OPINION: 2018 Oscars call for entertainment diversity

This year marked the 90th Academy Awards. While the ratings dropped 19% from last year’s awards, talk of diversity, sexual assault, the Time’s Up movement and women’s rights riddled the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 4th. Only two years after #OscarsSoWhite trended on Twitter, this year’s nominations were some of the most diverse in the Academy’s history. The winners also echoed calls for more diversity in the film industry.

As always, presenters made political statements; this year some regarding women in film, immigration reform and the Presidency. Along with this year having some of the most diverse nominations, awards were given to some of the most culturally aware films and some of the most influential men and women in the film production world.

Award recipients this year included movies like Coco, Icarus, The Shape of Water and individuals such as Guillermo del Toro, Jordan Peele, Roger A. Deakins and Frances McDormand.

Animated Feature Film winner Coco stood out this year due to its significance in Mexican culture as it followed a young boy struggling to make music despite his family disapproving of the career path. The colorful characters represented the celebration of the Day of the Dead and were voiced by several Mexican-American actors and actresses. Coco was a fun and creative animated feature that is right for every age. It is not a surprise that it rose to the top this year.

While most of the 2018 wins were predicted by film buffs worldwide, Jordan Peele’s win for Original Screenplay Writing surprised critics. He became the first African-American to win an Oscar for his Original Screenplay for the mystery horror feature Get Out. The film addressed interracial relationships and brought forward a “satirical critique of systematic racism.” Its cultural influence in today’s world has brought more attention to the race issues that still prevail in America.

Icarus, winner for Documentary Feature, follows Bryan Fogel as he sets out to uncover the truth about doping. It begins as a documentary about doping in cycling specifically, but through interviews with the former director of Russia’s national anti-doping laboratory, Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, the documentary allows the world of dirty sports to come forward. Fogel’s work on the documentary later forced the Russian Olympic Team to be suspended from the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

Breaking racial boundaries once more this year at the Oscars, Guillermo del Toro took home an award for Directing and for Best Picture on his fantasy feature The Shape of Water. Along with his two wins, del Toro was nominated for Original Screenplay Writing. del Toro is a Mexican film director, screenwriter and producer who became critically acclaimed for his work on The Devil’s Backbone, Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth and Pacific Rim. His win, along with Coco’s and the Foreign Language Film being from a Latin American country, Latino representation at this year’s awards was beyond impressive.

Every year the Oscars set the tone for the entertainment industry and this year’s awards have set the bar high. Despite the President’s disliking of the award show, we are sure that 2018 will bring even better movies and talented actors and actresses to big screens all around the world.

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