The Oscars Thread

[Content Note: Racism; disablism; misogyny; intersectionality failure; domestic violence.]

image of rapper Common and singer John Legend, both black men, holding their Oscars after winning Best Song for 'Glory' from 'Selma'
Common and John Legend accepting the Oscars for Best Song for "Glory" from the film Selma.

^ That was basically the only part of last night's Oscars about which I cared at all. I mean, I was hoping that Selma would win Best Picture, but I figured it wouldn't (and hoped I was wrong, but unfortunately I wasn't).

Both parts of their acceptance speech were terrific, but I especially loved John Legend's: "Nina Simone said it's an artist's duty to reflect the times in which we live. We wrote this song for a film that was based on events 50 years ago, but we say Selma is now, because the struggle for justice is right now. We know that the voting rights, the act that they fought for 50 years ago, is being compromised right now in this country today. We know that right now the struggle for freedom and justice is real. We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today than were under slavery in 1850. When people are marching with our song, we want to tell you we are with you, we see you, we love you, and march on."

Other than that, the Oscars were pretty awful!

I know, I know—you're thinking: But Liss! What about Patricia Arquette's speech calling for pay equality?! And I AM NOT FORGETTING THAT! Listen, I love Patricia Arquette, but she was talking about privileged women only, and, if you doubt that, then check out this garbage that she said after winning in the press room: "It's time for all the women in America, and all the men that love women and all the gay people and all the people of color that we've all fought for to fight for us now." Wooooof.

In one sentence, she casually wrote lesbian and bisexual women and women of color out of the womanhood, and implied that all straight white women have totes been "fighting for" marginalized women. And now that we magnanimous straight white women have given you your rights, it's time for you to fight for us! I mean.

I know that lots of people will want to defend her on the basis that it's just imprecise language, or at least she was using her platform to say something even if it wasn't perfect, and blah blah, BUT this is exactly what white feminism that fails to practice intersectionality looks like. It's not so much a "mistake" as it is a perfectly clear image of mainstream white feminism. And no women who were written out of the womanhood and admonished to "fight for us now" should be expected to be grateful for that, or recognize it as a moment that was helpful, or even neutral.

And the rest of the night was an utter clusterfucktastrope. At the very top of the show, host Neil Patrick Harris made a joke about how white the ceremony was, which, you know, isn't actually all that funny, is it? And then he put actress Octavia Spencer in charge of watching a briefcase for the whole night, which was part of an abysmally stupid magic trick, and ha ha ha are we all laughing so hard at a black woman, whom herself has won an Oscar, being tasked with "working" at the Oscar ceremony? What fun!

Later, he joked that Gone Girl was originally titled "Bitches Be Tripping Yo." Terrific. Terrific stuff.

Both best acting awards were given to able-bodied white folks playing people with degenerative disabilities. And we've already had this discussion, and you know how I feel about it, so I'll just say here: Richard Linklater filmed Boyhood chronologically over TWELVE YEARS. Stop telling me it's not possible to make a movie with an actor who has a degenerative disease. At least not until someone has fucking tried it, okay?

(I'm guessing someone has. But it wasn't Wes Anderson, so who cares.)

The night culminated in Sean Penn, who once [CN: descriptions of violence; glossing over abuse dynamics] held, tortured, and sexually assaulted Madonna for nine hours while they were married, presenting the Oscar for Best Picture to Birdman director Alejandro Inarritu, who is Mexican, with this hilarious joke: "Who gave this son of a bitch his green card?"


Now, Inarritu and Penn are supposedly friends, and the media is busily reporting that Inarritu thought it was funny, and fine, whatever. Obviously, he has to say that or else be that guy, so who knows if he actually thought it was funny. But, even if he did, a joke that works between friends privately doesn't work on a massive international stage. For fuck's sake.

Anyway. That about sums it up. Congratulations to Common and John Legend!


Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus