The Academy Awards has a reputation for being less than inclusive to say the least, yet in the weeks before the show the criticism seemed even louder than usual, as the decades old debate over the lack of diversity reared its head once again, as Social Media helped launch the #OscarsSoWhite discussion back onto the forefront, as many criticized the fact that all 20 nominee slots had been filled entirely by white actors, something that had not happened since 1998.
Race wasn’t the only issue discussed throughout the evening, as many winners used their special moment to accept their award while also highlighting a number of social social issues. After winning the award for Best Actress, Julianne Moore made sure to mention Alzheimer’s disease, while Eddie Redmayne accepted his award for Best Actor before acknowledging those suffering from ALS, a nod to his portrayal of Stephen Hawking. Best Supporting actress winner Patricia Arquette made a plea for equal pay for women during her acceptance speech.
Those hoping that famed comedian Eddie Murphy would redeem himself for his awkward appearance during SNL’s 40th Reunion special were disappointed as he only came out to present, refusing to tell any jokes or repeat his appearance during the 1988 awards, when he went off the teleprompter to explain that Black Americans would “no longer ride in the caboose of society.”
Running long as usual, one of the brightest points of the show were it’s musical performances. Taking a break from her usual theatrical performances, Lady Gaga gave an incredible salute to “The Sound of Music,” singing beautifully in a reminder to America of just how talented she truly is.
Snubbed in every category but Best Original Song, though Ava DuVernay’s film Selma arguably did not receive the nominations that it deserved, it’s feature song “Selma” stole the show, as Common and John Legend united to perform the track before delivering potently eloquent acceptance speeches about the injustices still faced in present day. Salute