Tellin’ It Like It Is: 2016 Academy Awards Review by: Stephanie Hoover

With all of the controversy surrounding the alleged racism and discrimination by the Oscars, and Hollywood in general (#OscarsSoWhite), I wasn’t wholly prepared for the Academy to comment on the issue at all during the show, let alone to have the host, Chris Rock, ride in on that [metaphorical] elephant in the room and make it do tricks all over the stage! However, it wasn’t just the lack of nominations for explicitly non-white actors that many people throughout the evening commented on. It was like every time I turned around there was someone else advocating for the rights of others. –Not that I was upset about it, I just didn’t remember the Oscars being so liberal…has this always been the way? Have I missed it due to working Sundays the past few years and not having DVR? I’ve always remembered the Oscars as very prestigious and very conservative –in the sense of “we know there are issues (not only with us, but in the world), but we don’t talk about them in order to be polite and not make anyone uncomfortable.” I love seeing people, especially those in power, taking a stand for the rights of others.

Now let’s get into some of those shocking moments that made me glad I not only tuned in, but DVR’d the awards! Not all of the comments on controversial issues were thrown out right in your face, some were so subtle I had to rewind it for another go. For instance in the introduction of one of the presenters Rock said, “A should’ve been nominee Michael B. Jordan,” and Andy Serkis’s (best known for playing Gollum in LOTR) wicked burn about Donald Trump and monsters. Even Kevin Hart remarked that he’d hoped to get a seat in the front row this year due to “all of the black stuff going on.” Rock later “went to the streets” to ask black people about their feelings on there being no black actors nominated and if they’d actually seen any of the movies that were up for nomination; spoiler alert, most hadn’t. Louis C.K. even called out how everyone’s rich and going home to mansions later, whereas people nominated for the category Documentary Short Subject work very hard and “don’t make money” from what they do and winning an Oscar would be the most expensive thing they own. And with Sam Smith’s first win of an Oscar he openly dedicated his award to the LGBT community and his representation for them.

There was also a little bit of a fun-MTV-Movie-Awards-feel with a newly added segment called the “Black History Month Minute,” which was seemingly going to pay tribute to Will Smith, who was boycotting the Oscars this year, but ended up paying tribute to Jack Black. It seems that satire has become more and more the mainstream way to take a stand on political and controversial issues. Of course this isn’t something new (SNL has been doing this for years), but what is new-ish is that many people seem to learn more about such issues through the means of “fake news” shows like The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver opposed to the actual news.

I didn’t know the Academy Awards could be so funny! Tina Fey and Steve Carell played off of one another beautifully with Carell asking Fey if she was drunk, which she was playing up wonderfully. The Academy also cut to many shots of ‘randomness” throughout the evening like the bear from The Revenant sitting in the audience alongside the other nominees and a Hannibal Lecter bound Suge Knight who was later unstrapped and seen eating Girl Scout cookies Rock was selling for his girls to beat a fellow scout’s mom. And I don’t know about you, but despite The Onion jesting about “being star struck” by the Star Wars cameo of C-3PO, R2-D2, and BB-8, I totally was! Not only did the Minions present an award for best Animated Short Film, but Buzz Lightyear and Woody presented an award for Animated Feature Film –and of course fell to the ground when the winners came to accept their awards.

Not only were we wowed with films, comedy, and controversial commentary, but we were wowed with some great musical performances. The Weekend had a sensually aS-tounding performance of “Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey. And Vice President Joe Biden spoke about the importance of changing the culture of sexual assault on college campuses (visit for more information) followed by a powerful performance by Lady Gaga for Best Original Song nominee “Til It Happens To You” from the documentary The Hunting Ground.
Aside from many controversial call outs, and back to what the Academy Awards was about for me personally, *Mad Spoiler Alert –TURN AWAY NOW!!!* Leo finally won an Oscar! I even yelled, “SHUT THE F*CK UP!” Will all of the memes die or will new ones be born? I pray to the meme gods it’s the latter. I cannot can NOT wait for the new memes. Feel free to post your favorite ones or your favorite Oscar moments below!
Oh and, Mad Max: Fury Road for the win! If you haven’t seen it, do! It’s literally the most flawlessly amazing action movie I’ve seen in a long time. And no, you don’t need to see any of the ones prior. I thought it’d be a good idea, but it was absolutely a waste of my time. Just watch the new one 57 or so times.

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