While the Academy Awards are full of showy moments and cringeworthy jokes, I do love seeing great filmmaking rightfully recognized. Last night was the 90th Oscars, and there were a lot of historic moments that made it feel like a milestone in the award.
There were a lot of firsts in the nominees and winners at yesterdays ceremony. Timothee Chalamet, the amazing 22 year old actor from the break out independent film Call Me by Your Name, had the opportunity to be the youngest Best Actor winner ever by quite a bit, with the current youngest being Adrien Brody, who won for The Pianist at 29. Another potential record breaker was Greta Gerwig, writer and director of Lady Bird. Her nomination alone was a first, being the only woman ever to be nominated for her directorial debut, and if she won she would’ve been the second woman to win this honor (the only one is Kathryn Bigelow who won in 2010). Unfortunately, neither of these talents ended up winning, but it is hard to be too disappointed, because there were still a lot of amazing, historical wins. Jordan Peele triumphed over the Best original screenplay category, being the first African American writer to ever win. For best Adapted Screenplay, James Ivory became the oldest person ever to win an Oscar, at an astounding 89 years of age for Call Me by Your Name! Roger Deakins has been “cursed” in a sense and has gotten a grand total of 13 nominations for Best Cinematography but has never won. Luckily, this year he broke his streak, taking home the Oscar for Blade Runner 2049, his 14th nomination.
While there were a lot of great moments when handing out the oscars, with the plethora of first time occurrences, there were some meaningful moments in the speeches. With an obvious highlight on the “Time’s Up” movement, many people had things to say about women in the film industry. The fiery and delightfully weird Francis McDormand gave an empowering speech and ended it by saying “I have two words to leave with you tonight, ladies and gentlemen: inclusion rider”. An inclusion rider is something that actors and actresses can put into their contracts that guarantees racial and gender equality on the set of movies. Adding this to her speech definitely added awareness among people not in the movie industry. I personally didn’t know what it meant, so I googled it right when she said it, as I’m sure many people all over the world did. Another powerful speech was Guillermo del Toro. While giving the Best Picture speech Del Toro stated the following: “I am an immigrant the greatest thing our art does and our industry does is to erase the lines in the sand. We should continue doing that when the world tells us to make them deeper”. Del Torro, who was born in Mexico, won both Best Director and Best Picture. With his wins, along with Coco winning best animated and Chile’s A Fantastic Woman winning Best Foreign Film, it was an all around beautifully triumphant night for Latin America.
Overall, I enjoy watching the Oscars. I love seeing the little videos they make of clips from legendary movies throughout the years, I love seeing the emotions of the winners, and I love seeing the celebration of beautiful films. While it is often cheesy and about an hour too long, for a film buff, its just something you can’t miss.