Why Oscars 2018 Was A Disappointment To #TimesUp

After a monumental turn up in support of #TimesUp at the Golden Globes and continuous conversations on the subject of feminism among big names in the film industry, I honestly thought to myself change was finally underway but this year’s Oscars 2018 was a clear-cut disappointment.

Aside from Jimmy Kimmel’s opening monologue to address alleged abuse, three Weinstein accusers – Ashley Judd, Salma Hayek and Annabella Sciorra stood together onstage to discuss the great impact of #MeToo movement. Although all of of that sounds very powerful, it was a huge opportunity missed. It was uncomfortably awkward and as a whole it felt forced.

Ashley Judd, Salma Hayek, Annabella Sciorra at The 90th Academy Awards (Image: WENN.com)

Ironically that applied to almost everything else that happened at an occasion that’s supposed to empower the most celebrated people in the world.

Being the first Academy Awards since the Weinstein Scandal, people behind the Oscars made a statement before the ceremony that they would like the event to be more “focused on films, not the cultural moment around them” and segued their way into plans of having a specific moment during the night to show solidarity to the #MeToo movement. To me that sounds like another way of desperately asking their guests to pretend like the Dolby Theatre wasn’t full of powerful men who have either been accused of sexual harassment or would blatantly prefer not to speak up on the matter.

Even on the red carpet itself, both E! and ABC still insisted on having Ryan Seacrest to co-anchor, albeit recent controversy surrounding sexual assault allegations by former stylist, Suzie Hardy. An E! Investigation that was completed on February 1st concluded that they did not find sufficient evidence to support the claims made against Seacrest. We can point fingers all day long with the whole he-said, she-said but there’s no question that it wasn’t such a smart move by the networks and himself to be in the spotlight. Many celebrities skipped talking to Seacrest which reduced E!’s red carpet coverage. Taraji P. Henson was one of the few actresses who didn’t and I think she took the chance only to cast a curse over Seacrest by telling him “the universe has a way of taking care of the good people”.

Henson wasn’t the only one who called out on Hollywood hypocrisy. Donya Fiorentino, ex-wife of Best Actor winner Gary Oldman didn’t shy away from opening up to TMZ about her opinion on the Oscars when she said, “Congratulations, Gary and congratulations to the Academy for awarding not one but two abusers with Oscars. I thought we had evolved. What happened to the #MeToo movement?” which could be referring to Kobe Bryant who won Best Animated Short as the second abuser as he was charged for raping a woman in 2003. The alleged victim failed to cooperate when the case was brought to trial. The NBA Star denied paying off the victim when rumours spiralled.

Whereas, Gary Oldman was accused of both physical and emotional abuse in 2001 by ex-wife Fiorentino during their 4 years of marriage and after their divorce, a judge gave him custody of their children.

With all the talk on progress and change, Hollywood’s taking its sweet time keeping up with their own words. It’ll take more than one night in a little black dress to win this fight, before women and people of colour are able to contribute their fair share of amazing talent and voice to the world, they have to first be given the opportunity to. In time it will reflect on meaningful changes for the future, not just to promote advocacy as an accessory to for free publicity but for a more inclusive society where nobody’s left behind.