12 must-see Oscar moments that didn’t center on straight white men.

The 90th Academy Awards ceremony was a glamorous, star-studded affair full of white dudes.

However, the winds of change are shifting. Its becoming abundantly clear the Academy, the film industry, and the country will no longer solely look to straight, cisgender, white men to lead the way. And that’s awesome.

Here are 12 standout moments from last nights Academy Awards that give me hope for a brighter, more diverse and inclusive future.


1. Jordan Peele won Best Original Screenplay for his horror masterpiece “Get Out.”

Hes the first black screenwriter to win the award. Yeah, first.

“I want to dedicate this to everyone who let me raise my voice,” he said in his acceptance speech.

2. Before presenting a montage of clips from war films, Cherokee actor and veteran Wes Studi addressed the audience in Cherokee language.

3. The award for Best Original Song went to “Remember Me,” from “Coco,” written by husband and wife duo Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez.

With this being his second Academy Award win, Robert Lopez, a Filipino-American, is now the first person to ever win at least two Grammys, Emmys, Tonys, and Oscars — or as the kids say, the “Double EGOT.”

The couple accepts their Oscar for Best Original Song.  Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

4. “Coco” also took home the award for Best Animated Feature Film, and the acceptance speech was heartwarming.

Producer Darla K. Anderson thanked her wife and co-director Adrian Molina thanked his husband, which is always awesome to see on national TV.

And co-director Lee Unkrich took a minute to stress the importance of representation in film:

“With ‘Coco’ we tried to take a step forward toward a world where all children can grow up seeing characters in movies that look and talk and live like they do. Marginalized people deserve to feel like they belong. Representation matters.”

Adrian Molina, Lee Unkrich and Darla K. Anderson. Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images.

5. James Ivory took home his first Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for “Call Me By Your Name.”

Ivory is openly gay, and at 89 years old, he’s now the oldest person to win an Oscar. He also wore the film’s star, Timothée Chalamet, on his shirt. Your fave could never.

6. “The Silent Child,” which tells the story of a deaf child who learns to communicate, won for Best Live Action Short Film.

The film’s writer and co-star, Rachel Shenton, promised Maisie Sly, the film’s 6-year-old deaf actress, that she would sign her acceptance speech if they won. Shenton fulfilled the promise, using British Sign Language (albeit slightly nervously) to accept the award.

7. Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o and nominee Kumail Nanjiani — immigrants from Kenya and Pakistan, respectively — showed their support for DREAMers.

“Like everyone in this room and everyone watching at home, we are dreamers. We grew up dreaming of one day working in the movies. Dreams are the foundation of Hollywood, and dreams are the foundation of America,” Nyong’o said.

GIF via The Academy Awards.

8. In the performance for their nominated song “Stand Up for Something” from the film “Marshall,” Andra Day and Common invited activists to join them on stage.

Common and Day personally invited each activist to participate in the performance. Guests on-stage included Bana Alabed (author and Syrian refugee), José Andrés (ThinkFoodGroup), Alice Brown Otter (Standing Rock Youth Council), Tarana Burke (Me Too), Patrisse Cullors (Black Lives Matter), Nicole Hockley (Sandy Hook Promise), Dolores Huerta (Dolores Huerta Foundation and the United Farm Workers of America), Janet Mock (#GirlsLikeUs), Cecile Richards (Planned Parenthood Action Fund), and Bryan Stevenson (Equal Justice Initiative).

From left: Cecile Richards, Nicole Hockley, Janet Mock, Tarana Burke, Bryan Stevenson, Common, Jose Andres, Bana Alabed, Andra Day, Patrisse Cullors, Dolores Huerta and Alice Brown Otter attend the Academy Awards. Photo by Matt Sayles/A.M.P.A.S via Getty Images.

9. Guadalajara, Mexico, native Guillermo del Toro took home his first Academy Award for Best Director for “The Shape of Water.”

The film later went on to win Best Picture. And del Toro checked the envelope just to be sure. (Can you blame him after last year?)

10. Daniela Vega, star of Best Foreign Language Film, “A Fantastic Woman,” became the Oscars’ first transgender presenter.

Vega introduced singer/songwriter Sufjan Stevens to the stage to perform his nominated song, “Mystery of Love" from “Call Me By Your Name.”

11. Three of Harvey Weinstein’s accusers, actresses Ashley Judd, Annabella Sciorra, and Salma Hayek, delivered a moving speech about women reclaiming their time and space in the industry.

12. And I’d be remiss not to mention Frances McDormand, who won Best Actress for her role in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

Not only did McDormand have every single woman nominee in the room stand up and be recognized, she also taught all of us a very important phrase — inclusion rider.

Inclusion riders can cover not just the casting but the crew as well, opening up opportunities for marginalized people in all areas of the industry. It’s truly using your privilege and power for good. Brava!

So, yes, the Academy Awards were a glamorous, star-studded affair full of white dudes — but they won’t be for long.

Change is coming quicker and more aggressively than ever before. And it’s about time.

True

Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less

The current COVID-19 "strategy" from the White House appears to be to push for theoretical "herd immunity" by letting the virus spread among the young and healthy population while protecting the elderly and immunocompromised until a certain (genuinely unknown) threshold is reached. Despite many infectious disease experts and some of the world's largest medical institutions decrying the idea as "a dangerous fallacy unsupported by scientific evidence," and "practically impossible and highly unethical," the radiologist Trump added to his pandemic team is trying to convince people it's a grand plan.

Aside from the fact that we don't know enough about the natural immunity of this virus and the fact that "herd immunity" is a term used in vaccine science—not as a strategy of purposefully infecting people in order to get through an infectious disease outbreak —the idea of "infect the young, protect the vulnerable" is simply a unworkable strategy.

Look no further than the outbreak among the college student population in Pullman, Washington to see why.


Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less

Pete Buttigieg is having a moment. The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana keeps trending on social media for his incredibly eloquent explanations of issues—so much so that L.A. Times columnist Mary McNamara has dubbed him "Slayer Pete," who excels in "the five-minute, remote-feed evisceration." From his old-but-newly-viral explanation of late-term abortion to his calm calling out of Mike Pence's hypocrisy, Buttigieg is making a name for himself as Biden's "secret weapon" and "rhetorical assassin."

And now he's done it again, this time taking on the 'originalist' view of the Constitution.

Constitutional originalists contend that the original meaning of the words the drafters of the Constitution used and their intention at the time they wrote it are what should guide interpretation of the law. On the flip side are people who see the Constitution as a living document, meant to adapt to the times. These are certainly not the only two interpretive options and there is much debate to be had as to the merits of various approaches, but since SCOTUS nominee Amy Coney Barrett is an originalist, that view is currently part of the public discourse.

Buttigieg explained the problem with originalism in a segment on MSNBC, speaking from what McNamara jokingly called his "irritatingly immaculate kitchen." And in his usual fashion, he totally nails it. After explaining that he sees "a pathway to judicial activism cloaked in judicial humility" in Coney Barrett's descriptions of herself, he followed up with:

Keep Reading Show less

Eight months into the pandemic, you'd think people would have the basics figured out. Sure, there was some confusion in the beginning as to whether or not masks were going to help, but that was months ago (which might as well be years in pandemic time). Plenty of studies have shown that face masks are an effective way to limit the spread of the virus and public health officials say universal masking is one of the keys to being able to safely resume some normal activities.

Normal activities include things like getting a coffee at Starbucks, but a viral video of a barista's encounter with an anti-masker shows why the U.S. will likely be living in the worst of both worlds—massive spread and economic woe—for the foreseeable future.

Alex Beckom works at a Starbucks in Santee, California and shared a video taken after a woman pulled down her "Trump 2020" mask to ask the 19-year-old barista a question, pulled it back up when the barista asked her to, then pulled it down again.

Keep Reading Show less