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The Pioneer

There’s still some magic left to the Academy Awards

Juan Diaz,
Contributor

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On March 4, the red carpet was rolled out once again for the 90th Annual Academy Awards. The luxurious dresses and tailored tuxedos made their appearance at Hollywood’s most famous cinema ceremony.

However, the Oscars made a record for the worst viewership ratings. The 2017 Academy Award show had viewership of 32.9 million and this year had an average of 26.5 million television viewers, a 20 percent decline, according to an article by Fortune Magazine.

It’s an unfortunate decline in numbers, but as the saying goes: the show must go on.

Jimmy Kimmel returned once more to host the ceremony. If viewers remember, there was a mix-up in 2017’s Academy Award ceremony where “La La Land” was mistakenly granted the award for Best Picture that was intended for “Moonlight.”

Jimmy Kimmel made jokes about not messing up this year’s award show. Unfortunately Kimmel’s performance as Oscar night host was not only disappointing, but also just overall an unfunny performance. Some of the jokes seemed forced and didn’t seem risky enough to make the audience laugh. At least this year, Kimmel did not mess up the award for Best Picture.

Kimmel did have a recurring joke in which the person with the shortest award speech would win a jet ski. It turned out to be a real competition for the finale of the ceremony. The winner of the jet ski was costume designer for “Phantom Thread,” Mark Bridges, who had a speech of about 30 seconds.

Other highlights included “Coco” winning an Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film and for Best Song. Director Lee Unkrich thanked the people of Mexico for “Coco,” saying that the film would not exist for the country’s “endlessly beautiful culture and traditions.” He also went on to say that representation matters and that children deserve to see characters that look, sound and live like they do. Unfortunately, Co-Director Adrian Molina, could not be named by the Academy because of rules. The Academy can only name one director when it comes to announcing an Academy Award.

Another highlight was Jordan Peele winning an award for Best Original Screenplay for “Get Out.” His speech was light-hearted and deep at the same time. One thing that stood out was that Jordan Peele thanked the audience for watching the film in theaters and anybody who recommended the film to people. Peele understands that his film would not be where it is today if it were not for the fans.

Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” was also nominated for Best Director and Best Picture. Unfortunately he did not win in these categories, even if he did deserve the awards. “Get Out” was different from the other films that were nominated. The films nominated for Best Picture included “The Post”, “Dunkirk”, “The Shape of Water” and “Get Out.” The winner for this award went to “The Shape of Water.”

However, “The Shape of Water” didn’t stand out from any of the other films that were nominated. It felt like a typical Hollywood film that was not at all revolutionary.

“Get Out” was revolutionary and it was a provocative film that had symbolism riddled throughout. There is not a single prop, piece of dialogue, article of clothing, camera shot or scene that does not in some way tell us more about the story or characters through symbolism. It’s made exactly the way a film is supposed to be made. With purpose and with heart.

Although the award for Best Picture and Best Director went to “The Shape of Water,” Jordan Peele has proved himself to be a formidable film maker and has a very bright future ahead of him.

Another notable observation was the message from the MeToo movement. Ashley Judd, Salma Hayek and Annabella Sciorra, who all spoke the year before on Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct, stood in front of the audience and paid tribute to all of the women who go through sexual harassment in the workplace. Needless to say, Harvey Weinstein was not invited to the ceremony.

Frances McDormand also won Best Actress for her performance in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri.” She delivered a powerful speech in which she asked for all the women in the audience to stand with her and celebrate together as one.

Gary Oldman won the award for Best Actor for his performance in “Darkest Hour.” Oldman gave a heartfelt speech about the people who he was thanking, but he also thanked the country that he was in for the opportunities that it has given him, even if he is an immigrant from the UK.

The Academy also decided to present a movie montage made of past war films. These films included timeless war movie classics like “Saving Private Ryan,” “Full Metal Jacket,” “The Deer Hunter,” “Apocalypse Now” and “Black Hawk Down.” This was meant to pay tribute to all the men and women who have served in the military. Although it was short, it was still a very meaningful presentation to our veterans, reminding us that we have much to thank them for.

Overall the 90th Academy Awards night was an interesting watch, even though it didn’t have that movie magic it used to have a few years ago. Oscar night used to be more about the films themselves. We just don’t have that anymore. Fortunately, this year’s ceremony had bits and pieces of it sprinkled throughout, which still leaves hope for the future of Hollywood’s most famous night.

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There’s still some magic left to the Academy Awards