The Oscars have always been a glittering celebration with the vibrant and flamboyant gala, grabbing international attention.
But this year’s function stood part due to the strong perspectives and attitude of the hosts as well as the various guest artists attending the ceremony. What made the affair highly relevant was that they were the opposing voices against the dictatorial tendencies of the country’s new president. The media and the cultural world had come out strongly against the statements and pronouncements of Donald Trump, tainted with racism and intolerance, during his presidential campaign. Even though Trump succeeded in making his way to the White House despite the strong resistance, they continued to oppose his rigid approaches and policies. After assuming office, Trump was feverishly making efforts to implement the hardline right wing racist policies at the time of his campaigns as quickly as possible rather than softening his stand. The construction of wall along the US border and banning people and immigrants from seven countries by racially branding a community, was the first phase of his operations.
The new administration is at present, trying to lambast and shut the doors of Washington against the media and the art and cultural world that sharply condemned Trump’s Apartheid policies. Barring the major media outlets including prominent newspapers and television channels in the US and lambasting the artists by calling them ‘Limousine Liberals’, Trump has been attempting in vain to conceal the face of the reality. But the media as well as the artists has been adamant in their stand of not giving up before the arrogant leader and his administration. A collective voice of incongruity was what resonated at the Oscars.
Jimmy Kimmel who hosted the 89th Oscar ceremony lit the flame of criticisms against Trump. In the function watched by millions of viewers in 225 countries, a strong wave of dissent against the racist approaches of the US president was unleashed. Iranian Director Asghar Farhadi who won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for his movie was not at the ceremony to accept his award, an act of protest against Trump’s ban on seven Muslim nations. He warned that ‘dividing the world into the ‘us’ and ‘our enemies’ categories’ would create fear. He also said that the filmmakers turn their cameras to ‘capture shared human qualities and break stereotypes of various nationalities and religions’. Although ‘The White Helmets’, a film on the Syrian Civil War won the Oscar for the Best Documentary, 21-year old Syrian cinematographer Khaled Khatib couldn’t attend the ceremony. Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal reacted sharply to Trump’s plan of building a border wall. ‘As a Mexican, as a migrant worker, as a human being, I am against any form of wall that separates us’, he said during the Oscar ceremony.
Casey Affleck had also slammed Donald Trump at the Independent film Spirit Awards held on Oscar eve, commenting that things that are to be told to the public on television shouldn’t be ‘whispered in the bathroom’. The actor wore a shirt with the word ‘love’ in Arabic. Prominent Hollywood actress Meryl Streep who holds the record for the most Academy Award nominations, having been nominated 20 times, had in January harshly criticized Trump during her speech at the Golden Globes ceremony. Trump supporters angered by the sharp comments by the artists, called for boycotting the Oscars. Not only did it go futile, it led to further condemnations and ridicule. The actors who showed up wearing blue ribbons pledged their support for reclaiming democracy and rights of the constitution. The Academy Awards podium this year has thus turned into a global protest against the imperial, racist despotism of the Yankees. Warren Beatty’s introduction to the montage of Best Picture nominees is significant. ‘It could be said that our goal in politics is the same as our goal in art, which is to get to truth’, he said adding that the movies honoured at the ceremony ‘not only entertain us and move us, they show us the increasing diversity in our community and a respect for diversity and freedom all over the world”. The great talents who pledged their commitment towards achieving this historic goal, have, undoubtedly, upheld the glory of humanity and not just of the Oscars and the Hollywood.