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The Oscars 2016: addressing important issues

Monday 29 February 2016, by SIGNIS

Brussels, February 29th, 2016 (IV/SIGNIS). Last night in Los Angeles, the 88th Ceremony of the Oscars was celebrated. This year’s ceremony was more political than usual, with important issues being addressed, mainly climate change and the lack of diversity in Hollywood.

There has been a controversy on the lack of diversity in the Oscar nominations this year. This has led to a boycott from famous actors, such as Will Smith or Spike Lee. This years’ host, however, was a black comedian: Chris Rock. He had to address this issue, and decided to do it using irony.

He started by saying “"Well I’m here at the Academy Awards. Otherwise known as the White People’s Choice Awards. You realize, if they nominated host, I wouldn’t even get this job! Y’all would be watching Neil Patrick Harris right now.”
He added that many asked him to boycott the ceremony as well. His answer to those people was that “They’re gonna have the Oscars anyway." They’re not gonna cancel the Oscars because I quit! “.

He then asked why this ceremony was important to boycott, since it is not the first time that there has been no black nominee: “You gotta figure that it happened in the ’50s, in the ’60s. I’m sure there were no black nominees some of those years. Say ’65, ’62 or ’63 — and black people did not protest! Why? Because we had real things to protest at the time. We were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won best cinematographer. (to read the entire speech, go here ).

A nother important issue has been addressed last night: climate change. Indeed, during his acceptance speech for the Oscar for Best Actor, Leonardo Di Caprio declared “Making ‘The Revenant’ was about man’s relationship to the natural world, the world that we collectively felt in 2015 as the hottest year in reported history — our production needed to move to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow,” he said. “Climate change is real. It is happening right now. It’s the most urgent threat facing our entire species and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.”

Dicaprio continued, “We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people out there who would be most affected by this. For our children’s children and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed. I thank you all for this amazing award tonight. Let us not take this planet for granted. I do not take tonight for granted.”

"Leo" was not the only one addressing this issue, Jenny Beavan, who won best costume design for “Mad Max: Fury Road,” also took the opportunity to talk about the environment. “I just want to say one quite serious thing, I’ve been thinking about this a lot, but actually it could be horribly prophetic, ‘Mad Max,’ if we’re not kinder to each other, and if we don’t stop polluting our atmosphere, so you know, it could happen,” Beavan said.

Finally, let’s add that Spotlight, by Tom McCarthy, was awarded with the best picture Oscar. You can read here the SIGNIS Statement about this film, which highlights the work of a journalist team revealing sexual abuses in the Catholic Church.

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