Change Is Hard At The 2018 Oscars

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Since my first blog post is the day after the Academy Awards, I of course have to talk about that. What was really remarkable was just how much seemed the same in spite of the many ways the industry is changing. Sure, everyone acknowledged the (lone mostly) women in each category who were nominated, but it was also pretty easy to predict who would win. If you really wanted a ceremony that could deliver suprises and even some revolutionary moments, you'd have to check out the Spirit Awards, which awarded the prize for Best Feature to “Get Out.” Sure, that was also what I was hoping would win Best Picture at the Oscars, but at the same time, what were the chances of that?

There was plenty to criticize about the ceremony, such as accused rapist Kobe Bryant winning for his self-congratulatory short “Dear Basketball.” Kimmel was also the completely wrong host for this night, and all the montages and gags didn't feel nearly good enough to cut so many speeches short, especially when some of them seemed to have something worth hearing.

That said, there were a few remarkable moments, one of which included none of the five best actress nominees talking to Ryan Seacrest, who has a sexual harassment claim against him. There was also Jordan Peele winning for Get Out, apparently the first African-American to do so. Plus, it made his reunion with his comedy partner Keegan-Michael Key feel epic. Many of the female presenters were great too, the best of which were Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph, who may just co-host next year's Oscars. Hopefully people still remember an idea this great when that time rolls around. There was the shout-out to Time's Up, made more powerful by the fact that it was made by three of Weinstein's most prominent accusers: Ashley Judd, Annabella Sciorra, and Salma Hayek. Keala Settle also gave a great performance of “This Is Me,” which was both entertaining and inspiring.

But the best moment IMO came courtesy of Frances McDormand's acceptance speech which somehow managed to be genuine, funny, and informative. She asked all the female nominees to stand, jokingly singling out Meryl Streep, saying that if she did it, the others would follow. While it was striking that there were so few in the room, it was also a touching show of solidarity, as McDormand pointed out that they all had projects that could use funding and support. There was also her mention of an inclusion rider, which is a contractual obligation for a movie's cast and crew to be diverse. To get a sense of how much needs to be done, here's the a look at just how much women get to speak in past Oscars films, courtesty of the BBC:

However, unlike the aforementioned Spirit Awards, or even the Globes, the Oscars this year didn't seem to be able to much stand for anything, despite having a lot to be proud of in terms of representation. It isn't near enough, but it is remarkable how little the most traditional Oscar bait movies like “Phantom Thread,” “The Post,” and “Darkest Hour,” were discussed. Nope, this year it was all about movies such as “Get Out,” “Three Billboards,” “Lady Bird,” and the actual best pic winner, “The Shape of Water.” All of these films entertained us as much as they genuinely moved us, made us think, and in some cases, provoked some very extreme reactions, some so extreme that voters refused to even watch them.

In other words? The Oscars had a lot to be proud of. They just had to commit to it, and they weren't quite ready.