As Expected, The Oscars Got Political Last Night

By A.J. Katz 

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Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, comedian Jimmy Kimmel has spoken out about political issues, not only on his late night show, but also in venues outside of his studio.

Kimmel, who has been anti-Trump from the outset, brought up politics throughout the 90th Annual Academy Awards last night. He was hosting the esteemed awards ceremony for the second consecutive year, and knew he was in friendly confines.

Early on, Kimmel made mention of Fox News.

“Oscar is 90 years old tonight, which means he’s probably at home tonight watching Fox News,” Kimmel quipped.

While Fox News has the reputation of drawing an older audience, its 2017 audience wasn’t much different than that of its cable news rivals. According to Nielsen Live +7-day data, in 2017 CNN’s median age was 60, while the median age of the Fox News and MSNBC viewer was 65. In prime time, CNN’s median was 59 (flat vs. 2016); MSNBC’s median was 65 (up two years from 63 in 2016); and Fox News’ was 66 (flat vs. 2016).

Kimmel also made mention of former White House communications director Hope Hicks, who recently left the administration.

“Where there is light, there is always hope. Except at the White House. Hope quit on Wednesday,” Kimmel said.

And predictably, Kimmel went after Pres. Trump and VP Pence.

“The stunning Lupita Nyong’o, she was born in Mexico and raised in Kenya,” Kimmel said in the monologue. “Let the tweetstorm from the president’s toilet begin!”

Kimmel also gave a shout out to Jordan Peele, whose directorial debut Get Out was nominated for best picture (which went to Shape of Water).

“Jordan is only the first person in 90 years to be nominated for directing, writing and best picture for his debut film,” said Kimmel. “What a debut it was. None other than President Trump called ‘Get Out’ the best first three quarters of a movie this year.”

He later said the movie Call Me By Your Name was created to upset VP Pence.

“We don’t make films like Call Me By Your Name for money. We make them to upset Mike Pence.” The movie, which was nominated for best picture, tells the story of a teenage boy discovering his sexuality in 1980s Italy through a relationship with an older man.

The Academy also honored men and women serving in the U.S. military last night, showing a montage of films including Saving Private Ryan, American Sniper, Zero Dark Thirty, and others. Actor Wes Studi introduced the montage, after making mention of his military service in Vietnam.

“I’m proud to have served there for 12 months with Alpha Company of the 39th Infantry,” Studi said. The remark elicited a rousing round of applause from the audience.

“Anyone else?” he asked, to silence. “As a veteran, I am always appreciative when filmmakers bring to the screen stories of those who have served. Over 90 years of the Academy Awards, a number of movies with military themes have been honored at the Oscars. Let’s take a moment to pay tribute to these powerful films that shine a great spotlight on those who have fought for freedom around the world.”


Martha MacCallum, who has a notable performing arts background, also chimed in.

Another socially-charged moment was when Kumail Nanjiani and Nyong’o took the stage to announce the winner of best production design (Shape of Water), and they gave a shout out to Dreamers.

Later in the ceremony, Dave Chappelle introduced a musical performance from Common and Andra Day. They performed Stand Up for Something, which focused on American activism with politically charged lyrics about topics like feminism, the NRA, Parkland shooting, and Puerto.

The duo was joined on stage by a number of famed activists from a wide variety of organizations, including Black Live Matter, #MeToo, Planned Parenthood and acclaimed chef and activist José Andrés.

There was a pre-taped segment where a numbers actors and directors spoke about diversity in 2017, and about Time’s Up and #MeToo.

The coveted award for best actor in a leading role came next, with Jane Fonda and Helen Mirren taking the stage to discuss the “#MeToo” movement before they handed out the best actor in a leading role award to Gary Oldman for his role as Winston Churchill in The Darkest Hour.