I was pretty underwhelmed when the Oscar Nominations were announced this year. Some of my favorites were ignored (namely Deadpool and Annette Benning’s performance in 20th Century Women) and I felt we were on our way to a repeat of the Golden Globes. I even predicted, in multiple radio interviews the day of the nominations, that La La Land would sweep it’s categories again, with some important nods going to Moonlight.
Then something interesting happened, possibly bolstered by the speech Meryl Streep gave when she accepted her Lifetime Achievement Award at the Golden Globes. If you somehow missed it, you can read the transcript here.
Everyone got political after that.
No awards ceremony SINCE the Golden Globes has passed without multiple impassioned comments about the state of our world. Presenters and winners at the Grammy’s were even encouraged to speak out.
Is it possible that this might cause Oscar voters to make a statement, as well?
Academy members are currently filling out their ballots, with a deadline of February 21st. Will voters really feel comfortable throwing their weight behind favorites like La La Land, with the issue of racism so high on everyone’s mind? Or will they choose to recognize other deserving and more diverse projects like Moonlight or Hidden Figures? Will voters still want to award Casey Affleck (who is a Best Actor favorite, despite sexual harassment allegations) or take the opportunity to recognize Denzel Washington’s also stellar performance in Fences? Will the Best Actress category, which has long been wide open, be more likely to recognize newcomer Ruth Negga, or possibly even award Meryl Streep for her outspokenness?
OR could the Oscars swing the other way entirely, with Hollywood Conservatives putting votes behind like-minded filmmakers, such as Mel Gibson? Are there even enough Conservatives in Hollywood to make that difference?
Is it possible that Academy members will use their vote to make statements about diversity in a time when it feels threatened? Or will La La Land collect another armload or statues? It suddenly feels like anything could happen during the 2017 Academy Awards and I, for one, can’t wait to find out!
(The 89th Academy Awards will air Sunday, February 28th on ABC.)