Repositioning the Spotlight- Oscars 2017

During the 89th Academy Awards ceremony on February 26th, actors Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty announced the most prestigious award of the night. By now everyone who is anyone with a social media account has heard of the appalling mistake which occurred, but the crucial question is this: Was it indeed a mistake?

 

In the past two years, the Oscars received major backlash for its lack of diversity and the notorious hashtag #oscarsowhite took the social media sphere by storm. The film industry is a mirror reflection of society at large as it: undermines women’s roles in cinematography as male directors are more prominent and valued; and cripples racial diversity, be it on or off screen.

 

 

La La Land, in comparison to the actual winner of this years Academy Awards winner Moonlight, has to be the whitest film ever produced. While La La Land presents the audience with a cliche couple with a cliche dilemma of choosing between love or fame, Moonlight gives people insight to raw realities.“Moonlight is both a disarmingly, at times almost unbearably personal film and an urgent social document, a hard look at American reality and a poem written in light, music and vivid human faces.” (A.O Scott of The New York Times).

 

The fact that these two movies jar so sharply makes one wonder if the mishandled card was a snafu or a clever ploy. One could take the occurrence as a strategy to overshadow the well deserved success of such an evocative piece of footage that is Moonlight. A few more steps forward for diversity within the social sphere were made through the success of Mahershala Ali who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor will go down in history as the first Muslim to win an Academy Award.

 

 

The iconic Viola Davis also leaves her mark as her award for Best Supporting Actress makes her the first black woman to win an Oscar, an Emmy and a Tony. Davis’ acceptance speech appealed to the film industry to personify real people and tell real stories – no matter how brutal. With such a prominent stance within society, Hollywood and celebrities should be the advocates of the minority not the endorsers of inequalities and fallacies.

 

 

Marginalised groups have made substantial progress in recent years one should stop and think before pulling out the bells and whistles. We live in a patriarchal and white-dominant society – wherever you may be that is the reality.  In order to evolve and grow we need to break free from thinking that that is okay; because frankly it isn’t and it never was.

While I applaud Hollywood for their flimsy attempts at making their world realistic and diverse… I wonder if Ali, Moonlight and Davis’ triumphs are setting a new bar or simply the result of an unjustly orchestrated strategy from Hollywood’s side to gain points and recover from the previous backlash they received.


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