Oscars 2017 is just two days away. And this time Indian audience has more the reason to be excited about the awards ceremony. Just like we were glued to our TV sets when Slumdog Millionaire was in the running, this year it is going to be Lion. Dev Patel has also been nominated in the Best Actor in a Supporting role category and yes we are all rooting for him, for obvious reasons. But along this with celebratory event, honouring the best of cinema also come a hell lot of controversies. These controversies remind us that all that glitters is not gold. Like last year Academy Awards were accused of being racially exclusive. No wonder so many movies with actors of colour are the frontrunners in the awards.
Before we get to the D-Day and get a whole new set of controversies, let us rewind and take a look at the ones that have taken place in the past-
# Oscar So White
Academy Awards in 2016 were accused of being racially exclusive. No one else but white actors walked away with the trophies and majority of nominations. The academy received so much backlash that #OscarSoWhite became a worldwide trending hashtag. On Instagram, Director Spike Lee joined Pinkett Smith’s posted a picture of young Martin Luther King Jr. after thanking Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs and the board for his past award. “We Cannot Support It And Mean No Disrespect To My Friends, Host Chris Rock and Producer Reggie Hudlin, President Isaacs And The Academy. But, How Is It Possible For The 2nd Consecutive Year All 20 Contenders Under The Actor Category Are White? And Let’s Not Even Get Into The Other Branches. 40 White Actors In 2 Years And No Flava At All. We Can’t Act?! WTF!!” he captioned the photo.
# Marlon Brando’s brave/silly statement
Marlon Brando made a strong political statement in 1973, without even turning up at the event. He had won the Best Actor Oscar for his role in The Godfather and he had sent Sacheen Littlefeather, an Apache and the then president of the National Native American Affirmative Image Committee to give a speech in his place. Littlefeather said Brando “regretfully cannot accept this very generous award” because of “the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry and on television and in movie reruns.” Whoa!!! The event caused a huge outcry, and was dissed by many. Marlon’s message got through or not? Well, you can see the condition that USA is in today.
Seth MacFarlane’s disastrous hosting
When Seth MacFarlane was announced to be the host of the 2013 edition of the awards, people knew a storm was coming. Seth is indeed funny, no doubt about that, but we all know his humour tends to go overboard and crass sometimes. His hosting received outrageous backlash from Hollywood after the ceremony. To put things a little into perspective, Seth’s opening act was a song about actresses who have bared the chest on screen. You get the gest? Right?
# The 1940 version of Oscars So White
Hattie McDaniel was the first black woman to win the Academy Award for the Best Actress in a Supporting Role for the film Gone with the Wind. But racial discrimination was quite the thing back in those days. The actress had a segregated table at the back of the room where she sat apart from the rest of the cast. She had to walk all across the room, to get to the podium. Have we progressed a lot? What do you think?
Streakers are a pretty common…what do we say…phenomenon or prank at sports fields. But Oscar got a taste of that in 1974. Right before David Niven was about to present the award at the 1974 ceremony, a man streaked across the stage. “Isn’t it fascinating to think that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings.” David Niven said after the prank.
Are you ready for some more Oscars controversy? Maybe reference to Donald Trump would make headlines this time? What do you think?