Pro politics at award shows

Abbey Alexander, Arts & Entertainment Editor

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In the distant past, award shows have been a platform only for comical hosts, touching acceptance speeches and the occasional scandalous wardrobe malfunction. But the year is 2019, and the times have most definitely changed. For the past few years, award shows have been just as much of a political showcase as a celebration of the arts. Whether it’s through a politically charged acceptance speech or satirical jokes made by the host(s), there is simply no escaping the world of politics- on the red carpet or off. This raises the question: are award shows the proper platform to discuss political matters?

While some may reminisce at the old, simple era of award shows, I argue that politics absolutely belong at these events. There are a few reasons for this. First of all, we can hope that when the camera pans around the event hall of whatever award show it may be (The Academy Awards, Golden Globes, etc), we see a rainbow of races, genders, and sexualtities. As Hollywood becomes more diverse, it becomes more populated by groups of people who are directly affected by the policies that are being put into action each day in our country. It would be somewhat irresponsible for hosts and winners, who have the voice to reach millions of people, to not use this voice to discuss the issues that affect the people around them. In addition to this, the platform of award shows allows hosts and winners to speak about politics in a light hearted, satirical way. In this day and age, it is very rare that a group of people can discuss politics without the issues being polarized or fought over, as opinions often become too strong to coexist in peace. The humor and casual matter with which politics are brought up in the bits presented by hosts allows these matters to be discussed and brought attention to, without fights being started. In fact, the actors in the rooms of these events are often open to even have themselves made fun of, and more often than not, they play along. At the 2019 Golden Globes, for example, Co-host Sandra Oh brought up the controversial and highly political issue of whitewashing when she called out Emma Stone for her role in the 2015 movie, Aloha, where she was criticized for playing a Hawaiian Asian character. Oh shot the scrutinizing joke out against Stone, saying ” “Crazy Rich Asians” is the first studio film with an Asian American lead since “Ghost in the Shell” and “Aloha.”, to which Stone called out from the back of the room “I’m sorry!”. It was a lighthearted joke about a serious issue, and was handled with a lighthearted apology. Some may argue this is how all political issues should be dealt with, and the platform of award shows allows this to happen with ease and comedy.

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