The Oscars are No Stranger to Controversy

Over 90 years of questionable-ness.


Art by Sophia Chrysanthakopoulos

Next month, celebrities, creators, technicians, and many more from across the globe will gather together in the City of Angels to celebrate the many films and projects from this past year. The Academy Awards, no matter the prestige or credibility, remains a source of controversy and outcry due to its racist and sexist history.

In the past few years especially, Hollywood has been rocked by the rise of social movements like Black Lives Matter and #MeToo that aim to call out the injustices within the industry and society as a whole.
In 2015, activist April Reign coined the phrase “Oscars so white” to call out the fact that none of the top four categories recognized actors of color. This was met with outcry from those in and out of the film community. Many celebrities spoke out against this exclusion and ultimately boycotted the event altogether.
The Oscars that year served as a severe reminder of Hollywood’s prejudice and exclusion throughout history. In response, the Academy, an organization with only 30% members of color according to its yearly report, vowed to increase its diversity. The Academy Awards has fallen short in the fight against sexual assault.
The viral movement to recognize and combat sexual assault began in 2017 with the hashtag #MeToo. The film industry was shaken by the landmark allegations against Harvey Weinstein who had been a producer for almost forty years. His case set in motion widespread outcry from survivors and completely altered the conversation around sexual assault, especially within Hollywood.
Despite hopes that the Academy Awards would reflect the new trend, Oscars were ultimately awarded to Casey Affleck, who has multiple allegations against him, and Kobe Bryant, who was charged with sexual assault in 2003.
This year films created by creators of color continue to be snubbed as the proposed introduction of a popular film category was seen as a way to belittle films such as Black Panther, which is the largest earning superhero film ever, that celebrated African American culture while also being one of the best movies of the year.
With nominations being announced on January 22nd, it will be interesting to see if the Academy has followed through on their promise to recognize a wider range within the film industry.

Mess Movie Picks

Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse

Thought to be the best animated film of the year, Into the Spiderverse follows the coming of age of a new Spiderman, Miles Morales. Spiderverse stands out from the crowd of superhero movies with its different animation styles and heartfelt storyline.


Set during the conflicts in Mexico City during the 1970s, Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma follows Cleo, an indigenous housekeeper of a wealthy family. This film revolves around the interactions between Cleo and the family she works for. Filmed in black and white, Roma is one of the most Oscar-worthy films.

Eighth Grade

Comedian Bo Burnham wrote and directed Eighth Grade, a widely loved film that transported audiences back to their own days of middle school. Elsie Fisher stars as Kayla, a breakout role for the young star.