Opinion: As Poe puts it: I want this year’s Oscars to steer clear of politics


Matt Poe is a junior journalism major and columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]

Matt Poe

I look forward to the Oscars every year for a variety of reasons, mainly that I’ve grown fond of loving to hate them and vice versa. The Academy tends to screw up a lot of its nominations and winners and that was more evident than ever with last year’s #OscarsSoWhite, in which not one person of color was nominated in the four major acting categories.

Thankfully, that changed this year, but we’ll see if it sticks going forward.

This year has been mired and marred in what seems like a relentless political assault on the sensory. It feels like there’s no escape from political coverage or, at the very minimum, that the same outlets we once turned to for avoidance of politics have bled into the political scene. It’s become all-consuming.

Turn on a football game and there is some reference to the current political or socioeconomic problems that are plaguing the country. Turn on an awards show and you’ll likely find the same thing; look no further than Meryl Streep at the Golden Globes back in January. Musicians are also producing many songs in protest of what’s been happening (although that is nothing new).

This year’s Oscars ceremony Sunday has the chance to be one of the most politically-charged awards shows in recent memory, maybe even ever. And while “who takes home what” is still the focus of the show, it’s likely that this will be a political firestorm with some of the most recognizable faces in the world using their respective platforms to voice the current injustices happening in America.

I’ve always said that people who have fame and money and don’t use it to champion a worthy cause are neglecting a crucial part of would-be philanthropy. Sure, rich people like Leonardo DiCaprio and Angelina Jolie can do whatever the hell they want with their time and money (duh), but the fact that they do anything says a lot about them in a positive way.

So, I guarantee you will see a plethora of actors, actresses, screenwriters, directors and who-else’s in Hollywood who will use Sunday night to damn President Cheeto and his administration’s actions. They will be applauded and celebrated for it. Except, well …

I don’t want that this year. I don’t want what is supposed to be a release from the everyday BS that has seemingly hung like a permanent fog over this country since who-knows-when to hang over this.

I want this year’s Oscars to be about celebrating films and the beautiful creation that is cinema. I want the winners and nominations to remind us that sometimes it’s OK to get lost in a film, to allow ourselves a detox from everything the outside world is bludgeoning us with.

This is certainly wishful thinking on my part, but in a way, I believe it’d serve a purpose greater than the shouts and cries of injustice that will likely occur on Sunday night. I want them to remind us that President Orange Soda cannot cast a shadow on everything, like the massive solar eclipse on our world that he has become.

Maybe that’s selfish of me. I like to consider myself more in tune with the news than many people my age. Maybe I’d be depriving others of something they desperately need to hear.

Maybe some little boy or girl needs to hear Mahershala Ali, a black man raised as a Christian who later converted to Islam, accept his best supporting actor Oscar for “Moonlight” (he’s got it in the bag) and use that platform to show them the true colors of the people our president continually offends.

In the end, I guess you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t in this sense, but I wouldn’t mind making Sunday night about film and film alone. Now briefly, here’s who wins.

Casey Affleck will win Best Actor for “Manchester by the Sea.” Holy moly, was that movie good – but depressing. I came out of that thing feeling more morbid than usual and that’s saying a lot; please, don’t see it with a significant other, because it’s got to be the worst date movie ever.

“La La Land” is going to take home Best Actress for Emma Stone, Best Director for Damien Chazelle and Best Picture.

Did I see it? Of course not, even though I wanted to.

Viola Davis will win Best Supporting Actress for “Fences,” even though her role is apparently the lead of the film.

All in all, it was a pretty crappy year for movies, even if it was drowned out so much by everything else. I saw less award season films than I ever have.

And you know what? I’m fine with that.

So if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go watch “Rogue One” again and remind myself why it was the best movie of 2016. I’m not wrong; I’ll force choke you if you say otherwise.

Matt Poe is a columnist, contact him at [email protected].