Monday, 23 February 2015

Important things that happened at this year's Oscars

Sometimes, the winners are the only thing that make the headlines. But sometimes they're not the most important things that happened. And the most important things to happen at the 87th Academy Award were about starting conversations, not picking up trophies.

So let's look at how the Oscars stage was used to tackle inequality, defeat stigma, and show unity.

Patricia Arquette and Women's Rights

Yeah, yeah so many women don't feel insubordinate to their male counterparts. But many do. And the reality is that a woman in this 2015 world does not earn equal wages or the same recognition as a man does for doing the exact same job.

The long ignored topic prompted this reaction from Meryl Streep.

Not only is sexism rampant in Hollywood, how many female led films did you see nominated for Best Picture? But Ageism is equally evident for female leads. Arquette was  lauded at the Golden Globes for proving 'that there are still great roles for women over 40 as long as you get hired when you’re under 40' by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

Graham Moore and Acceptance
You've probably never heard of Graham Moore, but last night he became an Academy Award winner for adapting the screenplay for The Imitation Game. In his speech he didn't thank the industry, or the actors. Instead, he reached out to break the stigma around suicide:
"In the brief time here what I want to do is say this: when I was 16 years old, I tried to kill myself because I felt weird and I felt different and I felt like I did not belong.
And now I am standing here, so I would like this moment to be for that kid out there who feels she’s weird or she’s different or she doesn’t fit in anywhere - yes, you do. I promise you do."
Watch his full speech here:

Dana Perry and Suicide
Another award winner, Dana Perry for best short documentary for Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press , used her stage time to further highlight the need for openness when it comes to mental health. Interrupting her fellow award collector, Dana said “We should talk about suicide out loud.”
Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry
She followed this up with reporters backstage by telling them that she lost her son Evan to suicide, and the best way to prevent suicide is by talking about it. Go Dana.

Eddie Redmayne and Disabilities
He won Best Actor, but he also dedicated his award to everyone around the world battling ALS. And it was truly beautiful because he acknowledges that he, along with the vast majority of the other people in the room, is 'a lucky, lucky man.'

There has been a lot of talk in the less-than-24hours passed so far that the Oscars failed to include LGBT people last night. That despite Neil Patrick Harris' best jokes, it failed to recognise black people. Or in fact people of any race other than white.

But the 2015 Oscars did make a huge leap in discussing gender inequality, mental illness and suicide, and in admitting that the vast majority of those present were male, white, straight, and without impairment.
So let's celebrate that.

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