Marie Owumi –
The Academy Awards, commonly referred to as the Oscars, is an award ceremony dedicated to honoring the films of the previous year. This year, on February 28th, we will be celebrating the 88th annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA, where it has taken place in for the last thirteen years. It will be televised nationwide by the ABC Channel, produced by David Hill and Reginald Hudlin and hosted by actor Chris Rock, who previously hosted the 77th Academy Awards.
There are many events that lead up to the ceremony that is the Academy Awards. Firstly, the Academy held its 7th Annual Governors Awards ceremony at the Grand Ballroom of the Hollywood and Highland Center on November 14, 2015. Here, two awards were presented, the Academy Honors Award which was given to Spike Lee and Gena Rowlands, and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award which was given to Debbie Reynolds. On February 13, 2016, in a ceremony at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, the Academy Awards for Technical Achievement were presented by hosts Olivia Munn and Jason Segel.
The nomination polls were opened on December 31, 2015 and closed on January 8, 2016. After much anticipation, the nominees for the Academy Awards were announced on January 14 at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California, by directors Guillermo del Toro and Ang Lee, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, and actor John Krasinski, and then there was a Nominees Luncheon February 8. Final voting for the winners has already begun and the polls will close on February 23.
Shortly after the nominations were announced, many media outlets observed a lack of diversity amongst the nominees in major categories for the second year running.
Isaacs said the Academy is taking “dramatic steps to alter the makeup” of its membership and diversify it in areas of “gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation.” In response to the lack of diversity, several celebrities, including Spike Lee, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Will Smith, have stated their intention to boycott the ceremony.George Clooney, Lupita Nyong’o, Viola Davis and several others actors also commented on the lack of diversity. President Barack Obama also spoke up about the controversy, saying,
“I think that when everyone’s story is told then that makes for better art, it makes for better entertainment it makes everybody feel part of one American family, so I think as a whole the industry should do what every other industry should do which is to look for talent, provide opportunity to everybody. And I think the Oscar debate is really just an expression of this broader issue. Are we making sure that everybody is getting a fair shot?”
In addition, host Chris Rock has also faced pressure to step down as host. It was later confirmed that Rock will still host the ceremony and has rewritten his entire opening monologue.
Many celebrities and Academy members, including Michael Caine, Ice Cube, Charlotte Rampling, Whoopi Goldberg, Penelope Ann Miller, Helen Mirren and Gerald Molen voiced their defense of the Oscars citing that the nominations are based on performance and merit, not race.
In January 2016, the Academy issued the statement to reform the voting rights and membership rules, by increasing the number of women and minorities in membership and changing lifetime voting rights to a requirement of three ten-year terms of active status in the industry, unless a person has won or been nominated for an Academy Award. The Academy will establish three new governor seats that will be nominated by the Academy President for three-year terms and confirmed by the Board, and add new members who are not Governors to its executive and board committees where key decisions about membership and governance are made.
Some of the nominations of the Oscars are:
- The Big Short
- Bridge of Spies
- Mad Max: Fury Road
- The Martian
- The Revenant
- Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
- Matt Damon, The Martian
- Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
- Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
- Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
- Cate Blanchett, Carol
- Brie Larson, Room
- Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
- Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
- Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
Best Animated Feature Film
- Boy & the World
- Inside Out
- Shaun the Sheep Movie
- When Marnie Was There
There are many fingers crossed that Leonardo DiCaprio will finally win an Oscar.
Marie Owumi, from Delta, Nigeria, is an undecided freshman in Illinois College, considering a double major in Management and Organizational Leadership and Communication and Rhetorical Studies. Marie is a writer for The Rambler and is also a member of the Gamma Delta, SAB, Newman Club, and BSU.