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#Oscars Get Political: #BlackLivesMatter, Inclusivity and “Why Is Trump Not Tweeting Anything?”

Satirical, politically-charged and continuous Trump bullying, the Academy and the stars came together to criticize their President like no one ever has – or ever will.

You don’t call Meryl Streep “underwhelming” and get away with it.

While Jimmy Kimmel might not be a Colbert or an Oliver, he definitely didn’t want to be the other Jimmy (ass-licking Fallon) and woose out. While the Oscars night opened with a very peppy Justin Timberlake number, Kimmel immediately launched a tirade of jokes on Trump, especially talking about how underwhelming and undeserving actors like Meryl Streep were around (sarcastically, of course, for the uninitiated) and how “we are okay with fake tans but not fake news” – a jibe at Trump’s constant press bashing. During the show, Kimmel also live tweeted out to the President. “I am surprised that he hasn’t tweeted anything yet,” Kimmel mused, only to tweet, “Hey Trump, you up?” He followed that up with a cheeky #MerylSaysHi.

The nominees and the winners celebrated diversity like never before. Mahershala Ali became the first Muslim (he’s also black, by the way – talk about a double whammy) actor to win the statuette (Moonlight), Viola Davis became the first black actor to win an Oscar, Emmy and Tony (Fences). Woman, just cut an album and EGOT it already. And after the heart-stopping Steve Harvey-style goof up, Moonlight emerged the Best Film of the year – A story about black people, mixed race Cubans and homosexual identity.

The presenters – from Dev Patel to Gael Garcia Bernal to Salma Hayek – displayed the global and cosmopolitan strength of the American movie industry, each bringing up the need for love and inclusivity in times like this, each applauded enthusiastically by the audience. Meryl Streep sat silently through it all, warmly smiling, realising that her industry has tried, in every way, to stand by her after the horrible backlash she received recently. And the most joyous hashtag on social media will be #BlackLivesMatter.

But, the best snub of the evening was from ace Iranian film-maker Asghar Farhadi, who picked up his second Best Foreign Language Film Oscar this year for The Salesman (he won for A Separation in 2012). Farhadi was not there to receive his award. His representative read a statement which thanked the Academy and stated: “I’m sorry I’m not with you tonight. My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of other six nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S.”

Now that’s ballsy. And this was the ballsiest (and angriest) the Oscars evening has ever been.  

Arnesh Ghose

Film. Stage. Food. Fashion. Books and biryani make this world a better place.