What's This?Gael Garcia Bernal was one of many stars to criticize Donald Trump at the Oscars.
Image: getty images
By Mashable Staff2017-02-27 06:35:40 UTC
We can always rely on awards season to be a self-congratulatory parade of beautiful and talented people reflecting on how beautiful and talented their friends are, but this year, the circuit has also been pretty consistent in calling out President Donald Trump and his actions since taking office. The 2017 Oscars were no exception.
Host Jimmy Kimmel kicked things off during his opening monologue with a few subtle jabs, including the fact that the Academy Awards were being broadcast in "225 countries that now hate us," before going for the jugular:
"I wanna say thank you to President Trump — remember last year when we thought the Oscars were racist?" he quipped.
Later remarking that everyone in the room should feel proud of simply being at the Academy Awards, Kimmel noted, "Some of you will get to come up on this stage tonight and give a speech that the President of the United States will tweet about in all-caps during his 5 a.m. bowel movement tomorrow, and I think that’s pretty darn excellent."
He followed that zinger with a remark about the Trump administration's recent decision to block a number of mainstream media outlets from attending a White House press briefing: "If there’s anyone here from CNN, or the LA or New York Times — if you work for anything with the word 'Times' in it, even Medieval Times — I'd like to ask you to leave the building right now… We have no tolerance for fake news. Fake tans, we love..."
And he didn't stop there:
Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs also emphasized the importance of unity, and the power of cinema in bringing people together, regardless of their race, religion or country of origin.
"You are part of a community that spans a century, not just a Hollywood community or an American community but a global one, filled with storytellers domestic and international, one that is becoming more inclusive and diverse with each passing day. I’m proud to be part of the evolution of this art form and to see all the new faces among this year’s nominees. Tonight is proof that art has no borders, art has no single language and art does not belong to a single faith. For the power of art is that it transcends all these things, and as a result, all creative artists around the world are connected by an unbreakable bond that is powerful and permanent… Just as each of you being honored tonight is linked together by a bond, the movies we love — the ones that truly matter, regardless of country of origin — all speak to the human condition and the values, sorrows, joys and passions that we all share. That is the magic of the movies, and that is what we celebrate tonight."
Perhaps the most powerful statement of the night came from Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, writer-director of the Best Foreign-Language winner, The Salesman, who chose not to attend the ceremony in solidarity with all those affected by Trump's executive order blocking the entry of visitors from Iran, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya into the country for 90 days.
"It's a great honor to be receiving this valuable award for a second time. I’m sorry I’m not with you tonight, my absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of the other six nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S. Dividing the world into the 'us' and 'our enemies' categories creates fear. A deceitful justification for aggression and war, these wars prevent democracy and human rights in countries which have themselves been victims of aggression. Filmmakers can turn their cameras to capture shared human qualities and break stereotypes of various nationalities and religions. They create empathy between us and others, an empathy that we need today more than ever."
After winning the award for Best Documentary Short for Netflix's The White Helmets, director Orlando von Einsiedel read a statement from Raed Al Saleh, the leader of the Syrian volunteer civil defense organization at the center of the film.
"We're so grateful that this film has highlighted our work to the world. Our organization is guided by a verse from the Quran: 'to save one life is to save all of humanity.' We have saved more than 82,000 Syrian lives. I invite anyone here who hears me to work on the side of life, to stop the bloodshed in Syria and around the world. It's very easy for these guys to feel they’re forgotten; this war's been going on for six years."
While presenting the award for Best Animated Feature Film, Gael García Bernal took aim at the president's plan to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico:
"Flesh and blood actors are migrant workers; we travel all over the world, we build families, we construct stories, we build life that cannot be divided. As a Mexican, as a Latin-American, as a migrant worker, as a human being, I’m against any form of wall that wants to separate us."
Accepting the award for Best Visual Effects for The Jungle Book, VFX supervisor Robert Legato paid tribute to his fellow winners — Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones and Dan Lemmon — and still managed to squeeze in a joke about one of Trump's most memorable campaign trail quotes, in which he warned, "we’re gonna win so much, you may even get tired of winning."
"These three gentlemen, geniuses behind me who commandeered a thousand superb artists and contributed so greatly and made so many winning decisions that, quite frankly, they actually got tired of winning — like that's a thing."
Barry Jenkins, the director of Moonlight, pledged solidarity with those who felt marginalized and unrepresented while accepting the award for Best Adapted Screenplay:
"All you people out there who feel like there's no mirror for you, that your life is not reflected, the Academy has your back; the ACLU has your back; we have your back; and for the next four years we will not leave you alone, we will not forget you."
And Kimmel wasn't done either, noting that "We're more than two hours into the show and Donald Trump hasn’t tweeted at us once. I’m starting to get worried about him." Naturally, then, he sent a couple of tweets to make sure POTUS was okay — and to let him know that Meryl Streep said hi.
But no political statement could match the enormity of the Oscars' unprecedented photo finish, in which La La Land was mistakenly announced as Best Picture when Moonlight was the actual winner.
Naturally, Twitter wasted no time seizing on the low-hanging jokes:
Oh, what a night.Topics: Donald Trump, Entertainment, Movies, gael garcia bernal, jimmy kimmel, The Oscars, oscars 2017