ByVaria Fedko-Blake, writer at
Staff Writer at Moviepilot! [email protected] Twitter: @vfedkoblake
Varia Fedko-Blake

From Marlon Brando sending an activist for Native American civil rights to decline his Best Actor award in 1973, Vanessa Redgrave denouncing the Jewish Defense League as "Zionist hoodlums" in 1978, Patricia Arquette serving up an impassioned speech on women's rights in 2015, to last year's boycott, the Academy Awards has provided artists with the chance to get political for decades.

And considering the polarized political climate sweeping the United States right now, we always knew we were in for an explosive show of opinions at Hollywood's biggest night in 2017.

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In an awards season that has already been repeatedly punctuated with a tide of political speeches, all we could really do was hold our breaths and brace ourselves for the wild, politically-charged ride. Here's your round-up of the most stand-out speeches at this year's .

1. Jimmy Kimmel Roasts Donald Trump

[Credit: ABC]
[Credit: ABC]

ABC must have been pretty chuffed with themselves when they picked their own late-night star to host the event. However, even their main man's affiliation to the network didn't suppress Jimmy Kimmel's desire to acknowledge that most people at the ceremony had a thing or two to say about the orange-tinged man who should have probably stuck to hosting Celebrity Apprentice.

In his opening monologue, Kimmel announced that the Oscars were airing in "more than 225 countries that now hate us," before going on to congratulate the winner in advance on delivering speeches that:

"The president of the United States will tweet about in all caps during his 5 a.m. bowel movement tomorrow and I think that's pretty darn excellent if you ask me."

The issue of Meryl Streep's bashing by Donald Trump then came firmly into the limelight. Focusing on the ridiculous moment that saw the President refer to the Hollywood legend and 20-time Oscar nominee as "overrated" after her Golden Globes speech this year, Kimmel jokingly urged Meryl to stand up for a "totally undeserved round of applause" for her "mediocre work" and "underwhelming performances."

Jimmy's most biting comment though? Perhaps this:

"I want to say thank you to President Trump. I mean, remember last year when it seemed like the Oscars were racist?"

Watch the full opening monologue here:

2. Gael Garcia Bernal Takes Aim At Trump's Wall

Similarly, Gael Garcia Bernal took a moment during his Best Animated Feature award presenting duties to slam down on Trump's plans to build a wall along America's border with Mexico. Comparing actors to migrant workers, the long-standing Trump critic shared the following powerful outlook:

"Flesh and blood actors are migrant workers; we travel all over the world, we build families, we construct stories, we build life that cannot be divided. As a Latin American, as a migrant worker, as a human being, I am against any form of wall that wants to separate us."

3. Ruth Negga Supports The ACLU

Pinning a blue ribbon to her scarlet Valentino gown, Best Actress nominee Ruth Negga made a silent statement in strong support of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The Irish-Ethiopian actress was joined by model Karlie Kloss, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Busy Philips. According to a release by the union itself, the mark celebrates:

"This symbol of solidarity with the ACLU acknowledges the commitment of those on the front lines – in the courts, legislatures and in the streets – who are working to ensure that our precious freedoms and values are preserved."

4. Mark Rylance Asks For The Need For 'Opposing Without Hatred'

[Credit: ABC]
[Credit: ABC]

Last year, Mark Rylance may have thanked the Academy for bestowing him with an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for Bridge of Spies but this year, he returned with a different message, saying:

"Opposition’s great in film and stories, it’s wonderful in sport, it’s really good in society. The things these films made me remember and think about was the difficulty – something women seem to be better at than men – of opposing without hatred."

5. Ava DuVernay Marks The Death Anniversary Of Trayvon Martin

Ava DuVernay, the director nominated for documentary 13th, took to Twitter before the ceremony to mark the anniversary of the death of Trayvon Martin. The 17-year-old was fatally shot by a Florida neighborhood watch volunteer in 2012, sparking rallies, marches and protests across the entire nation.

6. 'The Salesman' Director Asghar Farhadi Sends In A Statement

Despite the fact that The Salesman was named best foreign-language film, Iranian director Asghar Farhadi did not attend the Oscars ceremony as a protest against the travel ban against citizens of seven Muslim countries. And while being immensely grateful to the Academy for granting his movie such an honour, he sent Iranian astronaut Anousheh Ansari to accept the award on his behalf, issuing the following rallying cry for immigration rights:

"I'm sorry I'm not with you tonight. My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of other six nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S. Dividing the world into the us and our enemies categories creates fear, a deceitful justification for aggression and war. These laws prevent democracy in countries which have themselves been victims of aggression. Filmmakers can turn their cameras to capture shared human qualities and break stereotypes of various nationalities and religions. They create empathy between us and others – an empathy which we need today more than ever."

Here's the trailer for the winning movie:

7. Barry Jenkins And Tarell Alvin McCraney Issue An Emotional Call For Inclusion

Ascending the podium to pick up their Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for Moonlight, Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney similarly sent out a message of hope and support to people of color and struggling communities marginalized by Trump's policies. Calling out for a greater support of the ACLU, which has been at the forefront of battling these policies in court, they said:

"All you people who feel like there's no mirror for you, the academy has your back, the ACLU has your back, we have your back, and for the next four years, we will not forget you. This goes out to all those black and brown boys and girls and nongender conforming who don't see themselves, we're trying to show you you, and us. Thank you, thank you. This is for you."

8. Cheryl Boone Isaacs Emphasizes The Importance Of Diversity In The Arts

And of course, the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences — Cheryl Boone Isaacs — also had some strong words to relay in her speech. Speaking of the importance of diversity in the arts, she alluded to Trump's travel ban that has meant that certain voices could not be heard on the evening. Calling to the inclusion of all artists, she said:

"Tonight is proof that art has no borders, no single language and does not belong to a single faith. The power of art is that it transcends all these things. And as a result all creative artists around the world are connected by an unbreakable bond that is powerful and permanent.”

What was the most powerful political call-to-action of the 2017 Oscars?



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