Hollywood’s best; it became a platform for celebrities to make more important issues heard. The night, as a whole, was powerful, entertaining, and executed smoothly.