It was the awards show scandal that launched a thousand memes—and arguably the greatest Oscars mistake since Anne Hathaway and James Franco co-hosted the 2011 Academy Awards.
Last year’s Oscars will forever be remembered for #Envelopegate, when Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty mistakenly announced “La La Land” the winner for best picture after being given the wrong envelope.
Just like in the past Academy Awards shows, I was there, watching it all go down live and in Technicolor via cable television broadcast.
Some people never miss the TV telecast of sporting events like the Wimbledon or the Olympics. Others are devout followers of local and international beauty tilts. As for me? I’m an awards show junkie.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the Oscars, the Emmys or the Globes; I love it, live for it, and of course, live-tweet it.
I never really thought about why film and television awards shows fascinate me. Maybe it’s the proverbial “glitz and glamour” of Hollywood. Perhaps I just love a good underdog story. It could also be an inevitable, unavoidable corollary to my love for all things pop culture. It certainly doesn’t help that film and TV are my bread and butter as a writer.
But after years of obsessively following these shows and as I reflect about the issues that have rocked Hollywood in the last couple of months, I’ve realized certain truths about the awards season.
There will never be awards show hosts more engaging, hilarious, and all-around entertaining than the divine tandem of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association knew what it was doing when it hired funny women and BFFs Fey and Poehler to host the Golden Globes, aka “the drunk Oscars,” from 2013 to 2015.
The “Saturday Night Live” alums knew what was needed to liven up the three-hour slog of a show, delivering an act with the perfect mix of snark, irreverence, and pure, unadulterated fun. The two also didn’t hold back as they pointedly served the tea on casual sexism and ageism in the entertainment industry.
What can I say? Women, we get the job done.
The underdog stories of the awards season are proof that dreams can come true.
While there is no perfect formula for success, one could argue that it can be achieved through a mysterious, virtually inimitable alchemy of luck, timing, hustle, and a great support system. Just look at Kathryn Bigelow’s win for best director—the first and only woman to have received the honor—during the 2010 Oscars. Or what about Lupita Nyong’o’s Cinderella-esque triumph during the 2013 awards season?
Who can forget last year’s winner, “Moonlight”? As Vanity Fair said in its March 2017 article: “It became the first film with an all-black cast, the first LGBTQ film, and the cheapest film to win best picture, guaranteeing its place in history even if Warren Beatty had been handed the right envelope.”
More films and television shows are giving diverse creators, talents and voices a platform to share their stories.
Awards shows are starting to recognize diverse talent and creators, like Emmy winners Donald Glover (“Atlanta”) and Riz Ahmed (“The Night Of”), Golden Globe winner Gina Rodriguez (“Jane the Virgin”), and the glorious Viola Davis who swept the awards season, winning best supporting actress for “Fences” in the Oscars, British Academy Film Awards, Globes, and Screen Actors Guild Awards.
With movies like “Get Out,” “Mudbound” and “Call Me By Your Name” also getting their turn in the spotlight, and the indisputable dominance of “Black Panther” at the box office, it looks like diversity is king.
With the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements going strong, the age of reckoning in Hollywood is far from over.
After the Weinstein debacle blew up late last year, the women (and some men) of Hollywood have started to step up and speak up to confront and combat the nefarious and systemic sexism, sexual harassment and sexual abuse in show business. I witnessed this at the recent Globes, and believe it will continue in the Oscars.
Because even with the Academy Awards producers’ desire to focus more on the movies—frankly, a tone-deaf appeal to keep politics and activism out of the 2018 Oscars —I wouldn’t be surprised if Tinseltown’s outspoken stars will keep on using their platform to bring about lasting change in the industry, and hopefully, in the world.
After all, the personal is professional is political.