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2018 Oscar Highlights: #MeToo and Time's Up Conversations Continue as Movie Award Season Wraps U

The 90th annual Academy Awards

Last night, the 2018 cinema awards show season came to a close during the 90th annual Academy Awards. Viewers tuned in from around the country, anxious to see what entertainers and films would be honored. But this year, conversation at the show was about much more than movies.

Influential celebrities continued to share messages about important women's, racial and social issues on the red carpet and at the show. Those conversations started last year with the rise of the #MeToo movement and Time's Up Legal Defense Fund and gained traction throughout the 2018 awards show season, namely, during the Golden Globes, where leaders in entertainment wore black to honor women everywhere who have spoken out about workplace harassment and sexual assault. Viewers were eager to see how those conversations would continue to evolve during the Academy Awards, and they weren't disappointed.

Female and male celebrities alike used their notoriety to discuss important cultural and political issues. Time's Up and women's empowerment were frequent topics of conversation during red carpet interviews. Most notably, movement leaders Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino were asked if they had messages about Time's Up and the state of women's issues in America. Sorvino responded with words of hope, ensuring viewers that the movement wasn't over and was in fact just beginning. Both women were two of the more than 80 women who spoke out against Harvey Weinstein.

The women-positive conversation continued post-red carpet and into the show itself. In his opening monologue, the show's host, Jimmy Kimmel, took the issue head-on, referencing Harvey Weinstein's recent expulsion from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the need to continue to advocate for harassment-free workplaces for women.

He also referenced Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams's deplorable pay difference and the need to close the gender pay gap. (Wahlberg was paid $1.5 million to reshoot scenes in All the Money in the World, while Williams was paid $80 per day.)

Early in the show, Mary J. Blige delivered an emotional and inspirational performance of "Mighty River," a song from the movie Mudbound. The song calls for listeners to eradicate hate, spread love and wash away racial divides. In addition to her moving performance, Blige made history as the first person ever to be nominated for both acting and music Oscar categories in the same year.

Mary J. Blige sings Mighty River

Mary K. Blige delivers a passionate performance of the Oscar-nominated song "Mighty River" from the movie Mudbound.

Later, Darla K. Anderson, as well as her male peer Lee Unkrich, were honored with the Oscar for Animated Feature Film for Coco. In his acceptance speech, Unkrich thanked Mexico for its rich history and beautiful traditions that inspired the movie and called for better racial representation in cinema, saying all children have a right to watch films featuring people who look, talk and feel like they do.

Halfway through the show, Common and Andra Day performed "Stand Up for Something" from the movie Marshall. The song's lyrics matched the cultural climate of the night, calling for people to stand up for what's right, with a specific focus on race and gender equality.

Perhaps the biggest moment to celebrate marginalized groups was the airing of a special Oscars video that celebrated trailblazers -- men, women, immigrants, LGBT people and other minorities who have worked to overcome Hollywood's bias toward white male talent. The women who introduced the short -- Ashley Judd, Salma Hayek and Annabella Sciorra -- have all spoken out as victims of Weinstein.

Ashley Judd, Annabella Sciorra, and Salma Hayek take the stage at the 90th annual Academy Awards to address the Time's Up movement.

While this year's award winners were overwhelmingly male, several women received key nominations. Greta Gerwig was nominated for both screenwriting and directing Lady Bird. Only one woman in history has won an Oscar in the directing category -- Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker eight years ago.

Rachel Morrison, the director of photography for Black Panther, was the first female DP to be nominated for a cinematography Oscar for her work on Mudbound. While Black Panther isn't eligible for awards this season, Morrison also made history as the first woman to shoot a movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With so few female cinematographers, this was a big step toward equality with behind-the-lens Hollywood roles.

Women also had representation in lesser-known categories; filmmaker Ildikó Enyedi and editor Tatiana S. Riegel were the only women nominated in their categories, Foreign Language Film and Film Editing, respectively. Even brands joined the conversation around gender. Most notably, Twitter premiered a moving spot promoting #HereWeAre, a social media campaign to share the achievements of women. The company's CMO Leslie Berland teased the spot earlier in the day, saying, "We stand together in support of women's voices and their movements around the world."​

With a nod toward the evening's history-making nominations on the first Sunday of Women's History Month, Best Actress winner Frances McDormand used her win to “get some perspective” and champion the entire room of female nominees. Quietly setting her Oscar on the floor next to the podium and telling Meryl Streep that “if you do it they all will,” McDormand asked for a round of applause as cameras captured female Oscar contenders across categories.

Meryl Streep leads the charge for a round of applause as Frances McDormand uses her Best Actress acceptance speech to recognize the achievements of women in film.

Meryl Streep leads the charge for a round of applause as Frances McDormand uses her Best Actress acceptance speech to recognize the achievements of women in film.

Greta Gerwig in the spotlight at the 90th Academy Awards

Greta Gerwig, who didn't take home an Oscar despite her historic 2-category nomination, gets her moment in the spotlight during Frances McDormand's acceptance speech for her Best Actress win.

All in all, six women won Academy Awards across 24 categories last night. For people who couldn't catch the show, here's an overview of the female winners:

  • Actress in a Leading Role: Frances McDormand for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

  • Actress in a Supporting Role: Allison Janney for I, Tonya

  • Animated Feature Film: Darla K. Anderson (along with Lee Unkrich) for Coco

  • Music (Original Song): Kristen Anderson-Lopez (along with Robert Lopez) for Coco

  • Short Film (Live Action): Rachel Shenton (along with Chris Overton) for The Silent Child

  • Makeup and Hairstyling: Lucy Sibbick (along with Kazuhiro Tsuji and David Malinowski) for Darkest Hour

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