90th Academy Awards provides comedic relief, raises awareness

This past Sunday was Hollywood’s biggest night. The 90th Academy Awards came with many surprises and heartfelt moments. Jimmy Kimmel returned to host this event the second year in a row and was sure to bring his late night comedic charm that made this year’s Oscars more memorable than the last. Kimmel’s Jet Ski contest, the Oscars celebrating 90 years and the historical montages were just some of the night’s best moments.

Being that this was Kimmel’s second time hosting the Oscars, many would believe that his comedic charm would wear off. However, that was not the case. In Kimmel’s opening monologue alone, he had some of the night’s best comedic moments. This included a hilarious Jet Ski gag that ran the whole night. The purpose of the gag was to challenge the Oscar winners to give their speeches in the least amount of time possible. The winner of the Jet Ski was “Phantom Thread” costume designer, Mark Bridges.

Kimmel’s greatest moment was when he along with Gal Gadot, Mark Hamill, Lin-Manuel Maranda, Armie Hammer, Ansel Elgort, Lupita Nyong’o, Emily Blunt and Guillermo Del Toro all went across the street to the TCL Chinese Theatre to surprise attendees during the awards ceremony. The purpose of the trip was to give Hollywood a chance to say thank you to the movie going audience.

The musical performances of the best original songs can feel out of place at the Oscars, but not this year. Gael García Bernal performed “Coco’s” acoustic version of “Remember Me,” and after a seamless transition, Miguel and Mexican pop artist Natalia LaFourcade took the stage to sing their rendition of the song with a burst of colorful sets and Latin dancers that ended with petals of marigolds dropping from the Dolby Theater ceiling. If “Remember Me” was the most colorful, then “Mighty River” from “Mudbound” and “This is Me” from “The Greatest Showman” were this year’s most heartfelt performances. Best Supporting Actress nominee and Grammy winner Mary J. Blige and “The Greatest Showman” star Keala Settle both gave powerhouse performances.

History was made at this year’s Oscars. “Get Out” writer and director Jordan Peele became the third person in the Oscars’ 90-year history to be nominated for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay in the same year. Peele also became the first African American to win an Oscar in the Best Original Screenplay category. “The Shape of Water” Director Guillermo Del Toro also made history by becoming the third Mexican to win Best Director. James Ivory became the oldest Oscar winner at the age of 89, winning for best adapted screenplay. Robert Lopez became the first person to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony (EGOT) twice.

With the nation being as divided as it was last year, the Oscars became a platform for Hollywood to speak out for all kinds of political movements. From #MeToo to Times Up, both movements encourage people to come out and speak about their sexual assault stories. The newest movement to be picked up by Hollywood was the Never Again movement meant to bring awareness to gun violence.

The theme of the Oscars this year was not only celebrating its 90 years of existence, but more importantly it was about inclusion and representation. Greta Gerwig’s nomination in the Best Director category for “Lady Bird” made her the first woman to get an Oscar nod for her debut film. Cinematographer Rachel Morrison of “Mudbound” became the first woman to be nominated in this category. The representation of the Latin community was also present in the presenters from comedian Eugenio Derbez to actresses Gina Rodriguez and Salma Hayek made a genuine addition to this year’s awards.

Acceptance speeches have been a drag in past years, but not this year. Many of the winners delivered not only heartfelt speeches, but also powerful speeches that brought the audiences to a standing ovation. Sam Rockwell and Frances McDormand gave heartfelt speeches after winning for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and Best Actress, respectively. However, it was the second half of McDormand’s speech that was the most impactful. She called all the female nominees to stand, and pointed out that all these women and many more have stories they want to tell and projects they need funded. During his speech, Del Toro stated that “the greatest thing that this industry does is erase the line in the sand when the world tells us to make it deeper.” This was a beautiful sentiment on what it means to defy the world using art. It was the director of “Coco,” Lee Unkrich, who not only gave a meaningful speech but also furthered the theme of inclusion and representation.

Over all, the Oscars this year were phenomenal. From Jimmy Kimmel’s comedic charm to the musical performances to the historical moments to the incredible acceptance speeches. This year’s ceremony was perfect way to cap off 90 years of this prestigious award ceremony. The 90th Academy Awards are sure to go down as a perfect celebration of the year in film.

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