WARNING: The following blog post contains the winners of last night’s 89th Academy Awards, if you have not seen or heard the news then go watch it now… and for the rest of you, continue reading.
Before I dive into the politics of the Oscars here is a list of the winners of the 2017 Oscars:
BEST PICTURE: Moonlight
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE:Casey Affleck in Manchester by the Sea
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Mahershala Ali in Moonlight
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE: Emma Stone in La La Land
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Viola Davis in Fences
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM: Zootopia
CINEMATOGRAPHY: La La Land
COSTUME DESIGN: “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
DIRECTING: La La Land – Damien Chazelle
DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE): “O.J.: Made in America“
DOCUMENTARY (SHORT): The White Helmets
FILM EDITING: Hacksaw Ridge
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: The Salesman
MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING: Suicide Squad
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE): La La Land
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG): City Of Stars from La La Land
PRODUCTION DESIGN: La La Land
ANIMATED SHORT FILM: Piper
LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: Sing
SOUND EDITING: Arrival
SOUND MIXING: Hacksaw Ridge
VISUAL EFFECTS: The Jungle Book
WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY): Moonlight
WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY): Manchester by the Sea
Still with me? Ok good, now some of you might be moaning at the long list and wondering why I included the production awards but I believe that they are far too over looked and never given proper credit as without sound editing, costume design, visual effects etc, films would not be the same dreamslands we see on the silver screen. Films such as The Jungle Book would not have been possible; it literally would have been Mowgli surrounded by dummies.
I also want to state that while I’m happy for La La Land and Moonlight‘s success; I will be quick with my oscar snubbed section:
Annette Bening- Best Actress
20th Century Women- Best Film
Sing Street- Best Film and ‘Drive It like You Stole It’ for Best Song
Amy Adams- Best Actress, She has become the female Leonardo DiCaprio
Viva-Best Foreign Language Film
Older Than Ireland– Best Documentary
All of these actors and films deserved better recognition from the academy and were wrongly snubbed but as they say ‘better luck next year’.
The 89th Academy Awards finally broke the 2 year tradition of #OscarSoWhite as now if you search on Twitter you will find #OscarSoDiverse or #OscarsSoBlack for the 2017 Oscars and while all the winners ( Ali, Jenkins, Davis, McCraney and Edelman) deserve the coveted prize, the academy still has miles of progress to go. While it’s wonderful to see Black artists nominated and rewarded it makes me think, what about artists of other ethnicities such as Asians and LatinX. Dev Patel is only the 3rd ever Indian actor nominated for an oscar while Lin Manuel Miranda was one of few LatinX nominees. Film is universal and it should be inclusive of universal narratives as well. Progress was made but not enough.
This now leads me onto the idea of representation in film. While films such as Manchester by the Sea, Hacksaw Ridge and Hell or High Water gave audiences the traditional caucasian hero and the struggles he faced, other films gave audiences new inclusive protagonists. In Lion, a young Indian man must find his way home years after being separated from his family. In Moonlight, a young black man grows up in Miami amongst drug abuse and homophobia and In The Salesman, an Iranian couple try to savage their relationship while their external circumstances test them.
These films received praise and awards but I do wonder, would we care as much if they were white? It seems that after two years of obvious white washing in the Oscars, all anyone cares for is 1st-the colour of someone’s skin and 2nd, the quality of the work. This idea is nothing new, the academy awards have been majority white for many decades and even now that we’re living in the era of Trump’s Administration, it’s still that way. After the now infamous best picture fail, Moonlight triumphed for best picture over La La Land and the internet raced to make connections between the mix up and the 2016 presidential election, the Grammys and even the Superbowl. While Barry Jenkins and his cast and crew basked in their moonlit glow, it was clear that the Oscars can be White and Black but there is still a long way to go.