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Time’s up, Oscar

  • Published at 06:47 pm March 4th, 2018
Time’s up, Oscar
The red carpet, the stars, the fashion, the speeches -- you can expect them all this year. As you probably know, and perhaps you are one of the many who have been highly anticipating this year’s Oscars, the annual event will occur for the 90th time this 2018 on Sunday, March 4 (Hollywood, CA). The lights and camera are ready, the action will follow suit, and late-night host Jimmy Kimmel will hopefully rack up the laughs again, just as he did during last year’s ceremony. However, this year is unique in that it will be very different from any of the previous Oscars, and there are a number of reasons that factor into this. As the “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” movements increasingly gain traction, this year’s Oscars will mark the introduction of a very important shift from the male-dominated world of Hollywood and just about everything else. Here is what you need to know. Before we get into the real stuff, let us first get the rundown out of the way. Prepared next is your Oscars 2018 Viewing Guide: Starting at 8 pm EST/5 pm PST on ABC, the show will begin a whopping half-hour earlier this year, so viewers will just have to wait and see what this supplementary time holds, whether it means the puns will be funnier or the speeches will be longer. Jimmy Kimmel will be your host of the night, and there are sure to be some disses and delights. In light of his more politically-charged monologues recently on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” this could be an interesting possibility for the turn of discussions. What will be the buzz of the night? The bustling line of adorned celebrities waiting for their turn at a chat with Ryan Seacrest might be just a bit shorter this year. Although E! host Ryan Seacrest is set to maintain his usual hosting duties, this night could prove to be complicated, given that he is defending himself against sexual misconduct allegations made by his ex-stylist Suzie Hardy. Strong support for the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements could make for some charged encounters. The list of presenters proves to be quite impressive. Spectators can expect to see the familiar faces of Sandra Bullock, Emily Blunt, Dave Chapelle, Jodie Foster, Eiza González, Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, and Christopher Walken, among others. Oscar Winner Lupita N’yongo will also be present, and if her name sounds familiar, it is because -- drum-roll please -- she is one of the stars of what is the biggest film currently in theaters, Black Panther. What lies beneath? Moving onto underlying segment that will expand its presence to the Oscars, this year’s event will be one of solidarity, progress, and hopefully, change. This year’s award season has been dominated by talk of the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns. Thanks to Alyssa Milano enlisting a rally cry by using tweets as a way of giving people an insight into the magnitude of the problem of sexual harassment and assault, the “Me Too” Twitter movement began. The social media movement rapidly gained significant attraction and attention, with celebrities and fans alike courageously sharing their experiences. Following the slew of sexual misconduct scandals that plagued the latter half of 2017, the women of Hollywood had had enough and decided to say “Time’s Up.” Driven by outrage and a fierce resolve to fix a power imbalance that seemed intractable just a few months ago, 300 prominent actresses and female agents created an initiative to fight systemic sexual harassment nationwide. Inspired in part by the Me Too movement, Time’s Up was announced in January as a passionate pledge of support to working-class woman through an open letter signed by hundreds in show business. This campaign differs from the Me Too movement in that it gives women a sense of agency to speak up and catalyze tangible change in such behavior within the industry. The Time’s Up movement will be represented during the 2018 Oscars. The Time’s Up campaign has undoubtedly had multiple moments during this season of awards, but unlike the Golden Globes, there will be no unofficial dress code of black for celebrities to show their support of #TimesUp and to protest the type of behaviour that the movement fights against. However, film director Ava Duvernay, along with actresses Tessa Thompson and Laura Dern, have confirmed to USA Today that there will be a special “moment” during the awards ceremony, in recognition and support of the movement. A statement will still be made, but in a different way.
This year’s award season has been dominated by talk of the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns
While the Golden Globes’ red carpet became the platform through which female agents channeled their influence into action, the focus now is on building the organization’s infrastructure. As reported by Variety, the legal defense fund -- which has now reached $21 million from 20,000 donors -- is intended to provide legal assistance to women across the country in all industries. Shonda Rhimes, best known as the showrunner of medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, also made it clear that the organization will continue to have an active presence, outside of solely the awards season. “It’s really important that you know that Time’s Up is not about the red carpet,” she told journalists. “And those women you saw on the red carpet representing Time’s Up are now off the red carpet working their butts off being activists.” What can we expect to come next?  Further progress can be seen in the #AskMoreOfHim campaign that a group of Hollywood men have launched, which aims to shed light on the critical role men have in speaking out against sexism. With celebrities using their high-profile platforms and influence to raise awareness for victims of sexual abuse and harassment, a group of male members in the industry along with activists have continued such efforts by signing an open letter explaining why men must take on the responsibility of calling out sexism and taking ownership of their actions. While acknowledging that not all men may be perpetrators of sexual abuse, the letter goes onto say that by not taking action against those who have been perpetrators of this violence in the past, some may have enabled others and thus, this movement is extremely important for the proper mindset to be developed. This letter was signed by Friends actor David Schwimmer, Scream actor David Arquette, and How to Get Away with Murder actor Matt McGorry, among others. It is difficult to foresee whether this wildfire of energy and momentum will lead to persistent changes, but as America Ferrera said: “It’s not as satisfying as finding a silver bullet. We all recognize there’s no such thing.” But, she added, “not taking action is no longer an option.” Since its creation before the Golden Globes, Time’s Up has progressed far past just the Hollywood scene. “We are global at this point,” Rhimes said. And in this courage and solidarity is where the future lies, for both Hollywood and beyond. Sasha S Faruque, Dhaka Tribune Correspondent in Hollywood, CA.