Winners, stars tout peace over politics at this year’s Academy Awards

Winners, stars tout peace over politics at this year’s Academy Awards - Opinion and Analysis - News

Peaceful Calls Echo at the Oscars: Filmmakers Urge Global Harmony Amidst Conflicts

The political landscape took a backseat during Sunday’s star-studded Oscars ceremony, but the call for peace resonated powerfully among winners. Two films, “The Zone of Interest” and “20 Days in Mariupol,” served as poignant reminders of the human cost of conflict.

Accepting the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film, British filmmaker Jonathan Glazer addressed the dehumanizing effects of war in his speech for “The Zone of Interest,” set at Auschwitz. He stated, “Our film shows where dehumanization leads, at its worst.” The director then drew attention to the ongoing conflict in Gaza, expressing his refusal for Jewishness and the Holocaust to be exploited. “Whether the victims of October 7 in Israel or the ongoing attack on Gaza, all the victims of this dehumanization,” he questioned, “how do we resist?”

“The Zone of Interest” is a compelling drama that follows the commandant of Auschwitz and his family as they live in blissful ignorance, adjacent to the death camp. The sounds of suffering can be heard but never visually presented on screen. The film, which also won for Best Sound, is a profound reminder of the horrors of war and its impact on society.

Mstyslav Chernov, the director of “20 Days in Mariupol,” touched upon another global conflict as he accepted the award for Best Feature Documentary. He began his speech by expressing a wish to reverse the invasion of Ukraine and the occupation of its cities. Chernov passionately spoke against the loss of innocent lives and the unjust detention of civilians by Russia. He concluded by emphasizing, “cinema forms memories, and memories form history.”

“20 Days in Mariupol” is a gripping account of Ukrainian journalists who continue their work amidst war and document its atrocities. The film sheds light on the plight of Mariupol’s people as they endure the invasion.

The Oscars ceremony also paid tribute to Russian activist Alexei Navalny, who died in a prison last month. His video message, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing,” was broadcast during the “In Memoriam” segment.

Fashion statements at the Oscars echoed the call for peace, with celebrities like Billie Eilish, Finneas, Mahershala Ali, Mark Ruffalo, Ava DuVernay and Ramy Youssef donning red pins. Artists4Ceasefire issued a statement explaining that the pin symbolizes support for an immediate and permanent cease-fire, release of hostages, and delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza.

The most overt reference to US politics came towards the end when Jimmy Kimmel read a post from former President Donald Trump, who criticized the host in a message on Truth Social. Kimmel playfully responded with, “Isn’t it past your jail time?”

The Oscars ceremony remained a powerful platform for artists to express their beliefs and call for unity amidst global conflicts.