Oscars 90th Academy Awards

The Oscars ceremony caps a difficult few months during which the industry has declared war on the pervasive culture of sexual misconduct  brought to light by the downfall of movie mogul and alleged serial sex attacker Harvey Weinstein.The ceremony reaches its glittering climax on Sunday with fairy tale romance The Shape of Water and dark crime comedy Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri neck-and-neck in the race for the major statuettes.

About #MeToo

The “Me Too” movement  spread virally in October 2017 as a hashtag used on social media to help demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace.It followed soon after the public revelations of sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein.

The phrase was first used in this context by Tarana Burke and was popularized by Alyssa Milano when she encouraged women to tweet it to “give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem”. Since then, the phrase has been posted online millions of times, often with an accompanying personal story of sexual harassment or assault. The response on Twitter included high-profile posts from several celebrities, and many stories of sexual violence were shared, including from Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd,Jennifer Lawrence, and Uma Thurman.

The nominees: Call Me By Your Name, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, Get Out, Lady Bird, Phantom Thread, The Post, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Expectations

As with the Golden Globes in January, the mood in Tinseltown on Sunday is expected to be celebratory but defiant as the film world’s A-listers speak out against dozens of showbiz people called out for predatory behavior since October.

Peter Debruge, the chief film critic for Hollywood trade publication Variety, told AFP he expected this year’s celebrations would place front and center an issue acknowledged for a long time as an “open secret” — but never before handled.

With the #MeToo and Time’s Up campaigns against sexual misconduct and gender inequality dominating the 2018 awards circuit, this year’s Oscars is seen as an opportunity for the industry to support female filmmaking.

Greta Gerwig is only the fifth woman in Oscars history to be nominated for best director, but faces tough competition from Guillermo Del Toro, the favorite for “The Shape of Water,” Christopher Nolan (“Dunkirk”), Jordan Peele (“Get Out”) and Paul Thomas Anderson (“Phantom Thread”).

There was also the first nod in history for a female cinematographer, Rachel Morrison, who shot Dee Rees’s racial drama “Mudbound.”

“The Shape of Water,” a Cold War-set story of love between a mute cleaning woman and a mystery merman-like creature, tops the nominations with 13, one shy of the record.

It is vying for best picture, best director and best actress for its star Sally Hawkins, while Richard Jenkins and Octavia Spencer are in the running for supporting actor and actress.

“The Shape of Water” and “Three Billboards” will vie for best picture honors with seven other films, including “Dunkirk” and “Darkest Hour,” and coming-of-age movies “Call Me By Your Name” and “Lady Bird.”

Others in the coveted top category are dark satire “Get Out,” Daniel Day-Lewis’s apparent final film “Phantom Thread” — he has announced his retirement — and Pentagon Papers thriller “The Post.”

McDormand, who has dominated the awards season, is expected to bag her second best actress statuette with no serious challenge from Hawkins, Margot Robbie (“I, Tonya”), Saoirse Ronan (“Lady Bird”) or Meryl Streep (“The Post”), who notched her record 21st nomination.

For best actor, Gary Oldman is one of the surest bets of the night for his acclaimed performance as Churchill in “Darkest Hour.”

Source: www.afp.com

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