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                                                          The 88th Academy Awards

                                 We all Dream in Gold     

                                                                               by Lea Michelle Cash/Celebrity Showcase/Published 03/03/2016


     5,4,3,2,1—its Oscar Sunday! Chris Rock, the comedian and actor has been known for exploring overly sensitive topics when it comes to race.  This year as the Master of Ceremonies, the celebrity host of the 88th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood courageously faced the racial controversies of #OscarsSoWhite throughout the entire four-hour television broadcast. 

     Rock used from the second he opened his mouth, unconventional, cross the line, straight in your face, stand down, unapologetic, racism sucks humor.  Knowing and fully understanding, the instant ride or die power of social media.  “Is Hollywood racist?” he asked. “You dam right it’s racist!” Even his final comments at the close of the ceremony, while holding a box of Girl Scout cookies, he shouted the universal famous slogan “Black Lives Matter,” and as the broadcast credits rolled, Public Enemy’s seminal 1990 song, Fight the Power played in the background. Oh, what a night this was.  Hollywood will get better and disputes will be resolved, but some comment made at this year’s Academy Awards will live on forever.

       The message Rock delivered to millions came across loud and clear to the point of Oscar boredom, that the longstanding frustrations among many with business as usually in Hollywood will not be tolerated any longer.  Although black nominees were visually absent from the show—the telecast's dynamic producers, Reginald Hudlin and David Hill lined up some of Hollywood’s hottest black talent such as Kevin Hart, Kerry Washington, Whoopie Goldberg, Lou Gossett Jr., John Legend, and Common as presenters.  

     But truth be told, the extravagant ceremony belonged to the nominees dreaming in gold, seeking to win the golden statuette named Oscar.  Once the platform was set, the holy-moly in your face Chris Rock dialogue/humor tackling Hollywood’s racial uncomfortable topic, did not damper the inspiring and uplifting moments of acceptance speeches and glitzy stage performances from nominees. The Weeknd, Sam Smith

and Lady Gaga, who Vice President Joe Biden introduced focusing on promoting the White House’s “It’s On Us” campaign aimed at ending sexual assaults on college campuses.

     There were a few upsetting moments and those in the media room backstage reacted.  They were when Mark Rylance won Best Supporting Actor over fan favorite Sylvester Stallone. The movie Spotlight takes the gold over The Revenant, Sam Smith wins over Lady Gaga, and when Stacy Dash stepped out wishing everyone a “Happy Black History Month.”  Her appearance and statement made fell flat.  Awkward. Matter of fact, she may have been the worst celebrity joker of the evening, besides the one time that Rock fell flat, likening Jada’s boycott of the Oscars to Rhianna’s underwear, which was dumb and quite tasteless.   

     Mad Maxi: Fury Road took a sweep of wins for Film Editing, Costume Design, Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Makeup and Hair.  The movie Spotlight wins Best Movie of the Year. The biggest cheers and reaction from the press core happened when Leo DiCaprio finally wins his first Oscar for Best Male Actor, in his role for The Revenant.

     The unforgettable and powerful moment of the night was Lady Gaga’s performance of her and Diane Warren’s nominated song Til It happens to You from the documentary The Hunting Ground.  There was also the Girl Scouts of America fundraising opportunity representing millions of Girl Scout nationwide.    Morgan Freeman and Batman were spotted munching on Thin Mints, as celebrities in tuxedos and thousand dollar gowns waved dollar bills sweeping up boxes of cookies to support the cause.  

     Was the evening a success, opinions are flying off the hook? While trying to solve a big out of the box problem that required a diverse set of skills, the 88th Academy Awards certainly did provided enough fuel for discussion for generations to come positive or negative, taking their creative freedom to pursue specific goals towards diversity to a new level.  As a result, there is no other way to put it.   So for that the Academy gets an A+.  Welcome to the world of making movies and debates about creative challenges. 

Photos courtesy of A.M.P.A.S

Kevin Winter/Getty Images/A.M.P.A.S