This year’s Oscars closed out the 2018 award season with a bang and paved a way for more diversity in filmmaking for the years to come
The 90th Academy Awards were this past Sunday on ABC, and if you’re anything like us, you were counting down the days to the 90th Academy Awards, or Oscars, depending on what you prefer to call it. This year’s host was once again, Jimmy Kimmel and took place at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, California. Aside from Kimmel hosting, he also gave regular moviegoers the time of their lives. During the broadcast, Kimmel gathered a group of actors including Ansel Elgort, Armie Hammer, Lupita Nyong’o, Gal Gadot, Guillermo del Toro, Margot Robbie, and more, to walk over to the Chinese Theater across the street and surprise moviegoers who were watching a screening of A Wrinkle In Time. Gal Gadot walked in the theater with Kimmel carrying a bucketful of candy and snacks and the rest of them followed to throw snacks to the crowd. They even had a hotdog cannon of all things. It could be argued that the humor bits by Kimmel takes away from the professionalism and seriousness of the Academy Awards, but it was fun, right?
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The Oscars were filled with surprising, funny, and politically charged moments and was definitely a memorable show compared to recent years. In case you’ve been living under a Shape of Water sized rock, spoilers ahead. If you hadn’t guessed based on the other award shows leading up to the Oscars, Shape of Water pretty much dominated nearly every category it was nominated for, including Guillermo del Toro for Best Director, Best Score, and took the cake, and candles, winning Best Picture. They weren’t the only ones with a big night, however. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and I, Tonya had wins parallelling nearly every other award show. The surprising and heartfelt moments that made us, and Twitter, pleased, was with Jordan Peele finally winning for Best Original Screenplay for Get Out, and Call Me By Your Name winning Best Adapted Screenplay. Peele made history becoming the first black screenwriter to win best original screenplay, and Shape of Water’s Best Picture win is the first film with a female lead to win in 13 years.
Now for the last time this award season, let’s meet our roundtable:
Anthony (@AnthonyHolic) – Anthony Covino — Longtime moviegoer, die hard Oscar prognosticator
Christina Marie (@LCMarie19) – BlackGirl BookNerd & Musical Enthusiast, and Diversity Advocate for Literature & Visual Arts
Callistawolf (@callistawolf) – Longtime Film and TV nerd, shipper, writer of stories (and sometimes TV recaps at Just about Write)
Stephanie (@hemiornegranger) – Student, I love books and series, and I’m always on Twitter freaking out for my idols
Gigi (@trilliaventuras) – Mom to triplets. Passionate, my glass is either full or not there at all. Sci-Fi nerd. Drooler over Red Carpet pre-show ceremonies. Fangirl extraordinaire
1. For the final time of the year, actors, directors, and everyone in between graced the Oscars red carpet. From Timothée Chalamet having the time of his life to Tiffany Haddish trying to meet Meryl Streep. What was your favorite moment or look on the red carpet and why?
Anthony (@AnthonyHolic): First off, I’m thrilled to be here as part of the Oscar roundtable! Thanks for inviting me. My favorite red carpet look was the return of color to the red carpet. From Allison Janney’s bright red Reed Acra gown (adorned with over $4 million Forevermark diamonds) to Viola Davis’ hot pink Michael Kors stunner, every color seemed to be represented on the carpet!
Christina Marie (@LCMarie19): My favorite moment of the red carpet was probably Timothée Chalamet being surprised by his old teacher and some of the students. I just simply love the concept of never forgetting where you come from. And Timothée, though still so young, is such a humble and sweet guy. It’s wonderful to see those moments.
Callistawolf (@callistawolf): Actually, my favorite moment was easily Tiffany Haddish period, but particularly her meeting Meryl Streep. I admired her boldness and thought “Well, now’s the chance, right? If there was ever a year to introduce herself to Meryl, it’s probably this year.” And she took that opportunity, bless her. I also loved her showing off her gown and explaining the cultural and familial significance it held for her. Basically, the woman is a delight and I really hope we’ll be seeing more of her in the future. She’s like a breath of fresh air. I give a runner-up thumbs up to Sandra Bullock reuniting with her “Practical Magic” co-star Nicole Kidman. Maybe it’s time for a sequel?
Stephanie (@hemiornegranger): My favorite moment was seeing celebrities’ looks and freaking out when my favorite celebs took pictures together. Especially like Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira, who looked beautiful by the way.
Gigi (@trilliaventuras): The red carpet is a great moment for celebs to show their support for important issues. Daniel Kaluuya correcting a reporter and Ryan Seacrest’s awkward experience come to mind, but let’s get real, I’m here for the funny and the fashion. Jennifer Lawrence “flying” the red carpet, Ansel Elgort jumping for pics was hilarious, and don’t even get me started on Tiffany Haddish going over a red velvet rope trying to meet Meryl Streep. Sandra Bullock and Emma Stone both looked spectacular and I was going to say Lupita Nyong’o, but really, the entire cast of Black Panther was dreamy. But my very favorite moment, though not technically a red carpet moment, had to be Rita Moreno wearing the same dress 56 years later.
2. Jimmy Kimmel hosted the Oscars again this year and from the moment he started his monologue, he addressed last year’s Best Picture mishap as well as the #MeToo and Time’s Up campaigns. What did you think of Jimmy Kimmel as a host this year?
Anthony: They always say that being the Oscar host is a thankless job. Most people will criticize whatever path the host takes and will agree or disagree with jokes/comedy bits, etc. I think he did a fair job of keeping the show moving and poked fun at the Academy’s mishap from 2017. While every joke or bit may not have landed, he managed to always be the most liked guy in the room.
Christina Marie: Jimmy Kimmel is an okay host. He’s a very safe choice, but he IS very likable. I liked some of his bits throughout the night, while others I could have done without. Overall, I wouldn’t mind a different host next year but I won’t be upset if the Academy asks him to do it again.
Callistawolf: Like last year, I enjoyed Jimmy. He kept the show moving along while making it interesting. I like the little bits he included, like the jet ski giveaway and going across the street to meet a movie audience. He’s a good host, able to balance being funny and entertaining while also being authentic and bringing up real issues.
Stephanie: Jimmy Kimmel was great! He had sarcasm in the right places and tackled several important issues in a fun and relaxed way without letting the show become a complete joke.
Gigi: I liked Jimmy Kimmel. His opening speech was funny and he was an overall good host. Some of his jokes fell a little flat (asking Steven Spielberg for pot comes to mind) and I think the whole “surprising people across the street” thing was a little forced. But he was solid, made fun of himself and had the best intentions ever with his jet ski giveaway.
3. Many of the presenters of the night mentioned the #MeToo and Time’s Up campaign, all while delivering punchlines. Which of the presenters was your favorite and why?
Anthony: I love presenters that come out and make their appearance memorable. One of my favorites was the year Will Ferrell and Jack Black sang “Get Off the Stage” while presenting Best Song. Simply classic. I loved the rapport between Maya Rudolph and Tiffany Haddish; it reminds me of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. I didn’t care much for Seth Meyers hosting the Golden Globes, so I would be on board for them to host the Globes. They would fit right in with that party vibe.
Christina Marie: My favorite presenters honestly had nothing to do with the #MeToo or Time’s Up movement, though I was so happy to see such a huge presence and support for it. My favorite presenters were Daniela Vega, when she introduced Sufjan Stevens’ performance and Tiffany Haddish & Maya Rudolph, both of whom I pick for the 91st Oscars hosts!
Callistawolf: I really enjoyed the Star Wars actors (and BB-8), actually. But that could just be because I enjoy Mark Hamill so much. I also really loved Jane Fonda and Helen Mirren. But I have to say that the best was undoubtedly Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph. I would love to see those two star in a movie together.
Stephanie: Oh, I can’t pick just one. There were so many amazing people that came on stage, and I’m a fan of everyone! But, Emma Stone and Sandra Bullock were incredible, I loved the indirect “these four men and Greta Gerwig” joke Emma made and “here are the four men and one trailblazing woman” that Sandra made. I laughed way too much and it was great.
Gigi: Sandra Bullock. Sandra Bullock, hands down. She was awesome and understated and unexpected and so subtle. It may have been, at least party, scripted, but it didn’t feel that way and it was great.
4. One award show, so many speeches. Which speeches were your favorite and why?
Anthony: I loved Sam Rockwell’s speech! Very nostalgic in regards to his parents love for movies and giving his co-workers props. In the end he thanked one of his inspirations, Philip Seymour Hoffman. Allison Janney killed with that opening line of her speech. Frances McDormand owned the night with her Best Actress acceptance speech. It will be talked about for years to come.
Christina Marie: No one really moved me this year, but I greatly enjoyed Jordan Peele, Guillermo del Toro and the powerhouse, Frances McDormand. Each of them at some point in their speeches, had me nodding, smiling and relating to their words. Those are the speeches I connect to the most!
Callistawolf: My absolute favorite was Frances McDormand’s speech. I’m sure I’m not the only one to say so. She blew me away asking all the other female nominees to stand up, then asking everyone to employ these talented women. What a moment. I hope years from now we’ll be replaying that speech over and over again.
Stephanie: Definitely Frances McDormand. She is a strong and incredible woman! And I loved when she asked to all the women to stand up. It was amazing and beautiful.
Gigi: I really thought they weren’t going to cut them with music, but it didn’t happen. I thought people were going to shorten them if only as a joke for the jet ski, that didn’t happen either. So I did what I usually do and tune most of them out. But Frances McDormand celebrating women and Guillermo del Toro celebrating Latinos was so powerful that they made me listen.
5. What did you think of this year’s Oscar winners? Were you surprised by any of the wins or felt like others were snubbed?
Anthony: The acting categories have pretty much been locked in for weeks. Frances McDormand, Gary Oldman, Allison Janney and Sam Rockwell all earned Golden Globes, SAG and BAFTA honors. For any to lose at this point would be shocking. The last category, Best Picture, held the most shock since it could have been “Get Out”, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” or “The Shape of Water.” The latter pulled off the win, which likely happened due to the nature of the preferential ballot. Oh, and Kobe Bryant: Oscar winner? You can’t make this stuff up!
Christina Marie: I wasn’t necessarily surprised as much as I was disappointed. While I expected Gary Oldman, I was really rooting for Timothée. While I expected Allison Janney, I thought Leslie Manville was robbed. And The Shape of Water just…just no. I’m still not truly okay with that one. It was a weirdly entertaining film, but… I would have taken any other win (except Phantom Thread because that movie was terrible — minus Leslie!)
Callistawolf: For the most part, the awards went as I expected, or at least in a way that I found the outcomes to be mostly satisfying. It really helps to see as many of the nominees as possible, something I try to do every year. That said, I really wanted to see “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman win Best Song. I knew it was a strong category this year, but I really did feel that song isn’t just about the movie it’s in–it’s about our lives right now. But if it had to lose, I’m glad it was to the song from Coco. Coco was a beautiful movie and absolutely deserved Best Animated Feature. The song was lovely, for sure, but it didn’t resonate with me like “This is Me” did. Still, I’m happy for the winners and for the many Latinx fans who were so happy to see it win.
Stephanie: I think that all them deserved the win, except Gary Oldman and Kobe Bryant. In the middle of campaigns supporting women they rewarded two male abusers. I thought it was horrible. Was the worst part of the Oscars for me.
Gigi: The winners were a surprise to absolutely no one, they were exactly what was expected. I feel that, instead of having more nominees the Oscars should add more categories, at least separating drama from, I guess not drama, if they are serious about giving more people the chance to win. Comedy, action and now comic, are completely different and sometimes I would like the actors that make me laugh, recognized for their hard work too. The same can be said for comic movies, Dark Knight was a masterpiece of that category and Logan’s screenplay adaptation from a very dissimilar comic was awe inducing but they will never stand a chance going up against drama.
6. The big winners of the night followed with past award shows of the year with Shape of Water leading the awards. What did you think of their win?
Anthony: The Guilds pretty much foreshadowed the wins for Sunday night. Once that buzz built, none of them could be stopped. As I mentioned, Shape of Water benefited from the preferential ballot. It won the Producers Guild in the same manner. The PGA is the only other guild to vote using the preferential ballot. The tea leaves were there.
Christina Marie: The Shape of Water won’t be remembered in the long run. I just felt like the Academy, as they often do, give these wins to the same types of films. I’m happy for Guillermo del Toro’s directing win (took me some time to get over that too), but… I’m ready for the Academy to go against the grain.
Callistawolf: I know it gets reduced to the crudest of terms but I actually really enjoyed The Shape of Water. It was a beautiful movie with lovely characters, an enchanting story, sweet music and an engaging plot. What more does one want from a Best Picture? I enjoyed it far more than I did Three Billboards. Yes, it was a bit absurd but in the most fanciful and delightful way possible. I’d said to my husband after the film ended “this movie is so 2017”. I just felt it really encapsulated what that year was. It was kind of horrifying and brutal in parts but also absurd and strangely beautiful at times. Really, I wish more people would give it a chance.
Stephanie: I had not seen that movie yet, but everyone is talking very highly of it! I hope to see it soon, and now am I’m excited to and can’t wait after their win!
Gigi: It was practically Golden Globes 2.0 with Get Out standing out as the only new one, it was still fun to see the winners receiving their award.
7. Overall, what was your favorite moment from this year’s Oscars and why?
Anthony: My favorite moments of any Oscar show is the moment the winners are announced. The reaction of the winners could never be replicated or fabricated. Their lives are forever changed by 5 small words: “And the Oscar goes to…” This is what I live for. Is it February 24, 2019 yet?!
Christina Marie: Probably seeing James Ivory and Jordan Peele right after the other. Call Me By Your Name and Get Out are the two films that I had the most emotional investment in. CMBYN’s story connected with me in a way that a lot of films struggle to. And Get Out is simple the most creative and almost tangible experience of what it’s like to be black in America… in a fantastical horrific way. Get Out scared me on a level that I wasn’t expecting. CMBYN hurt and healed me in a way I didn’t know I needed. So… it was a joy to see these films win their well-deserved awards. And it was especially heartwarming to see a black man win an Oscar for writing.
Callistawolf: This is a tough call. But I’m going to have to go with Keala Settle’s “This is Me” performance. Every time that woman performs that song live, I have chills on top of chills. And the way she engaged the entire audience in that theater, got them on their feet. I’m emotional even now just remembering it! That’s how I’m able to keep myself content with them losing the award. They may have lost the statue but in my mind, they won the night with that performance. Absolutely stunning.
Stephanie: My favorite moment was Jennifer Lawrence jumping over the chairs to talk to Meryl Streep. Also, when Gal Gadot and Margot Robbie were holding hands and smiling–Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn met! They are amazing and fun women and I just love them!
Gigi: Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph’s audition to co-host next year’s’ Oscars. I kid, but really, they were funny and fresh and new and so over themselves. It was absolutely delightful.
Final Verdict: The 2018 Oscars was one for the books and the presenters, winners, and stars sent a powerful and much-needed message.
The 2018 Oscars was an incredible night for actors, directors, screenwriters, and everyone in between. After the fall of last year’s Best Picture winner screw-up paired with the sexual harassment problem in Hollywood, the Academy had a lot to prove. Kimmel, however, proved successful. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway returned again to present the Oscar for Best Picture, and we all hoped there wouldn’t be a screw-up again. Good news for them and the Academy, it was smooth sailing except for someone trying to speak after Guillermo Del Toro was cut off. And when Frances McDormand won for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, she created a powerful moment when she asked all the female nominees to stand up. And it left the rest of the world wondering what an inclusion rider is.
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Diversity shined through at this year’s Oscars. Not only for African American and Latinx actors and filmmakers, but for women as well. While there is still a lack of women nominated in leading positions within films, like Best Director, there are slow improvements in diversity overall in Hollywood. Salma Hayek, Ashley Judd, and Annabella Sciorra introduced a package for ‘A New Path Forward,’ where several nominees spoke about this ongoing issue and highlighted their films, including Mudbound’s Ava DuVernay, Get Out, and Greta Gerwig, the director of Lady Bird who is the fifth woman ever nominated for the category. Kumail Nanjiani put it well when he said, “Some of my favorite movies are movies by straight white dudes–about straight white dudes. Now straight white dudes can watch movies starring me and you relate to that. It’s not that hard–I’ve done it my whole life.”
The Oscars made history in many ways. In addition to what we have already mentioned, Guillermo del Toro became the fourth Mexican director in five years to win the Oscar for Best Director, Daniela Vega became the first transgender actor to present at the Oscars, and Robert Lopez who won for Best Song for Coco’s “Remember Me” became the first person to be an EGOT–TWICE! James Ivory, a.k.a., that guy wearing a tux with Timothée Chalamet’s face on it, became the oldest Oscar winner ever at 89. Will underrepresented races and women be afforded the same representation as white men in the award shows to come? It clearly seemed like this was the case and became a large part of discussion for the several presenters of the night. It looks like we will need to wait until 2019 to find out!