I love watching movies and, although I’m not really into award shows or the whole “Hollywood scene,” I decided to watch the Oscars last night. To my dismay, I found that it was less about the movies and more about American politics.
Everyone seems to love bashing Trump, so much so that you cannot turn on your television or listen to your radio anymore without being bombarded by propaganda. Don’t get me wrong — I do not support Trump. In fact, I don’t support either side, since both the right wing and the left wing are ultimately a part of the same bird, as the saying goes. I’ve simply noticed a trend lately amongst mainstream media and the public in general, which is that there’s no escape from U.S. politics, and to me this was evident at the Oscars.
Oscars Acceptance Speeches That Turned Political
If you watched the Oscars this year, you can probably think of numerous examples of propaganda during the show. Let’s start with some of the quotes from the infamous host, Jimmy Kimmel. One of the first things he said was that CNN, the BBC, the New York Times, the L.A. Times, “and any other ‘Times,’ for that matter” weren’t invited to the Oscars; a clear dig at Trump’s decision to block several mainstream media outlets from attending the White House briefing.
“This broadcast is being watched live by millions of Americans and around the world in more than 225 countries that now hate us,” he said.
“If every one of you took a minute to reach out to one person you disagree with and have a positive, considerate conversation — not as liberals or conservatives but as Americans — if we all did that it would make America great again. It starts with us,” said Kimmel.
Kimmel makes a great point: We shouldn’t be arguing over which side is correct, but rather coming together as equals. And this doesn’t just apply to Americans; we are all a part of a global community and we all feed the collective quantum field.
“I mean, remember last year,” continued Kimmel, “when it seemed like the Oscars were racist?” Kimmel was referring to the controversial Oscars award show last year, as the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite went viral after absolutely no actors of colour were nominated, and for the second year in a row. The blame was probably in part due to prejudices, but the Academy isn’t entirely to blame. During this century, minority actors have only secured 15% of the top roles, so there really isn’t a wide variety of leading actors of colour to nominate.
Let’s not forget how the Oscars work. We don’t vote for our favourite films and actors — the 6,028 Academy Award members do. At the time, 94% of the voters were white, predominantly men, and were an average of 63 years old. It’s not hard to imagine how prejudices could manipulate the votes.
It wasn’t just Jimmy Kimmel who used his position as an opportunity to discuss politics. An overwhelming amount of people used their speeches to share their opinions, too. Although I questioned some of their motives, I do think it’s incredible that people are using their star power to try to create change and voice their opinions! However, whether that’s positive change or what their motives were, who knows.
The Best Documentary was awarded to Ezra Edelman for O. J. Simpson: Made in America, which to me was fairly shocking because it was up against some incredible documentaries, including 13th, which I wrote a CE article about last year. Edelman dedicated his award to victims of police brutality and racially motivated violence, which was a beautiful tribute, as this is a severely overlooked issue.
The presenter for Best Animated Feature Film, Gael García Bernal, voiced that he was “against any form of wall that wants to separate us.” Again, this is another beautiful declaration of equality, but a clear reference to Trump.
The winner of The White Helmets, a documentary about the Syrian conflict, even read a quote from the Koran. This award was extremely questionable, as the White Helmets have a fairly controversial reputation. The organization has received $100 million worth of funding by the U.S., the U.K., Europe, and other states.
They claim to be saving civilians in Eastern Aleppo and Idlib, yet no one over there has heard of them. They also claim to be neutral, yet they’ve been photographed carrying guns and standing around the dead bodies of Syrian soldiers. You can watch Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett further discuss the White Helmets at a United Nations talk here (starting around 15 minutes into the video).
“Through the White Helmets we are seeing the eradication of Syrian state institutions and the implanting of a Syrian shadow state by predominantly the UK, the US and supported by EU governments,” explains Vanessa Beeley, independent researcher and journalist. Yet, for some reason, the Academy deemed this organization worthy of receiving an award for their documentary.
Italian-born Alessandro Bertolazzi dedicated his makeup award for Suicide Squad to “all the immigrants.” And in what she referred to as “a small sign of solidarity,” director Ava DuVernay declared that she was wearing a gown by a designer from a majority Muslim country.
This year marked the first year in Oscar history where six black actors were nominated for awards, a record for the Academy. Viola Davis won Best Supporting Actress for her role in Fences and a Muslim man won Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali, for Moonlight). Perhaps the most shocking move was when the Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, whose The Salesman was awarded Best Foreign-Language Film, boycotted the entire ceremony, refusing to attend in protest of Trump’s ban on Muslim travellers.
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Someone read his acceptance speech, however, which was essentially a long-winded political statement: “Dividing the world into the ‘us’ and ‘our enemies’ categories creates fears. A deceitful justification for aggression and war. These wars prevent democracy and human rights in countries which have themselves been victims of aggression.”
These wars are largely the result of previous presidents funding them, yet no one spoke out about them in past award ceremonies. And no one mentioned the role the Obama administration played in funding ISIS and the Syrian war; it was just people addressing racist quotes and proposed policies from Trump. While I am thrilled that celebrities are using their fame to make a difference, at this point in the show, I started questioning whether or not the Academy was choosing the best films or the best opportunities to deliver political speeches.
Even the conclusion of the Oscars reminded me of the U.S. election. If you didn’t watch the awards show, it ended with La La Land being accidentally presented with the most significant award of the night for Best Picture. As it turned out, Moonlight had actually won, so during their acceptance speeches, the producer grabbed the microphone and explained the mix-up.
This strangely reminded me of the U.S. election. Everyone was so confident that Hillary Clinton would win, given her strong ties to the elite and the White House; however, Trump surprised all of us and is now the President of the United States. La La Land was presumed to win this award, actually accepted it, and then it was taken away from them. Could this have been pre-planned by the Academy as a symbol of the recent U.S. election results? It might be a stretch, but at this point, who knows?
So, What About Those Blue Ribbons?
You may have noticed numerous celebrities sporting blue ribbons on their dresses and suits. The blue ribbons represent the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a non-profit organization whose chief aim is “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.”
Nominees, presenters, musicians, and guests at the Oscars were allegedly encouraged to wear the ribbon to stand in solidarity for equal rights and civil liberties guaranteed by the Constitution. Although this is an incredible statement, I question whether this was simply another political stunt encouraged by the elite.
Although ACLU seems like a well-intended non-profit, I can’t help but question their motives, especially given their ties to elitist George Soros, a key member of the shadow government disguised as a philanthropic billionaire.
Ever since ACLU started filing lawsuits against Trump’s executive orders, the non-profit has received a massive tidal wave in contributions. According to the Washington Post, the lawsuits filed by the ACLU caused their amount of donations to skyrocket, totalling over $24 million in one weekend, which is approximately six times the organization’s average annual donations. This is not to say that I support Trump’s drastic decisions, since I am a staunch advocate for equality and democracy. However, the U.S. has not been living democratically for quite some time, and this is starting to raise some real red flags.
Many of the ACLU’s lawsuits were directly funded by George Soros and Democratic state attorneys general. Soros’s Open Society Institute has donated over $35 million to the ACLU alone and millions more to other liberal organizations willing to file lawsuits against the Trump administration’s policies. This seems like a well-intended philanthropic move, but if you know anything about George Soros, it’s safe to assume that his donations are strategic political moves to inspire chaos so he can profit from the wreckage.
Soros is well-known for his ties to the Ukrainian conflict and for creating and funding the Black Lives Matter and Women’s March movements. These movements appear to be rooted in equality but then they instil fear and manipulate us into fighting against each other, creating even more separation and division. In my opinion, this same trend was starting to play out at the Oscars.
People are so obsessed with taking a side: left or right, conservative or liberal, Democratic or Republican, and then we allow this to divide us even further. We forget that, regardless of our opinions, we are still all fundamentally connected to one another. All of this separatism is an illusion, and the more we play into that, even if you think you’re fighting for “the right side,” the more divided we become.
What Can We Learn From This Year’s Oscars?
Although the Oscars were probably once about the films, I think that it’s transitioned into something much bigger and broader. Now, it’s more so about the fashion, symbolism, pop culture, celebrities, speeches, and, apparently, politics.
I think that these awards shows in general should be more about art than anything else. The beauty in art is that it connects us all, regardless of our political opinions, race, etc. These events could serve as a platform for us to all come together and celebrate the beauty in expression and human creativity. I believe art should be shared and celebrated, not manipulated and used for a political agenda.
I do believe that there was still a lot of light that shined through the award show. Clearly many individuals are passionate about equality and creating positive change and felt the need to speak out about it, which is beautiful! In a way, this was a testament to how much people want equality. Let’s just hope that society’s newfound passion for equality doesn’t turn into another form of division by creating another radical, one-sided party.
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