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Oscars 2018 – What’s so different about this year?


The Oscars. The event that makes film lovers stay up until the early hours of the morning and wait in anticipation to see if they’re going to announce the wrong picture again. This year though, the Oscar results were predictable, and the ceremony ran smoothly. If you want to see the moment those incredible wins were announced and references to last year’s chaos of a ceremony (the first one being within the first ten seconds of Kimmel’s opening monologue), then definitely give it a watch.

The ceremony was hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, which was somewhat underwhelming compared with previous presenters. To his credit, his address to the Oscar statue was humorous and entertaining. As usual, many digs were made about the film industry being predominately ‘too white’, a reference to Moonlight winning best picture last year and a jokey suggestion that perhaps the film industry is now becoming ‘too black’.

As expected, Frances McDormand won Best Actress for her performance in ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ and her speech was an absolute inspiration as she asked every woman to stand up, and sensing hesitation, beckoned to the leading lady, ‘Meryl if you do it, everyone will’. Gary Oldman finally won his Oscar for his performance as Winston Churchill in darkest hour, the award predicted by the majority of critics, beating three-time winner Daniel Day Lewis.

‘Coco’ won Best Animated Film, some critics arguing it to be better than ‘Toy Story’ (steady on). Perhaps the most unforeseen film was Allison Janney winning Best Supporting Actress, for her performance in ‘I, Tonya’ as the overbearing mother of Tonya. Best supporting actor was given to Sam Rockwell for his performance in ‘Three Billboard Outside Ebbing, Missouri’, giving the film two acting wins.

Best Picture went to the critics’ favourite ‘The Shape of Water’, the story of a deaf, oppressed woman who falls in love with a fish-like man. The win was notably unique as an Oscar win, as no other film like it ever won the award. The film’s director Guillermo Del Toro also won the Best Directing award, which had been predicted to go to ‘Ladybird’ director Greta Gerwig.

The number of awards received by each Best Picture nominated film was fairly even: ‘Shape of Water’ won four, ‘Dunkirk’ won three, ‘Three Billboards’ and ‘Darkest Hour’ won two each, ‘Phantom Thread’ won one, ‘Get Out’ and ‘Call Me By Your Name’ both won one each (for screenplay) and sadly, five-time nominee ‘Lady Bird’ left empty handed as did two-time nominee ‘The Post’.

A theme ran through the Oscar-nominated films this year. Equality. Whether it be gender, race, class, sexuality or age, each of these inequalities were represented within a film, and the Oscars seem to be making a forceful push towards more equality being represented on-screen. Regardless of what critics say about the Oscars trying to please the public, the fact that an academy with so much influence on common culture is actively supporting diversity is a positive step forward for equality.

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