2017 Oscars Overview

Recap Of Oscar Award Nominations, Winners, Events and Changes Regarding Hollywood Whitewashing

Alex Reynolds, Staff Writer

In light of last year’s controversy, the 2017 Oscars had made major changes that resulted in much more diversity at the award show this year.

A year ago, the Oscars were catching a lot of heat due to a lack of diversity among the nominations. Literally every single nominee across all categories were white. However, this year there was much more diversity with multi-category nominated films such as Moonlight, Hidden Figures, Fences and Lion, who all have predominately minority casts.

“I feel diversity in the Oscars are very important and it gives other races a chance to be recognized”, said Junior Josh Deville.

This increase in diversity may have come in response to the backlash following the 2016 awards. The Oscars committee, who makes decisions on nominations and winners, made a statement days after the controversy broke out.

“In a unanimous vote Thursday night (Jan. 21), the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences approved a sweeping series of substantive changes designed to make the Academy’s membership, its governing bodies, and its voting members significantly more diverse,” the Oscars committee’s statement said.

Moonlight, directed by Barry Jenkins, will be held up as the poster child of new Oscar diversity as it features a fully african american cast. The film won big scoring golden statues in best picture, best supporting actor, and best adapted screenplay.

Awards shows, create a platform for some of the world’s most influential celebrities to speak out about important issues in their acceptance speeches. This years Oscars were no different. Of course there were plenty of Trump jokes from comedian host Jimmy Kimmel, as well as the overall theme of unity in dividing times expressed by various actors and actresses. However, no politically charged demonstration was stronger than the director Asghar Farhadi. Farhadi, whose film The Salesman won best foreign film, did not attend the award ceremony in protest of President Trump’s travel ban on his home country of Iran.

La La Land was nominated for a record tying 14 Oscars, which ties the record for nominations by a single movie in a year (tied with Titanic (1997) and All About Eve (1950).) However, La La Land only came away with six awards including best actress, cinematography, and score.

The box office was dominated by comic book movies. In 2016 four out of the top ten highest grossing movies in the United States were comic book movies. However this box office success did not translate the critical success in the eyes of the committee, with only two nominations from comic book movies this year.

However, despite the great speeches and tributes, this year’s Academy Awards will be shrouded in controversy. At the end of the night with only the award for best picture left to announce, Warren Beatty announced La La Land as the winner for best picture, when the actual winner was Moonlight. The room was on their feet to applaud La La Land until confusion arose on stage. Once the mix-up was resolved the audience in attendance and watching at home were left in total shock.

The 2017 Oscars were a great and much needed breath of fresh air of diversity in Hollywood. Seven African Americans were nominated for individual awards and two took home golden statues, which is significant when compared to the zero African American nominations from a year ago. One can only hope that this trend continues in Hollywood so that we all can celebrate the diversity among these talented people.