If you tuned in to the 86th Academy Awards on Sunday night, you were probably delighted by much of the evening’s program, turned off by some of it, and made teary-eyed by the tender, eloquent acceptance speeches (we’re looking at you, Lupita Nyong’o!). With so many people watching the awards show unfold, instances where LGBT visibility, unprecedented victories, and gender equality shined are all the more important. Here are some of the moments that spoke to the current state of equality during the Oscars:
Ellen DeGeneres Hosts
Everyone’s favorite daytime talk show host and entertainment personality Ellen DeGeneres delivered laughs, witty introductions, and even pizza at this year’s Academy Awards. This past Sunday marked Ellen’s second time hosting the prestigious awards show, which denotes the second time such a major televised event was led by a member of the LGBT community. It was definitely a win for the gay community to have such a strong gay icon host the awards show.
Cate Blanchett Makes Us Consider Women in Film
“[Thank you] for so bravely and intelligently distributing the film and to the audiences who went to see it and perhaps those of us in the industry who are still foolishly clinging to the idea that female films with women at the center are niche experiences. They are not. Audiences want to see them and, in fact, they earn money. The world is round, people,” said actress Cate Blanchett as she gave her acceptance speech after winning “Best Actress in a Leading Role” for her part in Blue Jasmine. Blanchett graciously commended the other female nominees and took the chance to remind everyone that was watching, including her peers, that there needs to be more gender equality in film and entertainment.
Dallas Buyers Club stars Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto won Oscars for “Best Actor in a Leading Role” and “Best Actor in a Supporting Role,” respectfully, on Sunday night. Dallas Buyers Club is a film that brings great visibility to issues surrounding gay rights, the American AIDS epidemic, transgender identities, and homophobia. Despite making these issues part of the mainstream conversation in entertainment this year, neither McConaughey or Leto seem particularly aware of their privilege as straight, cisgender males taking home honors for their portrayal of marginalized people, and both wins were controversial.
Lupita Nyong’o Receives an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress
“It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s,” said budding actress Lupita Nyong’o of her Oscar-winning performance as supporting actress in 12 Years a Slave. The film did remarkably well at the awards show, and Nyong’o took her moment in the spotlight to remind everyone that the film wouldn’t have been made possible if not for the thousands upon thousands of African Americans who were once oppressed by slavery. This moment was one that championed diversity in entertainment, racial equality, and the strength and resilience of the marginalized and oppressed.
What other instances of equality did you notice at the 86th annual Academy Awards?