The 90th Academy Awards: A Night Of Change For Hollywood?

Seldom have the Oscars been more talked about for reasons other than their intended purpose – the winners. So it was some surprise that the 90th Academy Awards held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California, on Sunday night, was a charged-up affair with passionate voices speaking up in a most candid fashion. Be it the opening monologue from 2-time Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel, or the winner of Best Actress, Frances McDormand (for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”), one thing was clear – the #MeToo movement had left a deep impact on the psyche of Hollywood’s A-listers.

What started off in October 2017 with uncovering of sexual assault cases against Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein, (coming into public consciousness with a decade-old movement and catch-phrase, “Me Too”) soon spiraled into a barrage of complaints by other Hollywood A-list female actors – Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd, Jennifer Lawrence, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mira Sorvino, among countless others.

What is heartening to see in all of this is how this is not restricted to a women-only issue and male colleagues are also “speaking up” against such actions. Kimmel’s remarks on stage at Awards night are proof of that, as he described the Oscars statue as a “statue of limitations”, going on to add that “Oscar was the most respected, beloved man in Hollywood. He keeps his hands where you can see them, never says a rude word, and most importantly, no penis at all.

His remarks did crack up the folks at the Dolby Theatre, but also carried an undeniably serious message as it showed the amazing volley of support and awareness among Hollywood’s male fraternity of actors. Surprisingly, Kimmel’s antics were later blamed for being responsible for plunging the TRP’s of the 90th Oscars to an all-time low, though it was nothing short of a magic stroke by the talk-show host.

Other male actors are beginning to speak up about such incidents, giving rise to its exclusive hashtag #NotAllMen across social media. So when a few months ago, actor Matt Damon expressed his views in an interview to Business Insider on how “not all men” are perpetrators, he was trolled for his remarks. If we look at things in perspective, any form of naming and shaming should be encouraged, regardless of which quarter of society it comes from – men or women. It should be about inclusion, not exclusion. While it can be safely assumed that all men are not sexual predators, nobody is denying the fact that globally speaking, sexism is a predominantly male pursuit, either. Likewise, it is also important to realise that nobody is encouraging any form of negative behaviour, but at the same time as a society, we should realise that we should be more pro-active in tackling any form of negative behaviour at an early age.

As Actress and filmmaker Ava DuVarney also remarked after the awards ceremony, “Inclusion looks good on you Oscars”:

And like Kimmel further remarked on stage, “We can’t let bad behaviour slide anymore. The world is watching us, and we need to set an example.

Less than a year to go for the next Oscars ceremony, who knows what will make news next!