The Academy Awards Ceremony that took place last night is arguably Hollywood’s biggest night, where the movie industry’s most talented are recognized and celebrated. The evening was replete with political commentary, covering topics from Alzheimer’s disease to wage inequality and from incarceration to whistle blowing.
As I listened to those making impassioned pleas as part of their acceptance speech, I reflected on occasions where those mixing politics with their acceptance speech were actually booed by some dissenting audience members, poked fun at by later recipients, or summarily dismissed as inappropriate by a ceremony host.
Last night’s verbal outliers received broader acceptance.
Some may feel that an Academy Awards Ceremony is not the time or place to air political and social commentary, but in many ways, it’s surprising that more recipients don’t also give voice to their concerns, rather than only thanks, during their moment in the spotlight.
After all, the mere act of making a film…of telling a story…is in many ways a form of political or social message. No matter what your role in a film, you are choosing not be be silent about something that is important, whether that film is in the genre of Selma, that chronicles, in narrative format, Dr. Martin Luther King’s campaign to secure voting rights, or more along the lines of Citizenfour that explores, in documentary format, the Edward Snowdon/NSA Spying controversy.
If you dissect each film nominated for an award, they would be studies of human nature. In the case of a narrative or animated feature, you would find a compelling reality within the story. In the case of a documentary, you’d discover a compelling story within the reality.
Either way, the works, and most individuals involved in creating them, are doing more than plying a trade. They are following their passion, exercising free speech, sharing ideas and expressing democratic ideals.
Once that genie is out of its lamp, thankfully, there is no turning back.
While personally, I feel there are more appropriate platforms for airing political and social commentary than an awards ceremony, I am thankful to live in a country where those with a burning passion are free to share their thoughts, no matter the venue.
Note: This is an editorial by Carol White Llewellyn and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Management, Staff or Board of Directors of RCTV.
Photo credit: AMPAS, Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)