What We Learned from the Oscars

Story posted March 5, 2018 in Arts & Entertainment by Arts Staff.

The Oscars ceremony has come and gone, and while many movie fans may have come away happy or upset at Sunday night’s winners, there’s much about the movie industry to still pick apart after the ceremony proceedings. The Arts & Entertainment staff break down what we learned about the current state of Hollywood, both on and off the screen, from the 2018 Oscars.

Good things do happen to those who wait:

If there’s any valid complaint about the Oscars, it’s that too often the Academy is willing to give awards to the most buzzworthy nominee as opposed to those who have spent years (and in many case decades) honing their craft. This year, however, the Academy righted many previous wrongs of failing to acknowledge the talents of incredible artists, including indie-favorite character actor Sam Rockwell for “Three Billboards…,” longtime editor and Christopher Nolan collaborator Lee Smith for “Dunkirk” and writer/director James Ivory for “Call Me by Your Name.” However, probably the most long-awaited award of the night went to world-class cinematographer Roger Deakins for “Blade Runner 2049,” winning what was Deakins’ first Oscar after 13 nominations. While it’s always exciting to see filmmakers and actors receive recognition during their 15 minutes of fame, the film industry too often takes for granted the consistent work of its longtime contributors. For four talented and dedicated filmmakers to receive that recognition is one of the healthiest things for the industry to do, even if it’s long overdue. - Chandler Copenheaver

Diversity needs to spread throughout every aspect of the film industry:

When Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph introduced the nominees for “Documentary Short Subject” and “Live Action Short Film,” they acknowledged the progress that the Academy has made in terms of diversity in on-screen representation.  While some may think that enough is being done in terms of diversity in the industry, the two prove that there are many occupations in film that can open the door to diversity. The two reminded everyone that backstage there is still an overwhelming number of “white men with clipboards.” Haddish and Rudolph in a light-hearted fashion showed that even though there are more women and people of color directing movies and on-screen, there is still more work to be done when it comes to diversity in every aspect of the film industry. Which was an important message, considering how successful films featuring women and people of color were this year. The industry can only become stronger the more diverse it is. - Jerome Taylor

There is a future for gender inclusion:

Inclusion was one of the main topics at the Oscars and there was no doubt that women would be at the forefront of the discussion during this year’s award show. With hundreds of women in Hollywood coming forward in an attempt to stop sexual harassment over the past year and the creation of the Times Up and #MeToo movements, it was evident that 2018 would be the time to make a change. These thoughts were validated when Frances McDormand gave her acceptance speech after winning the award for her lead role in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” After asking every nominated female in the room to stand, McDormand left an impression on everyone when she said, "I have two words to leave with you tonight, ladies and gentlemen: inclusion rider." Inclusion rider became a trending topic on social media within minutes after this speech. The concept is that actors and actresses can demand a level of diversity within the films they work on through special arrangements set up in their contracts. By shining a light on this issue at one of the biggest nights in Hollywood, McDormand left an impression on not only the people in the audience but also on the millions of people watching at home to take a stand and demand change. Frances McDormand’s speech will go down in history with plenty of other outstanding Oscars acceptance speeches for the powerful message she presented. Although the idea was not new, the impact it created left hope for a more inclusive future within the film industry. - Jenna Minnig

There is still more work to be done:

During this year’s Oscars show, there were many strides that have took place, including Jordan Peele being the first African American to win the award for Best Original Screenplay, and Guillermo del Toro receiving his first Oscar as Best Director. It cements the idea that the stories of minorities not only can be told but received well enough that there will be more to come. However, the Academy also made some missteps in its selection of recipients - giving Gary Oldman the award for Best Actor almost seems like a regression of the powerful movement occurring in the industry when Oldman has a history of domestic violence. In addition, Kobe Bryant, former NBA star and now Oscar winner also has a history of rape and abuse. While there were many wins for representation (Coco, The Shape of Water) and many voices that were heard during the evening, there is still a long way to go before the movie industry can stop glorifying the abusers plaguing the industry. It almost feels hollow to allow these people to speak when giving the very people they’re speaking out against awards. - Jack Grossman


Chandler Copenheaver is a senior majoring in public relations. To contact him, email chandlercopenheaver@gmail.com.

Jerome Taylor is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email jerometaylor91697@gmail.com.

Jenna Minnig is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email at jkm5756@psu.edu.

Jack Grossman is a sophomore majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, email jackdgrossman@gmail.com.

About the Contributors

ChandlerCopenheaver's photo


Senior / Public Relations

Chandler Copenheaver is a Production Director and Arts Director of CommRadio who has been a member of CommRadio since the spring of 2015. Chandler’s responsibilities entail managing the production department, managing the arts department, creating audio commercials for CommRadio and external organizations, scheduling commercial blocks, and writing editorial content related to the arts. Chandler Copenheaver has worked most recently at Arlington Thrive in Arlington, VA as a Development & Program Intern, WellSpan Health in South Central PA as a Public Relations & Marketing Intern and served as a teaching assistant for the Penn State course BiSci 3 Environmental Science. Chandler aims to work in the fields of Public Relations, Communications Strategy or Communications Management. Follow him on Twitter @C_Copenheaver or email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Jenna Minnig's photo

Jenna Minnig

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Jenna is a General Manager of CommRadio where she manages the student radio station.