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Sunday 19 November 2017

From racism to rape to climate change - was this the most political Oscars ever?

Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

From racism to rape to paedophilia and climate change, stars had agendas to push at this year's Oscars and they took full advantage of a global audience of several hundred million viewers.

Chris Rock set the tone with his opening monologue which tore the Academy apart over the #OscarsSoWhite controversy.

"Welcome to the Academy Awards, otherwise known as the white people's choice awards!" he began, before tackling racism, "Is Hollywood racist? You're damn right it's racist! Hollywood is sorority racist - We like you Rhonda, but you're not a Kappa!"

However, he spoke out against the boycott.

"Why are we protesting this Oscars? It's the 88th Academy Awards, which means this whole 'no black nominees' thing has happened at least 71 other times."

He said black people didn't protest before because they had "real things to protest at the time. They were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who wins best cinematographer."

And so it continued as Rock, who admitted he had completely re-written his monologue in the wake of the diversity controversy, performed a autopsy on the elephant in the room.

Elsewhere, Vice President Joe Biden and Lady Gaga united to promote White House campaign It's On Us, which aims to eradicate sexual assaults on US university campuses.

Biden introduced Lady Gaga for her haunting performance of Till It Happens to You, which was nominated for Best Original Song.

"Despite significant progress over the last couple years, too many women and men are still victims of sexual abuse," he said.

"Let's change the culture so that no abused woman or man ever feels they have to ask themselves, 'What did I do?'.  They did nothing wrong."

Gaga's song features on the soundtrack for the 2015 documentary The Hunting Ground which documents alleged incidents of abuse on American college campuses.

For her performance Gaga was joined on stage by survivors of sexual assault.

The winners' speeches provided the perfect opportunity for stars to have their say and Leonardo DiCaprio harnessed his 60 seconds following his first ever Oscar win to highlight the issue of climate change.

"Making The Revenant was about man's relationship to the natural world. Climate change is real, it is happening right now," he said.

"We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters, the big corporations, but all of humanity,the indigenous people of the world, the billions and billions of underprivileged people who will be most affected by this, for our children's children, for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed.

"I thank you all for this amazing award tonight.  Let us not take this planet for granted.  I do not take tonight for granted."

The Spotlight team also took the opportunity to address the Catholic Church in their acceptance speech for Best Film.

The film charts the Boston Globe's 2002 expose on the child molestation scandal which rocked the city's Catholic church.

Producer Michael Sugar said that he hoped the film's message - that institutional silence on child abuse would not be tolerated - would "resonate all the way to the Vatican".

He continued, "Pope Francis - it's time to protect the children and restore the faith."

2016-02-2_8819.jpg
Producers Steve Golin, Blye Pagon Faust, Nicole Rocklin and Michael Sugar (L-R) of the Best Picture winning film "Spotlight" pose with their Oscars backstage at the 88th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California February 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Producers Steve Golin, Blye Pagon Faust, Nicole Rocklin and Michael Sugar (L-R) of the Best Picture winning film "Spotlight" pose with their Oscars backstage at the 88th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California February 28, 2016.   REUTERS/Mike Blake

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