• Carmen Milligan

More thoughts on the Oscars

As I sit and rewatch the Academy Awards on Hulu, I am struck by a few things that I need to mention.

"On average, every day, police in America kill three people. James Baldwin said that the most despicable thing a person can be is indifferent to other people's pain. Please do not be indifferent." These were the words spoken by Oscar winner Travon Free, won for "Two Distant Strangers".

That sets the stage for what is happening right now in Hollywood. It's not a movie retelling the story of Cinderella. It's not about a family squatting in a wealthy family's house. It's not about an aquatic creature falling in love with a deaf woman. The focus in Hollywood is telling THE stories.

"Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" is about white control over the black "mother of the blues". An economic collapse moves a woman to leave her life of convention and live life on the road in "Nomadland". The best animated film espouses living the life of true passion in "Soul". The winner for animated short film conquers the reality of school shootings in "If Anything Happens I Love You". Hollywood is FINALLY showing the stories of our history, in a real and ugly and truthful way. And it makes for a beautiful and educational experience.

Speeches were not full of thanking god and parents, but more about bringing witness to events, truth, reality. Speechmakers begged the audience to make a difference, to see the inequalities, and to do that one thing that may make a huge difference in the future of humanity.

In the beginning, Regina King (who is the SHIT, by the way) said this: "I know that a lot of you people at home what to reach for your remote when you feel like Hollywood is preaching to you, but as a mother of a black son, I know the fear that so many live with. No amount of fame or fortune changes that."

That was an important statement in the most non-aggressive way it could have been said. And it made an impact.

It's about damn time that Hollywood is opening its eyes, so long blinded by privilege and denial, and shows movie watchers everywhere what the world REALLY looks like, with all of its horrors, injustice, reconciliation, and forward movement. The "golden age" of Hollywood needs to be buried, and we need to look at ourselves in the hard and courageous mirror of self-reflection.

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