Last week, Ava DuVernay confirmed that the Oscars would be giving a dedicated moment to the Time’s Up movement. Two and a half hours into the show, we finally got it. We first had to sit through Jimmy Kimmel offering winners a jet ski and a trip to Lake Havasu in the interest of brevity in their speeches, as well as the host dragging a bunch of stars across the street to disrupt a screening of A Wrinkle in Time with hot dog canons. It was almost too little, too late, but seeing Salma Hayek, Annabella Sciorra, and Ashley Judd take to the mic to make impassioned speeches was worth the wait. They deserved all the time in the world after their harrowing experiences with Harvey Weinstein, which they bravely spoke out about in the past few months.
Hayek wrote an essay in The New York Times titled “Harvey Weinstein Is My Monster, Too.” Sciorra told Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker that Weinstein raped her in the early ‘90s. Judd was the very first actress to come forward in the bombshell New York Times piece that revealed Weinstein’s monstrosity to the world in early October. The three women were visibly emotional as they took the stage at the Oscars on Sunday night. They praised the many women and men who spoke up in the face of possible career repercussions and industry blacklisting, but noted how long the journey has been to outing these predators and ridding the industry of the insidious problem of sexual assault and harassment. They noted how many powerful voices have come together to bring about the changes that we’re finally witnessing; a chorus finally forming to say “Time’s Up.” “We salute those unstoppable spirits who kicked ass and broke through the bias perception against their gender, race, and ethnicity to tell their stories,” said Hayek. And, the women looked to the future, noting that action needs to be taken to “empower these limitless possibilities of equality, diversity, inclusion, [and] intersectionality.”
Hayek, Sciorra, and Judd then introduced the most important montage of the night (in a night of a lot of montages): a reel of trailblazers discussing what changes have already been made in the industry, and what should be done going forward so that we don’t only see the stories of straight, white men being told by straight, white men. “There’s nothing to be scared of, it’s just equality,” Sarah Silverman pointed out. Geena Davis noted that when Thelma & Louise came out, the press heralded it as the arrival of what would surely be a slew of woman-led stories. Oh, how wrong they were. It would take decades for Wonder Woman to shatter records at the box office, finally convincing executives that the public is thirsty for the tales of women.
Speaking of women’s stories, Lady Bird director Greta Gerwig talked about how stifled she felt growing up, when “all the movies I loved were directed by men; that seemed like a prerequisite.” She soon realised she’d have to take matters into her own hands, writing and directing her own material. Tonight, she’s nominated for Best Director and Best Picture. She urged everyone watching to do the same.
Lee Daniels and Barry Jenkins talked about the success of Black Panther, reminding everyone that we need more stories from every perspective and walk of life. “Some of our best work has come from turmoil,” Daniels said. “Get ready to see more Get Outs.” Now that Jordan Peele has taken home the award for Best Original Screenplay, his words could not ring more true.
Kumail Nanjiani added a touch of levity to the montage, but his words still remained grounded because of how true they rang. He talked about how for so long he saw the stories of straight white men made by straight white men, and now they were being forced to watch his story with The Big Sick, so in their face (just kidding; he didn’t say it that way, but I kind of wish he had). He also added that his wife and cowriter on The Big Sick, the talented and hilarious Emily V. Gordon, always said that she wants to make a website called “Muslims Having Fun,” which would feature pictures of Muslim people doing things like eating ice cream and going shopping, to remind everyone that Muslims are…just like everyone else.
Hollywood still has a long way to go in terms of making good on these promises, but steps are already being taken. The Time’s Up legal defence fund has already raised millions of dollars, and these segments help draw millions of eyeballs to its cause. You can donate to the fund here. Watch Hayek, Judd, Sciorra, and the montage of trailblazers below.
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