Actors and filmmakers have a long history of taking action and speaking out at the Academy Awards for what they believe in.
At the 1973 Academy Awards, Sacheen Littlefeather refuses the Academy Award for Best Actor on behalf of Marlon Brando who won for his role in The Godfather. She carries a letter from Brando in which he explains he refused the award in protest of American treatment of the Native Americans.
This year, for 30 seconds, the Oscars went silent for Ukraine.
A tribute that started with words from the Ukrainian-born Mila Kunis ended with the Academy Awards fading to black about midway through Sunday’s show from Los Angeles, with a plea for anyone watching to do whatever possible to send help to those in the war-torn nation.
“Recent global events have left many of us feeling gutted,” Kunis said as she took the stage, part of her remarks to introduce Reba McIntyre’s performance of the Oscar-nominated song’Somehow You Do‘ desde Four Good Days.
“Yet when you witness the strength and dignity of those facing such devastation, it’s impossible to not be moved by their resilience,” Kunis continued. “One cannot help but be in awe of those who find strength to keep fighting through unimaginable darkness.”
On the other hand, Oscars 2022 co-hosts Amy Schumer, Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes started off the three-hour telecast with jokes about gender discrimination, diversity, political divisions and homophobia.
“This year, the Academy hired three women to host because it’s cheaper than hiring one man,” Schumer quipped as the comedians welcomed viewers.
Actors and filmmakers have a long history of taking action and speaking out at the Academy Awards for what they believe in. Not everyone has taken this opportunity though, except for maybe wearing the odd ribbon to support awareness or using their attendance (or lack thereof) to show solidarity. As the 2022 Oscars come to fruition, we track down the top political moments of the Academy.
The outspoken Jane Fonda, whom some dubbed “Hanoi Jane” for her visit to North Vietnam and her opposition to the Vietnam War, was uncharacteristically cautious in her acceptance speech for winning Best Actress for “Klute.” But her brevity of her spoke volumes about the tense political climate.
In 1973, Marlon Brando was nominated for Best Actor for his performance in The Godfather. But Brando famously boycotted the Oscars, and in his place he sent Native American activist Sacheen Littlefeather. Although he gave her a rather lengthy written speech to read, she was n’t able to read it due to time constraints and instead improvised a speech that summarized Brando’s feelings from her about “the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry [and] recent happenings at Wounded Knee.”
Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins 1993
In 1993, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon kicked off their presentation of the Best Editing award by calling attention to 266 Haitians who were being held in Guantanamo Bay, barred from entering the United States because they’d tested positive for HIV.
Halle Berry 2002
Halle Berry became the first black actress to win the Best Actress award for “Monster’s Ball. She used the opportunity to give an impassioned speech acknowledging the historic and political significance of the moment. “I am so honored, and I thank the Academy for choosing me to be the vessel from which this blessing might flow,” she said.
Patricia Arquette 2015
Patricia Arquette chose to use her time onstage after winning Best Supporting Actress for boyhood to address the massive wage gap in Hollywood.
Leonardo DiCaprio 2016
After winning his maiden Oscar for The RevenantLeonardo DiCaprio switched gears for one green plea: “Climate change is real. It is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism