Film & Television

Oscars 2018: Winners, Losers, and Worthy Women’s Causes

For our Women’s Voices’ Live Blog of the 2018 Academy Awards, simply visit our home page, click on Oscar Central and comment. (Log in any time during the ceremony.) We welcome your remarks — as short or long as you like. Feel free to share your point of view and invite friends and family too.

 

There are a handful of potential nominations I was sorry not to see included. I think Wonder Woman deserved consideration for Best Picture, as did its director Patty Jenkins. And, I was surprised not to see Holly Hunter in the Best Supporting Actress category for The Big Sick.

Then again, in addition to the winners and losers, the “ones that got away” add to Oscars drama in their own way.

This particular awards season has certainly been dramatic. At January’s Golden Globes ceremony, actresses wore black in solidarity with #MeToo and to protest Hollywood’s history of sexual harassment. The celebrity women willing to come forward with their stories encouraged women in other industries to do so as well, and inspired TIME to name “The Silence Breakers” as their collective Person of the Year.

A number of Hollywood luminaries, including leading actresses, producers, executives and lawyers, established Time’s Up, a legal defense fund to support victims in any industry. For example, agriculture and janitorial workers are often victimized but have little recourse and even less resources to stand their ground.

The group describes its mission this way. “Time’s Up is a unified call for change from women in entertainment for women everywhere. From movie sets to farm fields to boardrooms alike, we envision nationwide leadership that reflects the world in which we live. Powered by women, Time’s Up addresses the systemic inequality and injustice in the workplace that have kept underrepresented groups from reaching their full potential. We partner with leading advocates for equality and safety to improve laws, employment agreements, and corporate policies; help change the face of corporate boardrooms and the C-suite; and enable more women and men to access our legal system to hold wrongdoers accountable.”

The organization promises “No more silence. No more waiting. No more tolerance for discrimination, harassment or abuse.”

With many of the movement’s leaders in attendance, and with a far larger audience than the Golden Globes, it remains to be seen whether the Oscars will become another stage for protest. One of the show’s producers, disclaims the idea. “The Oscars should be a spectacle. Fun and funny and great performances,” says Jennifer Todd. However, Channing Dungey, ABC’s President of Entertainment, assures that the show will formerly acknowledge Time’s Up’s message. “We’re trying to make it more planned. I would love for every award recipient to not feel like they have to acknowledge it independently.”

But, if there’s one lesson this year’s producers can learn from years past it’s that once the cameras are rolling, they have very little control. Whether it’s 1974’s streaker, 2017’s Best Picture envelope snafu, or Jennifer Lawrence’s clumsy (if adorable) falls.

And, Hollywood doesn’t tend to shy away from protest either. In 1993, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins supported HIV-positive Haitian immigrants. In 1977, Vanessa Redgrave referenced “Zionist hoodlums.” Jane Fonda wore a Mao jacket to protest the Viet Nam war in 1972. And, Marlon Brando declined his Best Actor award in 1973 to protest film’s marginalization of Native Americans (he sent actress/activist Sacheen Littlefeather to the podium in his place). In a subtler show of unity last year, after Trump’s election, attendees wore ribbons supporting Planned Parenthood and the ACLU.

There is powerful momentum right now with unprecedented attention being paid to issues that affect every woman. From sexual harassment, to pay equity, to the lack of opportunities. Building on their popularity and high profile, women in entertainment are taking the lead not just for themselves but for women in every profession. This year, as we celebrate the best of Hollywood, we can also celebrate the accomplishments of these determined women.

And look forward to still more progress (onscreen and off) in the future.

 

 

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