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What Mattered at the Oscars? (Hint: Not EnvelopeGate)

by Countable | 3.20.17

Awards shows are generally free-wheeling vehicles for fantasy fashion, edgy monologues, and tear-jerking "In Memoria." The 89th Academy Awards, held Sunday in Los Angeles – the first Oscars ceremony held during the administration of President Donald Trump – promised to be all that, and more, particularly following on the heels of the Grammys, which dripped with political commentary.

The old saying about certain has-been celebrities showing up to the opening of an envelope was revisited when the awards themselves were upstaged by the opening of the *wrong *envelope. The resulting distraction aside, however, it’s clear that the Oscars didn’t quite hit the level of political discourse at the Grammys -- but there were moments during the show that referenced the president, some of his behaviors and his policies. Here are some of the highlights:

Trump’s penchant for Twitter, starring Jimmy Kimmel
Host Jimmy Kimmel, whose eponymous late-night show often features celebrities reading "Mean Tweets" about themselves, took the opportunity to poke fun at Trump’s love of Twitter as a platform by tweeting the president from the stage, quipping that it seemed odd that the show had gone on for nearly two hours with no commentary from Trump. The audience laughed at the gag, particularly when Kimmel followed up on an initial tweet with #Merylsayshi, referencing Trump’s criticism of actress Meryl Streep’s criticism of him while accepting a lifetime achievement award at this year’s Golden Globes.

A nod to transgender rights, starring Barry Jenkins and Tarrell Alvin McCraney

In accepting the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, the two writers of eventual Best Picture winner Moonlight dedicated their award to youths of color, and Jenkins, who also directed the movie, seemed to directly speak to the president’s recent rescinding of former President Barack Obama’s guidelines that aided transgender students in the use of appropriate bathroom facilities. Said Jenkins:

"But I really wanted this result because a bajillion people are watching, and all you people out there who feel like there's no mirror for you, that your life isn't reflected, the academy has your back, the ACLU has your back, we have your back. And for the next four years, we will not forget you."

Protest of Trump administration’s travel ban, starring Asghar Farhadi
The award for Best Foreign Language Film generally goes unremarked unless it has achieved mainstream popularity and success (the 2000 awardee Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon *may be the most recent example of this). This may have held true for this year’s winner, *The Salesman, *an Iranian interpretation of the Arthur Miller classic *Death of a Salesman – but for Trump’s recently suspended travel ban. Asghar Farhadi, director of The Salesman, boycotted the ceremony in protest of the executive order that blocked travel to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Anousheh Ansari, an engineer, and the first Iranian in space, accepted the award on behalf of her fellow countryman, reading a statement from Farhadi that read in part:

"Dividing the world into the us and our enemies categories creates fear. A deceitful justification for aggression and war. These wars prevent democracy and human rights in countries which have themselves been victims of aggression. Filmmakers can turn their cameras to capture shared human qualities and break stereotypes of various nationalities and religions. They create empathy between us and others. An empathy which we need today more than ever."

Blasting the need for a border wall, starring Gael García Bernal
Trump’s plan to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and have the Mexican government pay for it has been shunted aside somewhat by more immediate actions such as the now-defunct travel ban and the president’s Cabinet appointments.

But Gael García Bernal, a noted Mexican actor who has earned critical acclaim for his role on Amazon Studio’s Mozart in the Jungle, took the time to bring the wall question back into the spotlight.

Appearing with actress Hailee Steinfeld to present the award for the year’s best animated film, García Bernal was blunt in his disapproval of the idea, stating, "A lot of actors are migrant workers. We travel all over the world, we construct stories, we build life but cannot be divided. As a Mexican, as a migrant worker, as a human being, I'm against any form of wall that separates us."

And after his statement, García Bernal and Steinfeld announced that the winner of Best Animated Feature was *Zootopia, *a film widely praised for its message about diversity, tolerance, and people of different backgrounds living together in harmony.

-- Erin Wright

(Photo Credit: Global Panorama via Flickr/Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(205)
  • Catherine
    02/27/2017
    ···

    First off, folks, dismissing the opinions of others, including those who've achieved success, is hypocritical. We all have voices. We are all using Countable to make our voices heard. We don't have the platform these celebrities have achieved. I commend them for taking their message, which echoes many of our own, and broadcasting it when they have the spotlight. Each of these speakers respectfully expressed opposition to inflammatory and hateful policies of this "administration". Furthermore, Countable assembled them into a decent little summary. Yes. This is relevant. Why? Because this is our rhetoric. Enough of "us versus them". We need to work together, rich and poor, blue collar and trust fund, black and white and all the colors in between. Stop trying to force people into little boxes and start listening.

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  • Hope
    02/28/2017
    ···

    i'm so sick of people being so bitter towards celebrities voicing their political opinions. 1) they are citizens that vote and are allowed to have opinions and voice said opinions, 2) when you look back on the progressive movements in the past such as the Civil Rights Movements, what do you remember? you sure remember the pictures and videos but you also remember the music, the revolutionary, against the government music. you remember your celebrities speaking out and going to events such as Woodstock. 3) they are powerful. they reach a large audience. they are our allies, not the enemies.

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  • Cathy
    02/28/2017
    ···

    I don't understand all this animosity about actors, actresses, sports figures, etc using their platform to voice an opinion. They are in most cases citizens who have a right, and I would argue a responsibility, to speak up about issues that concern them. It's the same duty and right that policemen, cashiers, bank presidents, taxi drivers, et al have. Those who are not citizens of our country are citizens of a world that is increasingly shrinking, where the actions and words of one country can affect people across the globe. Just because you disagree with their politics, doesn't mean they should "shut up and act" or shut up and play ball". This level of disrespect is not something you would or should tolerate if directed at you, so don't be disrespectful or dismissive of someone else.

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  • Rebecca
    02/28/2017
    ···

    Posts like this diminish Countable's credibility and influence. As someone else commented, there are life and death issues facing our country. Please do not lose your focus on helping us connect with our elected officials on issues of importance.

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  • Eric
    02/28/2017
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    Fact is, Hollywood is responsible for a lot of American jobs and is one of the few still-thriving industries in our nation. Working actors and industry people have as much right to speak freely and voice concerns as anyone else.

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  • Lee
    02/28/2017
    ···

    The arts are important. When people can discuss abortion issues instead of stating it is wrong we are exercising freedom of speech.When we start to value each other's opinions instead of stating the media is false news we are exercising freedom of the press. When we have a national women's march we are exercising freedom to assemble. When we have to ability to purchase guns we are exercising freedom to bear arms. When we have to have speeches read because people could not travel to this country due to a ban on 7 countries we are discussing executive orders. When you hear winners discussing the reason why the choose to tell their stories through this art form it is because it breaks down barriers and brings people of different cultures and religions you see the end of racism and xenophobia through art. Sorry art is a political statement.

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  • Chris
    02/28/2017
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    Who cares. I thought this was an app to keep me involved with legislation, not another buzzfeed trash dump

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  • DebbieLynn
    02/27/2017
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    Boy, this just brought out all the deplorables who use this app 😆 People in the film industry have the same rights to freedom of speech as all the rest of you. They are fortunate enough to have a enormous platform to voice their feelings and opinions. sorry if you don't, you all sound very bitter and jealous. I bet if even one of them gave a speech that favored Trump, you'd be tripping all over yourselves singing their praises. In other words, shut up and stop being hypocrites.

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  • Dora
    02/28/2017
    ···

    What mattered is that the producer of LaLa Land showed more class last night than most of our politicians have been doing since 45's inauguration as WANNA BE DICTATOR. What mattered is the celebrities, though rich and egotistical at times, have been standing up for us everyday average people more than most of our rich egotistical politicians have been. DC can learn much from Hollywood!!!!

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  • Smorosan
    02/28/2017
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    I'm not on this app to review reports about the Oscars. One of the reasons I like this app is because it can easily be used by liberals and conservatives and, as a liberal, I see conservative opinions too. It helps me moderate and understand the other side a bit better. I fear that Countable reporting on the Oscars will turn off conservatives, whose opinions I value even if I don't agree with them much of the time.

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  • SamanthaWagner
    02/28/2017
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    There is absolutely nothing wrong with people who have EARNED the position of "celebrity" using that platform to express their opinions. In fact, it's their RIGHT just as much as it is ours to be speaking here right now! Call them the elite, call them disconnected... they're still citizens of the United States with protected constitutional rights. If you're offended, it's also your right to change the channel. Your discontent can be reflected in the viewership numbers, not an attempt to stifle their civil liberties. -- Also, can we take a moment to reflect on the irony of some people being so offended by this when we have a reality TV "celebrity" President who ruthlessly complained about Obama for eight years AND has assembled one of the most affluent cabinets in history? 🙄🙄

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  • Penny
    02/27/2017
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    This is a fantastic way of coming together as human beings, supporting each other and letting people know that we are there for each other. Celebrities have opinions just like you and I do and have every right to voice their opinions. I wish I had a platform as big as theirs! We need everyone we can get to fight racism, misogyny, religious nuts, prejudice and hatred.

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  • Emily
    02/28/2017
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    Last I checked, we still had a lot of real issues that need to be addressed. WHY is this app sending me a notification about this? I don't care what they talked about at the Oscars or what commercials aired during show. If I wanted news like this, I would subscribe to People magazine. Get back to the REAL issues please!

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  • Claire
    02/27/2017
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    What was said by actors and actresses at the Oscars was merely American people utilizing their first amendment right to voice their opinion. If that bothers people, all they had to do was change the channel. No one is forcing them to listen.

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  • Clinton
    02/28/2017
    ···

    This subject degrades the credibility of subject matter on Countable. This is not advertised as a gossip session, or a Hollywood opinion consortium.

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  • Anita
    02/28/2017
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    It is an award show. I thoroughly enjoyed watching it. Kimmel was funny, the acceptance speeches were really good. The so called president should be focusing on national matters, he is supposed to be working for the betterment of this country and its people. But, he cannot help acting like a child and tweeting about every damn thing. Do your job!!

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  • Milagros
    02/28/2017
    ···

    Fact is, Hollywood is responsible for a lot of American jobs and is one of the few still-thriving industries in our nation. Working actors and industry people have as much right to speak freely and voice concerns as anyone else.

    Like (14)
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  • Elizabeth
    02/28/2017
    ···

    What mattered is that the producer of LaLa Land showed more class last night than most of our politicians have been doing since 45's inauguration as WANNA BE DICTATOR. What mattered is the celebrities, though rich and egotistical at times, have been standing up for us everyday average people more than most of our rich egotistical politicians have been. DC can learn much from Hollywood!!!!

    Like (14)
    Follow
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  • Josh
    02/28/2017
    ···

    DO YOUR JOB OR BE READY TO MOVE ASIDE!!! Aggressive Independent investigations, legal ethics filing, emoluments, Russia, we want answers and transparency and if you our reps won't fight day in and day out well then you just aren't good enough. Do your job, shame on you, resist and vote NO on all of it, they did it to you for 8 years, now grow a backbone and fight harder and smarter and get this mentally challenged man the help he needs

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  • adgrant35
    02/27/2017
    ···

    This article isn't what I have downloaded Countable for

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