By Jarod Golub
Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water ran the show — the film took home the awards for best picture, director and production design off of 13 nominations at this year’s Oscars — but Hollywood’s excitement was less focused on the movies than it was on the climate of change present in the room.
After months of reckoning that began with Harvey Weinstein’s dismissal from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the progress ] the film industry has made was on full display from the opening monologue.
“[W]hat’s happening all over was long overdue. We can’t let bad behavior slide anymore,” Jimmy Kimmel said at the beginning of the show. “The world is watching us. We need to set an example.”
Kimmel was not the only outspoken one; Frances McDormand — who won Best Actress for her role in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” — called on all of the nominated women to stand up during her acceptance speech and told the room that “[they] all have stories to tell and projects [they] need financed.”
All across the categories at this year’s Oscars, women were making history: Rachel Morrison became the first woman in Oscar history nominated in the cinematography category and Greta Gerwig is only the fifth woman ever nominated for Best Director.
Of course, let’s not forget that Meryl Streep is still the most nominated actor or actress ever with 21 Academy Award nods, the latest coming for her role as Katharine Graham in “The Post.”
Jordan Peele also made history on Sunday as he became the first African American writer to take home the award for Best Original Screenplay and the third person nominated for directing, writing and best picture.
“I stopped writing this movie about 20 times because I thought it was impossible and I thought it wasn’t going to work,” Peele said while accepting the award. “But I kept coming back to it because I knew, if someone let me make this movie, that people would hear it and people would see it.”
The Academy acknowledged some of their past wrongdoings through a Time’s Up montage during the show, which featured some of Hollywood’s stars discussing underrepresentation in films. The piece was introduced by actresses Ashley Judd, Annabella Sciorra and Salma Hayek — all of whom were among the women who accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct.
However, the Awards were not without blemishes; Gary Oldman — who was accused of domestic abuse in 2001 — was awarded the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.
Hollywood and the Academy may have shown progress during the 2017-2018 awards push, but if the 90th Academy Awards are any indication, the film elite still have a long way to go before the sexual harassment and racism that have plagued the industry are forgotten.
Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of Disney | ABC Television Group’s Flickr account.
Jarod Golub is a junior journalism major and can be reached at email@example.com.