We might have heard a lot of hearts breaking when the hot favourite Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone-starrer La La Land was mistakenly announced for the Best Picture at the 89th Academy Awards, before, the coming-of-age drama, Moonlight walked away with the award. Aside of that — a potential disappointment for many, there was more to celebrate at the Oscars this year, than, maybe ever, as it made history at the Dolby Theatre. Lowdown, here it comes!
In what’s probably the most highly anticipated of events on the television calendar, this year’s awards were a welcome change. Mahershala Ali became the first Muslim actor in the history of the Academy to bag an Oscar and the Oscar win made Viola Davis the first black woman to receive the triple crown of acting – joining an elite club of 22 others who have at least one competitive Emmy, Tony, and Oscar!
This inclusivity after the #OscarSoWhite protests last year is especially important in an era when politics in the US is forcibly implementing white privilege. “This was the most diverse Oscars ever. We hope this inclusion of more colour awardees will lead to a growing trend of marginalised tales, struggle and hope behind the camera, which is what art at its finest does, although Hollywood and the Oscar committee has not always. This is a positive step for Hollywood,” says Yale-educated Sandalwood actor Chetan Kumar, echoing the sentiments of Chery Boone Isaacs, the president of the Academy for Motion Picture Arts and Sciences who said that ‘art has no borders.’
He also hopes that in time, the entire emphasis on awards as a sign of success will diminish. “We could also take a lesson or two in humility as Mahershala even took the stage to thank his teachers!” says It Doesn’t Hurt to be Nice author Amisha Sethi.
Making a statement, eight-year-old Sunny Pawar of the Lion fame stole hearts too. “The child actor deserves the lion’s share of making this film heart-wrenching. Even if the film didn’t win many awards, Sunny stole the show with his being here — a celebration of innocence and hope,” notes director of award-winning film, Lyari Notes, Miriam Chandy.
Academy Award attendees on Sunday made activism a must-have red-carpet accessory too. As an act of solidarity, director Ava DuVernay used her red carpet moment to subtly shade Donald Trump’s travel ban by highlighting a gown designed by Mohammed Ashi who is based out of Lebanon, a majority-Muslim country. Emma Stone sported a Planned Parenthood pin while Ruth Negga, Karlie Kloss, Emma Roberts wore a sustainable dress by Armani Privé, Lin-Manuel Miranda stood out with #StandWithACLU ribbons, an organisation that fights for civil rights – a need of the hour.
“It’s one of the most powerful tools to convey messages of any sort in this world — after all, it’s freedom of expression and we are what we wear!,” says Bengaluru-based designer Runa Ray who has often showcased her work at the New York Fashion Week.
If you thought animals, the voiceless, were left out of the soiree, you are mistaken. Complete with glittery UNICEF pins, Jackie Chan, who adopted two pandas in China after a devastating earthquake, brought two stuffed panda toys as dates to the ceremony as a gesture of support for animals too! If anything, diversity won at the Oscars and it was all about standing up and making some much-needed statements.