The Academy Awards as expected got political, with host Jimmy Kimmel, presenters and winners making a statement against US President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration ban.
Kimmel fired his first salvo at Trump by saying this broadcast is being watched live by millions of Americans and around the world in more than 225 countries that now hate us.
“I want to say thank you to President Trump. I mean remember last year when it seemed like the Oscars were racist? It has been an amazing year for movies. Black people saved NASA and white people saved jazz. That’s what you call progress,” he said.
He later touched on Trump’s “overrated” tweet about Meryl Streep, stemming from her speech this year at the Golden Globe Awards.
Kimmel joked about the 20-time Oscar nominee’s “mediocre early work” and “underwhelming” performances, adding that she’s “phoned it in for more than 50 films.”
Then he made Streep get up for an “undeserved” standing ovation from the audience.
The political theme continued as the speeches began, starting with the Italian winners of the Oscar for best makeup and hairstyling.
“I’m an immigrant,” one of the winners declared, dedicating his Oscar to other immigrants and drawing a round of applause from the audience.
That was followed by the winner of the best documentary feature. Producer and director Ezra Edelman accepted his award on behalf of victims of police violence, police brutality and criminal injustice.
“This is their story as well as Ron’s and Nicole’s,” he said, referring to murder victims Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown.
Viola Davis continued the theme, paying tribute to everyday people as she accepted her first Oscar for best-supporting actress.
“You know, there’s one place with all the people with the greatest potential are gathered, and that’s the graveyard,” she said.
“People ask me all the time, ‘What kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola?’ And I say, exhume those bodies, exhume those stories. The stories of the people who dream big and never saw those dreams to fruition. People who fell in love and lost.”
After Davis speech, in which she brought many in the audience to tears, Kimmel joked that she should get an Emmy nomination just for speech.
Accepting the award for best adapted screenplay, “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins told the audience, “If you feel like there is no mirror for you, the Academy has your back, the ACLU has your back, we have your back and over the next four years we will not leave you alone. We will not forget you.”