I’ll admit it. I stayed up until 12:05 a.m. on Sunday to watch the entire 3 hours and 35 minutes of the 88th Academy Awards. It was long, funny, awkward and emotional. I thought Chris Rock did an impressive job of rising to the occasion and, as we all expected, truly speaking his mind. With a complete list of all white nominees, Rock addressed racism in Hollywood and the importance of creating roles for black actors to give them a chance. He incorporated this message into his monologue as well as into his various comedic bits throughout the show.
Another important issue got significant air time on Sunday night, and that issue was sexual assault. Through Brie Larson’s award-winning Room performance, Lady Gaga’s emotional and powerful “Til It Happens To You” ballad and through Best Picture winner Spotlight, addressing sexual assault was a theme throughout the night. When Spotlight won for Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture, the writers and director thanked the courageous team of journalists at The Boston Globe who brought the story to light and earned the newspaper the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service:
“[This award is] for all the journalists who continue to hold the powerful accountable and for the survivors, whose courage and will to overcome [their abuse] is an inspiration.”
Spotlight writers Tom McCarthy and Montgomery County, Pa. native Josh Singer (#MakeItMontco) used their winning moment to emphasize the importance of brave, investigative journalism and how it can help to enact change.
So for those who say that journalism is dead, this year’s Oscars helped to remind us of what true investigative journalism can do.
Speaking of survivors, during Lady Gaga’s performance, she was gathered on stage by real life survivors of sexual assault. If that didn’t make you cry, watch Brie Larson, who won her Oscar for portraying a survivor of sexual assault, hug every single survivor who was on stage with Gaga.
This year’s Academy Awards was rife with controversy, but it certainly got a conversation going about many different important issues. Movies should be fun but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t make us think, and like Vice President Joe Biden said, “It’s on us!”
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