Political Statements at the Oscars

 (Reva Lingala | Febuary 28th, 2023)

| Change the Nation | Promote Equality | Inspire Passion

The Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, are the most prestigious awards in the entertainment industry. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decides to give recognition to breakthroughs in film. The Oscars are the oldest awards ceremony with the 1st Academy Awards held in 1929. The ceremony was first broadcast on the radio in 1930, and since 1953 they have been publicly televised. Since then 3,140 Oscars have been awarded. This year’s award ceremony will be held on March 12th. 

Due to its popularity, the Oscars have been subjected to many controversies, some regarding political stances of actors. When giving their acceptance speeches, many take the opportunity to address current issues. Ranging from criticizing war or demanding equal pay, here are three important past political moments to prepare you for this year’s ceremony. 

Marlon Brando Declines His Award

At the 1973 Academy Awards, Marlon Brando sent Sacheen Littlefeather in his place. 

Instead of accepting his award for Best Actor in The Godfather, he rejected it. Littlefeather used his speech as a way to raise awareness for the mistreatment of Native Americans in Hollywood and the occupation of Wounded Knee. The crowd had mixed reactions to the response, some applauded while others were heavily critical. 

Patricia Arquette Demands Equal Pay

In 2015, Arquette won Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Boyhood. During her speech, she took time to criticize the current pay gap between men and women. She stated that it was “time to have wage equality once and for all and women’s rights.” Her speech was met with much approval and praise, mainly coming from other actresses. 

Halle Berry’s Historical Win 

Berry became the first woman of color to win Best Actress in 2002 for Monster’s Ball. In her acceptance speech, she talked about the political and historical significance of her win while honoring other groundbreaking women. In the end, she dedicated it to “every nameless, faceless woman of color” that had a chance in the industry. As of 2023, she is the only WOC to win the award. Although Berry hoped her win would open up opportunities, no other WOC has been successful.




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