So the 90th Academy Awards ceremony was this past weekend and I wanted to take the opportunity to talk about a few of the things I loved and that stood out to me. Because what else is having a blog for if you can’t use it to feel like you’re shouting your opinions from a mountaintop, amirite?!
Let me start with some background: I love the Oscars! I have many fond memories of watching the entire award ceremony with my grandparents from the red carpet to as much of the post-ceremony banter as they would let me watch before I had to go to bed. My grandma and I would sit and pick our favorite dresses and accessories and cross our fingers for our favorite movies to win in whatever categories they were nominated in. I used to go to the movies a lot and would often see a fair amount of the nominees by the time award season rolled around every year.
In recent years that trend has faded for me. I’ve gone to watch movies a lot less (I blame Netflix and my husband no longer managing a movie theater for my cinematic demise) and even though I still love a great gown and jewelry, I’ve definitely taken a stance behind women in Hollywood not wanting to simply be asked “who are you wearing?”
I highlight these changes because I think it demonstrates not only my personal growth and maturation but also the global evolution that seems to be taking place in recent years. We all still love to see amazing gowns and there are still people out there picking their favorites and comparing the various statements made via fashion. (Which I still love!) But there are seemingly more and more people taking advantage of the platforms they have to open up a conversation about the actors themselves or the work they did. As any deep thinking moviegoer knows, those types of interviews and comparisons are what we all crave. These movies we award are works of art. To think they are anything else is, in my humble opinion, simple-minded. While yes, there are some movies that exist for sheer entertainment sake, movies that are honored by being included in the Academy Awards are so much more than entertainment for the sake of entertainment.
This, among many other reasons, is why I love a good political or opinionated statement from the “Hollywood Elites” as they accept their awards or walk on the red carpet or even in the advertisements shown this year during commercial breaks. There was so much unity and togetherness in the award ceremony this year, it was palpable. At least for me.
See, I’ve always been a part of this new “trend” called the women’s movement. I was, unknowingly, raised in a strongly feminist family. We didn’t go to rallies or burn our bras or lack strong men in our family. Quite the opposite. I grew up surrounded by strong, intelligent, and capable women and men who taught me about the foundations of feminist beliefs through their own hard work, dedication, and movement toward equality. They weren’t activists or politicians, but considering the significance of their impact on my world, they all could be if they wanted to. Instead, they followed the words of Mother Theresa and changed the world by starting at home and loving their family. Clearly, I’m living proof that those types of actions are what truly changes the world.
But enough sentimentality about my family. We’re talking about the Oscars!
Some of my favorite moments included:
- Twitter’s #HereWeAre commercial had me feeling ALL the emotions! I was screaming and clapping all the way through like it was my own church sermon like, “Amen amen! Glory to God!” Click the hashtag I included to view the commercial on YouTube.
- As much as I try not to be a sports fan, my husband has a direct impact on my knowledge and involvement with more sports-related things that I would consume on my own. That being said, I was absolutely elated when Kobe won his Oscar and said basketball players are supposed to just, “shut up and dribble.” My favorite type of jab is one that is made in the shining light of success and, as anticipated, he took that moment and shoved a dagger into the hearts of anyone who has anything negative to say about athletes taking a stance and sharing their story.
- There was a Nest commercial where a working dad says to his son, “Don’t expect that her being your date means anything more than that” with words “it starts at home” to which I applauded. My only criticism is that, in reality, that conversation should have been one that happens often, not just via technology the moment the son is walking to the car about to leave for the date. I’m focusing on the positive message of working dads still significantly participating in their son’s upbringing and dating etiquette, so I’ll let that slide.
- Serena’s Nike commercial with “no wrong way to be a woman” because YAS.
- Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph wearing slippers instead of heels
- Jordan Peele winning for Best Original Screenplay as not just the accolades that come along with being a black male to win the category, but the fact that his ideas were what brought him there. If I would have told you a few years ago, one of the funny guys from Key and Peele would be winning an Oscar, would you have believed it? To me, that is a testament that when you put your full self behind chasing even your silliest or weirdest ideas that you truly believe in, you can’t go wrong. Your work will be respected and admired for more than you can even fathom if you go with your gut.
- And, of course, to close it all out – the moving speech by Frances McDormand about inclusivity. If you missed her speech, I’m sure you’ve seen snippets of it on whatever channel you consume news media because it was wonderful. She laid it all out there and not only took the opportunity to showcase the women present that night as the next assets for Hollywood execs to invest in but also closed with her two strong words of the evening, “Inclusivity Rider.” I know I wasn’t the only person to walk away from the speech going, “Wait, a what…?” After some google searching and conversation with my well-read husband, an inclusivity rider is essentially a clause in a contract that states someone will not be involved in a project unless there are a cast and crew around them filled with diversity. (If you’d like to read more about it, NPR has a nice article you can find here.)
Overall, even though viewership was allegedly down for the Oscars this year, I very much enjoyed watching them and taking it all in. Award season reminds me that those are my people. The ones who have experiences and stories to share with the world. The ones who have followed their dreams and focus on sharing the threads of humanity that are ingrained so deeply in us all through the art of filmmaking. Those are my people. I love being able to have opportunities to bask in the glory of Hollywood and remind myself that all the glitz and glamour means nothing if those people aren’t sharing real, raw, authentic stories that ring through to all of us across the globe. The Academy Awards has always been my opportunity to see it all unfold and I look forward to sharing in the same glory and humanity next year too!