Arts & Culture

Academy Awards Recap

Jacob VanHoutan, Staff Writer

The 90th Academy Awards ceremony was headlined by some very historic nominations and even more historic wins. “Get Out” director Jordan Peele was only the fifth black director to be nominated for best director at the Oscars and became the first black writer to win best original screenplay as well. Greta Gerwig was the fifth woman to be nominated for best director for her work on “Lady Bird.” She was also nominated for best original screenplay — not to mention that each of these films was a debut feature.

The Academy did have its very safe winners and losers as well. Each of the four acting categories were very predictable and left very little surprise. Gary Oldman won best actor in a leading role for his work in “Darkest Hour” as the legendary prime minister Winston Churchill, and Frances McDormand won best actress in a leading role for her work in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Allison Janneywon best actress in a supporting role for her portrayal of Tonya Harding’s mom, LaVona, in “I, Tonya,” And Sam Rockwell won best actor in a supporting role for his work in “Three Billboards OutsidEbbing, Missouri.”
Guillermo Del Toro earned his first best director nomination and win for his work on “The Shape of Water,” and the film even took home best picture at the end of the
night. These were both projected winners in their respective categories, but they both highlight more diversity in the Oscar nominations compared to years past.

Pixar still continued its sustained dominance over the best animated feature category
with “Coco” becoming the studio’s eleventh nomination and its ninth win. Roger Deakins
finally got his first Oscar win for best cinematography for his work on “Blade Runner 2049” after 14 nominations.

The Oscars have always lacked diversity in not only its wins but its nominations
as well. Films, like “Get Out” and “Lady Bird,” that get more nominations are better because they celebrate the diversity that this industry has to offer the general public. With the voting body still 91% white and 76% male, we still have a long way to go to have more diverse winners.
But with the Academy’s recent changes, more diverse films are getting nominated, and this is more than we can say in years past. If we continue to give more diverse filmmakers more nominations, we are giving people more chances to win in the future. Last year, the best picture was a film about a gay black man going through life and the challenges he faces, and this year’s best picture was awarded to a film about a woman who falls in love and has sex with a fish man. For me, anything can be possible.

This article first appeared in the Friday, March 23, 2018, Edition of The Echo.