After winning the Academy Award for best animated feature, “Coco” co-director Lee Unkrich summed up the spirit of the evening .
“Marginalized people deserve to feel like they belong,” he said. “Representation matters.”
Just two years after the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, the Academy’s efforts to increase diversity at the awards show seem to be paying off, at least somewhat.
The name of the game at the 90th Oscars ceremony was inclusion. It was a night of firsts.
This Oscars brought the first transgender presenter (Daniela Vega). The first sports star (Kobe Bryant) to win an Oscar (best animated short). The first black filmmaker (Jordan Peele) to be nominated for directing, writing and producing in the same year (for “Get Out”). Peele won the best original screenplay award — the first black writer to do so. “The Shape of Water” won for best picture and director.
The theme of the evening was underlined when Ashley Judd, Annabella Sciorra and Salma Hayek (all Harvey Weinstein accusers) introduced a moving presentation on representation in film, spotlighting such movies as “Get Out” and “Wonder Woman” and the 2018 movies (and possible future Oscar nominees) “Black Panther” and “A Wrinkle in Time.”
It was underlined further when Frances McDormand (after winning best actress for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”) gave the night’s most memorable speech, calling on all the women in the room to stand up together.
The ceremony, like the 2017 box office, served as a way forward for a Hollywood that’s not predominantly white and male.
In his acceptance speech for the original screenplay award, “Get Out” director Peele said, “I stopped writing this movie about 20 times because I thought it was impossible. I thought it wasn’t going to work.”
But it was possible. It did work.
Other notes and highlights:
» Emma Stone: “These four men and Greta Gerwig created their own masterpieces this year.”
» This was a year in which no film dominated. Overall, the riches were pretty spread out. “The Shape of Water” won four awards, “Dunkirk” won three and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” “The Darkest Hour” and “Blade Runner 2049” each won two. Meanwhile (ugh), the best films of last year — “The Florida Project” and “Lady Bird” — went home without a single win.
» Cinematographer Roger Deakins FINALLY took home an Oscar on Sunday, after 13 previous nominations and 13 previous losses. The shooter of “Blade Runner 2049” is behind some of the best-looking movies of the last 25 years: “Shawshank Redemption,” “Fargo,” “No Country for Old Men,” “Sicario” and “Skyfall.” It’s about time.
» Lakeith Stanfield (“Get Out”) getting his own bit was nice. Next year they should just let him host the show.
» A relatively tame show overall. In the end, Bonnie and Clyde handed out the right award to the right film. The closest thing the night had to a fiasco was the preview to the “Roseanne” reboot.