88th Academy Awards: recap

Surrounded by controversy, confusion and congratulations, the most important nights in movie culture came and went, with the academy handing out little golden statues to the films and people they decided were the best in industry for 2015.

The Oscars were hosted by African American comedian Chris Rock, while not a single African American was nominated for any award. This controversy caused many well-respected actors and celebrities to publicly protest the show, claiming that the Academy and the film industry is racist. 

It has become extremely difficult for African American actors and actresses to find high level roles in films, as most hollywood blockbusters are become white washed with the talents of DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Tom Cruise or other prominent white celebrities. This makes it impossible for the likes of Idris Elba or Jamie Foxx to get the same plethora of career defining roles. Yet, even when they do receive these roles, their masterful performances are disregarded by the Academy and not given the respect or nominations they deserve.

With a dark cloud of racism hanging over, Rock had the difficult task of addressing the issue. However, from the very beginning Rock came out swinging, throwing out very direct and possibly offensive jokes, most of which made the audience laugh. Rock handled the racism  intelligently while remaining funny and entertaining at the same time. In addition, Rock had one of the most memorable moments in recent Oscar history, when he let his young daughters come out and sell Girl Scout cookies to the crowd of wealthy actors. Overall, Rock was the perfect host for the Oscars, as was able to make a tense situation jocular while still addressing the issue directly.

In terms of the actual awards, Mad Max: Fury Road stole the show. George Miller’s post-apocalyptic action sequel nearly swept all the non acting categories, including Best Costume Design, Production Design, Makeup & Hairstyling, Film Editing and both Sound Mixing and Editing. And while Mad Max did not win Best Picture or Best Director, it proved itself to be the best technically made film of the year by winning six awards.

Not to be forgotten, star actor Leonardo DiCaprio finally won his first Oscar. After having been nominated five times, DiCaprio finally won for his portrayal of Hugh Glass in the film The Revenant. DiCaprio had been nominated for an Oscar for his roles in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”, “The Aviator”, “Blood Diamond” and “Wolf of Wall Street”.  DiCaprio was previously considered one of the best actors in Hollywood to never have won an Oscar; now, however, DiCaprio’s career is, without hesitation, in the conversation as one of the best actors of all time.

Overall, the 88th Academy Awards was one which will be remembered for DiCaprio finally receiving the Oscar he deserves: however, what it should be remembered for is that not a single African American actor had a nomination. Hopefully, this year’s award show will go on to make an impact in the film community and result in more industry equality. For, as Rock pointed out during the show, African American actors are at a major disadvantage in the film community.