[The Film Blog] Why was #Oscars 2018 almost mute on the #MeToo Movement and Time’s Up?


It all started with the red carpet fashion. As we saw at the Golden Globes and Grammys, the 90th Academy Awards didn’t partake in a universal dress code for #MeToo and Time’s Up, two prominent movements founded on sexual misconduct in Hollywood and the need for women to be treated better. Celebrities came in wearing the handiworks of their favourite designers; the palette on the red carpet ranged from nudes and blushes to red and hot pink. E!’s Giuliana Rancic busied herself chirping and marvelling at the looks, while her colleague Ryan Seacrest had a presence that continued to be uncomfortably disharmonious.

Despite allegations of sexual misconduct against Seacrest, for which he denied, his appearance as host for E! sent a clear message: powerful men can still get away with abhorrent, inexcusable deeds. This is not to say that Seacrest is guilty, but E! giving him access to the red carpet with those allegations to his name shows where their priorities are. Though some male celebrities showed up wearing Time’s Up pins, the awards was already feeling safe and apolitical. The awards’ host Jimmy Kimmel, during his opening monologue, did try to plug the evening into the zeitgeist of #MeToo and Time’s Up.

From delivering jokes like, “they made a movie called What Women Want and it literally starred Mel Gibson” to the seriousness of: “We can’t let bad behaviour slide anymore. The world is watching us. We need to set an example. And the truth is, if we are successful here, if we can work together to stop sexual harassment in the workplace, if we can do that, women won’t have to deal with harassment all the time at every other place they go.”

Furthermore, on the musical side, Common and Andra Day performed Stand Up for Something and several activists took the stage behind them, including #MeToo founder Tarana Burke. And there was the acceptance speech from Frances McDormand for winning Best Actress (I wasn’t surprised!) and her call on female nominees to stand up with her. Lovely gesture. But the Oscars this year was an anticlimax to an award season that made conversations on sexual harassment so noisy and impossible to ignore. We might not even talk about #MeToo and Time’s Up come next Oscars. Is this an indication of how fickle-minded we are? Can we take Hollywood seriously now? We’d have to wait. Here’s a more comprehensive list of winners at the 2018 Oscars.

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