The Oscars seem to get more controversial with each passing year. All the front runners have had some bad press ensnaring them in some form or another. While this may be seen as simply the bitter and fierce PR campaigns run by the studios backstabbing each other, many of these controversies have negatively effected the film industry in one way or another.
Whether it was the decision to go host-less after Kevin Hart’s departure following backlash over his homophobic remarks that were resurfaced from years ago or Viggo Mortensen having to apologize for a racial slur he used in press for his film ‘Green Book’ or the fact that Bohemian Rhapsody’s director Bryan Singer was fired after he was accused of multiple instances of sexual misconduct and is being sued for allegedly raping a 17-year-old boy.
Thankfully there are some much-needed good news to report at this year’s Oscars. From the presenters to the winners, this year's ceremony have been more inclusive than in the past. For example, some of the presenters spoke in Spanish and history was made, with Ruth Carter becoming the first African American woman to win an Oscar for costume design.
Peter Ramsey being the first black director to win for an animated film with "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse." The latter featured the first Afro-Latina Spider-Man and one of the writers of the screenplay mentioned the importance of inclusion in his acceptance speech.’ Period. End of Sentence’ won best short documentary about menstruation – not a traditional choice for the usual stuffy Academy.
Spike Lee won best adapted screenplay for co-writing Black Klansman. Making films for more than thirty years, Lee has been a champion of independent filmmaking with masterpieces such as "Malcolm X," and "25th Hour". While Lee received an honorary Oscar in 2015, he has never won a competitive Academy Award — until now. Lee shared the best adapted screenplay prize with David Rabonwitz, Charlie Wachtel and Kevin Willmott.
Spike Lee didn't win best director — that honour went to Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón for Roma, who also won an Academy Award for Gravity in 2013.
Where there has been some success, there is always room for improvement, especially in such a male dominated industry such as Hollywood where women and people of colour often get passed over or not recognized for their work. Last year, Greta Gerwig was only the fifth woman ever nominated for Best Director in the 90 year history of the Academy Awards They didn't even start nominating women until 1975, and they've never nominated a woman of colour. Change takes time, and progress matters. None of this is to take anything away from the tremendous work and activism that achieved this year's examples of progress.
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