What We Can Learn from the 2020 Oscars

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The 92nd Academy Awards promise a bright future for alternative storytelling, despite a lack of diversity still evident across the ceremony. 

Words by Eliza Lourenço

Parasite, from Korean director Bong Joon-ho, won the Best Picture category this year. The film is the first to do so as a foreign language feature. 

The film’s win defies Hollywood’s gatekeeping on the category; however, the same cannot be said of female helmed productions. 

Natalie Portman walked down the red carpet with the names of snubbed female filmmakers embroidered onto her Dior dress.

Snubbed female directors included Lulu Wang for The Farewell, Lorene Scafaria who directed Hustlers, as well as Greta Gerwig and others across varying genres.

Despite Parasite’s success, the acting categories at the Oscars and other ceremonies overlooked the all-Asian cast, except the SAG awards where they won Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.  

Whilst the Oscars recognise some wins for minorities, the lack of diversity in these areas highlight gaps in the film industry and broader inequality. 

However, the overall ceremony improves upon previous years and shows that change doesn’t happen overnight. 

Scandals abound at ceremonies in recent years

In comparison to 2015, #OscarsSoWhite called out a lack of black actor nominees and saw many people boycott the ceremony. Since the hashtag took off, we’ve seen African American led films such as BlackKkKlansman and Black Panther garner recognition at the awards. This year Janelle Monae called out the words “Oscars so white” during her performance, reminding the audience that the movement stands strong in 2020

Veteran actor Charlotte Rampling overshadowed the 2016 Oscars with controversial comments that linked minority inclusion to positive discrimination and supposed reverse racism

In 2018, the Harvey Weinstein revelations hung over the ceremony. After women in the industry brought allegations of harassment and assault to the forefront; the film industry’s lack of protections for women evident. 

There are wins and losses this Oscar season, showing how far the industry has come, but also pointing out how far the journey to authentic, diverse and honest storytelling has to go until everyone can watch the Academy Awards and feel represented. 

Who did you back at the 2020 Oscars? Comment below.

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