He had already said he has no plans to watch the ceremony, but nonetheless, Donald Trump could be felt everywhere in the room where the Oscars were handed out on Sunday night in Los Angeles.
After he committed the cardinal sin of dissing Hollywood’s matriarch, Ms Streep, Trump could only expect Meryl’s army to come out fighting. And they did.
- An outfit speaks a thousand words. Many stars punctuated their thousand-dollar outfits with a blue ribbon signifying their support for the ACLU - America’s Civil Liberties Union.
- Jimmy Kimmel’s opening monologue, including this best line “I want to thank Donald Trump. Do you remember last year when it seemed like the Oscars were racist?
- The always passionate Gael Garcia Bernal, on stage as a presenter, who remained smiling as he said: “As a Mexican, as a Latin American, as a migrant worker, as a human being, I’m against any form of wall that wants to separate us.”
- Even Sting’s musical number, ‘Empty Chair’ made its salient point. As Sting performed the song from the documentary about James Foley, one of the murdered journalist’s quotes was shown above him, “
- Then, Jimmy Kimmel made the extraordinary gesture of expressing his disappointment that Donald Trump hadn’t tweeted yet. And tweeting him, live, on television, at the Oscars. Astonishing.
- The strongest words came from Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, who won the Best Foreign FilmOscar for ‘The Salesman’, but boycotted the ceremony. He sent a statement which was read out, explaining:
“It’s a great honour to be receiving this valuable award for the 2nd time. I would like to thank the members of the Academy… I’m sorry I’m not with you tonight, my absence is out of respect for the people of my country and the other six nations who have been disrespected by an inhumane law that bans them from the US.”
- Presenter Meryl Streep, who’d been slammed as “over-rated” by Trump previously, thanked her gushing co-presenter Javier Bardem: “I was feeling so unrecognised, unrewarded, you’ve redeemed the night for me.” She had earlier received a standing ovation, clearly in support of her taking a stand at Trump’s mockery of a reporter at the Golden Globes.
- Even the makers of ‘Zootopia’, which won Best Animated Feature, expressed their hope that the film shared the lesson that “tolerance being more powerful than fear of the other”.
- And it was left to classy Warren Beatty, on stage to present the Oscar for Best Film, to remind the audience that the best films were there to reflect “respect for diversity and freedom all over the world”. Unfortunately, his remarks got somewhat overshadowed.
This year’s Awards Season hasn’t seen a chance missed by strong-feeling actors, producers, writers to take to their winning platforms and nail their colours to an anti-Trump mast - whether it be David Harbour promising to “keep fighting monsters” when he collected his gong for Stranger Things at the SAG Awards (complete with a tireless Winona Ryder silently making her feelings felt alongside him), or Meryl Streep berating Trump’s mocking of a reporter when she scooped up her Golden Globe Achievement Award last month.
For that, she was swiftly dismissed by Trump as “over-rated” (20 Oscar nominations, notwitstanding) - he may have to come up with a handful of new epithets before the night is out.
Even the mild-mannered Emma Stone, favourite to be accepting the Best Actress Oscar tonight, used her acceptance speech at the BAFTAs to remind people it is a time to “come together”. If only Michael Moore was up for an award... “We live in fictitious times,” he told us in 2003. He was booed then...