It’s interesting how things work out sometimes. There were calls from black celebrities to boycott the Oscars this year, and I understood why. I don’t have time to go deeply into the pros or cons. But I felt the need to say this year’s Oscar ceremony may have been the best ever.
There is this elephant in the room: For the second year in a row, none of the major nominees are black or people of color. Examples, Straight Out of Compton and Concussion could and should have been nominated for Best Picture. Will Smith could and should have been nominated for Best Male Actor in a Leading Role. Some black celebrities are boycotting the Oscars in protest.
I think everyone knew Rock was going to take on that elephant, not because he was black but because he has made a career out of taking on the elephant of racism – not just in Hollywood but anywhere – making us think about it, and making us laugh at the same time. If you missed the ceremony, I highly recommend you watch his opening monologue.
DISCLAIMER: I have not seen any of these movies. I cannot comment on who deserved to be nominated or not. Any comments along those lines are simply what I have heard or read from other people. However I did see the awards ceremony, and Chris Rock was the perfect host.
Best Picture nominees – why 8?
I kept wondering, “Why eight nominees for Best Picture when you can have as many as ten?” The number of nominees for other categories: Director, Actor, Supporting Actor, etc. is fixed at five. But best picture can have anywhere from 5 to 10 nominees. If you can have ten, why not? It seems like you could fit Straight Out of Compton or Concussion in there. Heck, you could have fit Star Wars: The Force Awakens in there. I know they wouldn’t have won, but you could have at least nominated Star Wars and one other. It turns out those movies did not get the minimum number of votes in the first round to qualify for a nomination.
Dave Grohl, “Blackbird.” I’m already a huge fan of Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters. This year, Dave performed the Beatles “Blackbird” solo during the In Memoriam section. Again, perfect choice. As if I needed another reason to love Dave Grohl, who should have won a Grammy by the way. Dave, what do I have to do to get you to bring the boys to Greenville or Simpsonville?
Lady Gaga, “Till It Happens to You.” Vice President Joe Biden introduced Lady Gaga after saying a few words about sexual assault. He urged men to go to the It’s On Us website and sign a pledge promising to intervene if we think a sexual assault is about to happen. Gaga then performed “Till It Happens To You” and was joined by several survivors of sexual assault. You forget sometimes she really can sing. She knows how to entertain, and she knows how to draw attention to a cause she’s passionate about.
Sam Smith, “Writing’s on the Wall.” Part of the soundtrack for Spectre, Sam Smith received this award with Jimmy Napes, who co-wrote the song with Smith. In his acceptance speech, Smith said he thought he might be the first openly gay person to win an Oscar. Not true actually. There were at least seven openly gay/lesbian winners before. To be fair, he cited this from an unidentified interview with Sir Ian McKellen and qualified it with “If this is the case….” Well Sam, it’s not, but with a voice like that, I can forgive you. I even forgave you for stealing that song from Tom Petty.
Should there be separate male and female actor categories?
Rock brought this up during the monologue. “Think about it. There’s no real reason for there to be a men and women category in acting. Come on!…You know, Robert Deniro’s never said, ‘I’d better slow this acting down so Meryl Streep can catch up.’ No!”
Seriously, why not have 10 nominees for Best Actor and 10 for Best Supporting Actor. Same total number of nominees, just make them open to both men and women.
Other notable moments
Leo finally won. It’s about freaking time. He broke the record for retweets on Twitter.
Statement from Academy president Chery Boone Isaacs, promising greater diversity in the future. She said the Academy had taken concrete action but did not say what.
Could black actors have played these same roles? Tracy Morgan as the Danish Girl was hilarious.