Let’s face it: This year’s Oscars telecast was, to put it bluntly, exceedingly dull. We as viewers were actually forced to focus on the nominees and the winners. Where were the selfies and the pizza deliveries? Who broke the Internet? Where were the outrageously funny jokes? In fact, if you didn’t watch the Academy Award-nominated films this year, you would have been bored to tears. Even Lady Gaga, who has a tradition of shocking her audiences, played it safe with a traditional ball gown and sang a medley tribute to Rodgers’ and Hammerstein’s Sound of Music.
So why should we care about the Oscars at all, then?
A Few Stirring Moments in a Sea of Dull
Here’s why we should care:
Because when Patricia Arquette accepted her award for Best Supporting Actress for the movie Boyhood, she made a point to say that all women need to be paid equally. This is especially poignant because Arquette herself a single mother, played a struggling single mother in the 12-year project that was Boyhood.http://youtu.be/L-EmDy3w1X8
Because when Graham Moore, the winner for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game, stood up to accept his Oscar, he gave one of the most moving acceptance speeches of the night. After sharing that he had tried to kill himself at the age of 16 because he felt weird and that he did not belong, he said: “I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she’s weird or she’s different or she doesn’t fit in anywhere. Yes, you do … Stay weird. Stay different, and then when it’s your turn and you are standing on this stage, please pass the same message to the next person who comes along.”http://youtu.be/FOgkMUVCnhk
Because when a movie about the legendary Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t even garner nominations for its director Ava DuVernay and star David Oyelowo, Common and John Legend belted out a stirring performance of the movie’s theme song “Glory.”http://youtu.be/c94IFE_cWYQ
Then, while accepting the Best Original Song award for “Glory,” Legend reminded us of how far we still have yet to go in the struggle for freedom and justice, as he referred to the number of African American men who are incarcerated.
Missing in Action: Diversity
Perhaps one of the most awkward aspects of this year’s Oscars were the self-referential jokes about the lack of diversity. When are these jokes just not funny anymore? According to a study conducted by the Los Angeles Times, of the 5,765 voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences:
- Nearly 94% of the members are Caucasian and 77% are male
- Blacks comprise about 2% of the membership
- Latinos comprise less than 2% of the membership
- The median age of voting members is 62
- People younger than 50 comprise just 14% of the membership
All in all, Neil Patrick Harris did an acceptable job as host, the team behind the song “Everything is Awesome” arguably stole the show and we all now know that actresses want to be asked about more than just their Oscar gowns (#askhermore).
Let’s all hope that in a few years we can look back on the current lack of diversity in the Oscars as a bygone era. And, while we’re at it, may we have Ellen DeGeneres back as host?