HOLLYWOOD—Are you ready for the Oscars? This year’s 89th Academy Awards will air Sunday, February 26, on ABC with host Jimmy Kimmel. Unlike other years, this year includes a diverse set of nominees- in contrast to recent honor rolls that sparked on Twitter #OscarsSoWhite protest. So we are finally progressing in the diverse nominees. Oscar is just in love with “La La Land.” The romantic musical starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling picked up a blockbuster 14 Academy Award nominations.
Hollywood loves any film that has a great script, is well directed, and has superb acting, that is the reason why it won 14 nominations. I’m not going to predict the winners, let’s just say, everyone is hoping that “La La Land,” wins. I can’t stress this enough, for the winners please keep politics out of your speeches. People are sick of listening to political speeches. The outcry against President Trump has spilled over to the awards shows, where acting winners such as Meryl Streep, Mahershala Ali and Emma Stone have subtly remarked about his rhetoric.
Back in 1973, instead of accepting his best actor statue for “The Godfather,” Brando sent Native American activist Sacheen Littlefeather to protest the misrepresentation of American Indians in Hollywood. Then two years later, the co-producer of the winning documentary feature “Hearts and Minds,” about the Vietnam War, read a telegram from the head of the North Vietnamese delegation to the Paris peace talks. “Greetings of friendship to all American people,”it read, spawning an Academy disclaimer delivered by Frank Sinatra, who said, “We are not responsible for any political reference made on the program.”
In 1978, Vanessa Redgrave the year before she won supporting actress for “Julia,” in which she played a woman murdered by the Nazis, the British actress narrated and funded a documentary called “The Palestinian.” As a result, Jewish protesters burned effigies of Redgrave, which she called out in her speech by deeming them “Zionist hoodlums.”
Fast forward to 1993, Tim Robbins and actress Susan Sarandon, the then-couple used their presenting stint to criticize the U.S. government for the internment of HIV-positive refugees in Cuba. Fellow presenter Richard Gere also made a human-rights plea, asking that the Tibetan people be freed of Chinese occupation. Then in 2002, Halle Berry won the Best Actress Oscar, being the first and only black woman to win the prize for “Monster’s Ball” star emphasized the award’s significance, proclaiming, “This moment is so much bigger than me.” She dedicated the honor to “every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened.”
Who could forget director Michael Moore in 2003? Picking up an Oscar for “Bowling for Columbine,” the outspoken filmmaker was booed when he railed against the Iraq War and said, “Shame on you, Mr Bush.” “Anytime you’ve got the pope and the Dixie Chicks against you, your time is up,” he said. Jared Leto in 2014, taking home supporting actor for playing a transgender woman in “Dallas Buyers Club,” Leto dedicated his award to AIDS victims and the “dreamers” watching in the Ukraine and Venezuela, both countries of political unrest. “As you struggle to make your dreams happen, to live the impossible, we’re thinking of you tonight.”
Two years ago, actress Patricia Arquette winner of “Boyhood,” won for Best Supporting Actress went viral with her passionate acceptance speech, which spoke on the wage gap between men and women in Hollywood. “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the USA,” Arquette said, earning huge cheers from Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez.
Last year Leonardo DiCaprio, who won for best actor for his role in “The Revenant,” used his acceptance speech to rally for global warming efforts. “Climate change is real, it is happening now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.” Besides the awards, the celebrities wearing their designer gowns, we all tune in to see if the A-listers cry and listen to their acceptance speeches. Keep it simple and from the heart. Try to avoid political speeches, seriously it’s getting old. You will always be remembered for that political speech, which turns the audience off.
Rose’s Scoop: The Oscar class photo has been released, and if you zoom in you’ll see Pharrell Williams in what looks like sweats. Most men are in suits and ties, but leave it to Pharrell to under-dress for the occasion.