The Oscars become a platform to promote change


Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Lady Gaga, center, performs “Til It Happens To You” that is nominated for best original song from “The Hunting Ground” on stage with survivors of abuse at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

The Academy Awards are a time for all the movie buffs to get together to argue and critique the decisions made for best in film choices.

It’s not often a platform as big as the Oscars becomes a stage for important social issues. The trending debate on #OscarsSoWhite has helped focus the attention of Hollywood stars on the outside world rather than the small bubbles they live in. However, issues other than race had their place on the stage during the Oscars, and it seems some celebrities are finally starting to reach out to the mass audiences who follow their every move.

Between host Chris Rock’s jokes, the show’s nominees and performers surfaced other important issues, ranging from sexual assault to environmental activism.

Vice President Joe Biden introduced Lady Gaga’s performance while urging the audience to take a pledge to “intervene in situations in which consent has not or cannot be given.”

Lady Gaga then sang her Oscar nominated song “Till it Happens to You.” Gaga used this moment to bring on stage sexual assault victims to show strength in a time of trauma.

Leonardo DiCaprio finally won his much-anticipated Academy Award for best actor and used the amazing opportunity to promote environmental awareness and change.

“Climate change is real. It is happening right now,” DiCaprio said. “It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.”

DiCaprio used what most would consider one of his proudest moments to call out big polluters and corporations.

Others also used their shining moments to bring social justice issues to light. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy demonstrated how a film can spark political change with her documentary “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness,” which convinced the prime minister of Pakistan to change a law on honor killing.

While this Academy Awards honored groundbreaking films, it was the acceptance speeches and performances that really honored issues impacting us globally.

Not everyone has the stage to speak to the masses like those on the Oscars, but it is important to take opportunities to push these issues rather than to revel in yourself.

Award show nominees should take notes from Leo and crew to use moments in the spotlight to speak on the issues that the world really needs to listen to.