If there’s one thing we will take away from the Oscars 2019 awards, it is how they went at the idea of Trump’s wall, one at a time. And beat the gong against bigotry and hate, and for acceptance and love.
Big words for what is just Hollywood and its nipped-and-tucked-and-costumed-and-botoxed denizens celebrating themselves? Yes, maybe. But that’s what we go to the movies for. To make us more, not less.
When presenter Barbara Streisand said, truth is precious, especially these days, her comment spoke to the post-truth world we live in. The big wins went to the people who have mostly been invisible in mainstream Hollywood, forget about making it on stage for the biggest entertainment show televised globally, even if it has been reporting falling audiences year on year. To be more inclusive, to be Oscars so black, brown, and all other hues, is the only way forward.
‘Green Book’ (read our review here) wasn’t the best film in the category. But the film, (with Viggo Mortensen in a starring role) which put a Black actor in the front seat ( Mahershala Ali won a supporting actor for the same film), and dissed in some quarters for glossing over the black experience, speaks to a time when Black Lives Matter needs to be more than just a bumper sticker tag.
The Best Director award to Alfonso Cuarón for ‘Roma’ (read our review here) was a cinch, and his win feels so, so right. Muchas gracias, said Cuaron, whose life experiences formed the basis of this black-and-white beauty of a film, seen through the eyes of a domestic worker. These are people who work for us, around us, and we do not see.
The Best Actor going to an actor who “plays a gay man, an immigrant, who lives his life unapologetically himself”? Rami Malek, who got so astonishingly into the skin of Freddie Mercury aka Queen, admitted himself that he may not have been the best choice, but he did, he did, rock it. (Read our review here)
Malek, himself a son of immigrants, first-generation American, said in his acceptance speech : part of my story is being written out right now.
Just the sight of first-time Academy winner Spike Lee, winning for the best adapted screenplay for his searing ‘BlacKkKlansman’ was a win. The real story of the first African-American cop fighting against the KKK, on which the movie is based, was set in the 70s. But it is a story which feels so here, so now.
‘The Favourite’ for which Olivia Colman won the Best Actress was nothing but a ‘women first’ film, front-lined by three top-notch actresses ( Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone were both nominated in the supporting category). Glenn Close didn’t win, and that was a surprise because she was in that it’s-her-time slot. It has been years of many-nominations-no-win for her, but the Academy did the right thing by honouring the great Colman, who is not as well known as she should be.
I was skeptical, like so many other people, of the interest-level of the no-host Oscar show, the annual Hollywood hoopla which awards the best cinema of the year gone by.
But I’m happy to report that the celebs who walked up to give the awards away became the honorary hosts without breaking a sweat. Any move that shaves off that extra hour from the awards night ( early morning for us in India) is to be lauded.
And oh yes, India got a mention at awards. ‘Period : End Of Sentence’, executive-produced by our own Guneet Monga, got the best short documentary award. The film raises the many horrendous taboos against menstruation, and cannot be more timely. ‘A period should end a sentence, not a girl’s education’.
Yes, I’ll take that, Oscars.