Recap: After 90 years, Oscars as awkward, forced, mildly inspiring as ever

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The Academy Awards ceremony  — an overblown and overly celebrated private industry awards night — was held for the 90th year on Sunday evening, and the ceremony included all the awkward comedy, forced political messages and sporadic moments of inspiration that the night is known for. Read below for some of the more noteworthy wins and moments from the 90th Oscars ceremony.

The politics


Yes, it’s important that people in the spotlight use their platform to do good. But, why does it always have to be so forced? Every headline-worthy topic from 2017 and 2018 was touched on in the speeches of the winners, presenters and the consistently unfunny Jimmy Kimmel. Everything from the “MeToo” movement to immigration was brought up by Hollywood stars and celebrities. Lupita Nyong’o and Kumail Nanjiani notably showed their support for DACA recipients during their presentation.

“Like everyone in this room and everyone watching at home, we are dreamers,” Nyong’o said. “We grew up dreaming of one day working in the movies. Dreams are the foundation of Hollywood, and dreams are the foundation of America.”

“To all the dreamers out there, we stand with you,” Nanjinani added.

Common, while performing the Oscar-nominated song “Stand Up For Something” with Andrea Day, called out both the National Rifle Association and President Donald Trump, saying, “Tell the NRA they in God’s way … A President that trolls with hate. He don’t control our fate because God is great.”

And, again, while these are worthy causes to discuss, it feels as if the stars feel like they need to mention these things out of necessity rather than the goodness of their hearts. Every time I hear an actor or actress mention feminism or Trump, I can’t help but think in the back of my head about how much more publicity and headlines the stars know that they’ll be privy to if they “take a stand.”

The only organic politically-related moment was Francis McDormand’s Best Actress acceptance speech, in which she instructed all women in the crowd to stand up.

She stated that “we all have stories to tell and projects to finance.” McDormand then concluded her speech by saying, “I have two words to leave with you tonight. Ladies and gentlemen: inclusion rider.” According to a Time Money article, Google searches regarding the meaning of those last two words spiked more than 5,000 percent since Sunday evening. Essentially, inclusion riders are stipulations in contracts that call for more gender and racial equality in industry projects, making McDormand’s mention of the riders actually relevant and meaningful.

The “comedy”

Another time-honored tradition of the Oscars is the awkward and painfully long-winded comedy segments. All of the presenters, for some reason, feel it necessary to crack forced jokes and comedy bits. Probably the most painful of these segments came from “Girls Trip” star Tiffany Haddish and comedian Maya Rudolph.

Sam Rockwell clearly got a kick out of it, but many of us at home, unfortunately, did not. The question of whether the Oscars are “too black” now felt like a lazily slapped together and overlong comedy bit. And, “overlong” is definitely the best word to describe their presentation. It went on and on and on and on and on. And, I almost turned the Oscars off.  Kimmell, of course, contributed to the terribleness of the comedy during the night. His opening monologue included hackneyed and dated jokes about Vice President Mike Pense and Trump.

“We don’t make films like ‘Call Me By Your Name’ for money,” Kimmel said during his monologue. “We make them to upset Mike Pence.”

He went on to say that the ceremony would induce a “tweet-storm from the president’s toilet,” and, since the Oscar statue is now 90 years old, it’s probably “at home right now watching Fox News.”


The winners  

Surprisingly, there were some unpredictable and well-deserved wins at the 90th Oscars ceremony.

Notably, Roger Deakins took home a long-overdue award for his breathtaking cinematographic work in “Blade Runner 2049.” The uniquely talented director of photography has been previously nominated for 13 Oscars for work on films such as Skyfall and Fargo. Blade Runner 2049 marks his first win.

Blade Runner 2049 also took home Best Visual Effects.

Another notable but unsurprising achievement was Jordan Peele’s win for Best Original Screenplay for his breakout hit, “Get Out.” Peele took the stage and said, “I stopped writing this movie about 20 times because I thought it wasn’t going to work.”

At the end of the awards season, “Get Out” managed to win more awards than any other film. The horror sensation ended up with a total of 53 award wins, including eight directing awards and six best actor awards, from several different award ceremonies.

Another awards season favorite “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” ended up with an unexpectedly low amount of wins, missing out on Best Original Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture. However, Sam Rockwell was able to nab Best Supporting Actor and, as stated above, Francis McDormand was able to accept Best Actress in spectacular fashion.

And, maybe the biggest twist of the night was Guriellimo Del Toro’s wins for both Best Director and Best Picture for “The Shape of Water.” Directors like Del Toro, who is known for sci-fi fantasy and action films, such as “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Hellboy” and “Pacific Rim,” rarely receive academy recognition.

Del Toro, when accepting his Best Director win, stated, “I am an immigrant … The greatest thing our industry does is to erase the lines in the sand.”

And, finally, an expected and, in my opinion, disappointing win went to Gary Oldman for his performance in “Darkest Hour.” While Oldman did, admittedly, do a great job in portraying famed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, his performance paled in comparison to that of Daniel Day-Lewis in “Phantom Thread.” Fortunately, Oldman’s speech was both classy and charming, leaving many audience members with a smile. He concluded his speech by thanking his almost 99-year-old mother and saying, “To my mother, thank you for your love and support. Put the kettle on. I’m bringing Oscar.”

For the full list of Oscar winners, click here.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Tayhlor Stephenson, email

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