What more do you want from us: Oscars review

Sunday, March 4th marked the 90th annual Academy Awards. A lot has transpired since the beginning of this tradition. There was no such thing as equality among Black and White (which still doesn't exist). Among man and woman (which still doesn’t exist) and between a number of other oppressed and mainstream groups. So who would’ve imagined a film like Get Out being nominated?  No one. Having a psychological thriller starring a young Black man as its protagonist become nominated caused great anticipation. People expected something big to happen. Something different to happen. And guess what? Nothing did.

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While we can talk about how STUNNING some of our faves (Viola Davis, Taraji P. Henson, Tiffany Haddish, Mary J. Blige and the Black Panther cast to name a few) looked as they walked (and slayed!) the red carpet, I won’t. These beautiful, Black people are not only gorgeous, they are talented. Mary J. Blige became the first person to EVER to earn an Oscars nomination for both an acting performance and original song in the same film for Mudbound. Yet and still, a part of me knew she wasn’t going to win. The odds were never in her favor. Dee Rees (co-writer and director of Mudbound)  also became the first black woman ever to be nominated in the adapted screenplay category. Again, I knew she wasn’t going to win. Movies like Mudbound hardly win. It stars a predominantly Black cast, therefore it doesn't get as much acclaim and exposure as its competitors. It’s a shame because the movie was so good and Mighty River was robbed of that Oscar!

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Ultimately, the biggest moment of the night was when Jordan Peele who took home the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Get Out. In so doing, he became the first African-American to do so!  The award felt like a long shot at first but it was well deserved. I couldn’t help but scream at the top of the lungs (which unfortunately led to some neighbor complaints) with excitement. There was no other film that stimulated and ultimately changed my thinking the way that movie did. But of course my huge smile was quickly met with a frown. The second most disappointing moment of the Oscars was the "Best Actor In a Leading Role" category. I knew Darkest Hour’s Gary Oldman was going to win. He has been a favorite all awards season for his portrayal of Winston Churchill. But still, a part of me was holding out hope for young breakout stars Daniel Kaluuya and Timothée Chalamet. The Oscars are so contradicting to me. They preach diversity and unity amongst women, youth, the LGBT community and POC and yet we still give awards and nominations to the same non-poc actors and veterans. This was their opportunity to make a difference and change history and they failed to do so.

I had the pleasure of seeing all of the movies nominated for Best Picture and movies like The Shape Of Water, The Post and Phantom Thread scream Oscar. But then something happened last year. Moonlight. The indie drama went on to win the big award for Best Picture. I remember seeing the La La Land/Moonlight mishap live and thinking to myself, “Is this a joke?” but it wasn’t. Moonlight which I thought was one of the most heartbreaking, yet beautiful films that I have seen in recent years won. I thought to myself maybe the Oscars are finally changing its course. After that movie won I knew for certain Get Out would be nominated the following year and I stuck by the belief that it would win. When I heard The Shape Of Water announced as the winner, my heart dropped. While I did love that movie, there was no other film in that category that was as thought-provoking as Get Out was. It felt like all the progress the Academy made the previous year was erased. A authentic tale that represented both the LGBT and Black community felt like a distant memory. The loss left a sour taste in my mouth and a unsettling feeling I still cannot shake.

The Academy still continues to fail at giving up its conservative views and giving awards to people of color. Movies like Get Out are given nominations because it feels like the “right thing to do” but not because they genuinely feel like they should win. It just proves it doesn’t matter how much money you earn, you have to work twice as hard to prove your work’s worth. What more do we have to do to prove that we should win? Get Out deserved to win. Daniel Kaluuya deserved to win. Mudbound deserved a win. Tiffany Haddish deserved a nomination for Girls Trip and Della Reese deserved to be mentioned during the In Memoriam (don’t think we didn’t notice)!