For the first time in a long time, it felt as if diversity was at the heart of the ceremony watched by hundreds of millions of people around the world. Women were celebrated, there were passionate speeches in defence of immigrants, and the ceremony had its first ever openly transgender presenter.
Here are all the most memorable political moments from last night’s awards show…
1. Jimmy Kimmel’s spot-on hosting
Host Jimmy Kimmel, who was probably just happy he didn’t have to deal with another MoonLight-La La Land fuck up, had some brilliant gags – and they weren’t all just about the most obvious target, Donald Trump.
He addressed the Harvey Weinstein scandal, saying: “The Academy, as you are no doubt aware, took action last year to expel Harvey Weinstein from their ranks. There were a lot of great nominees but Harvey deserved it the most.”
Later, he said: “Thanks to Guillermo, we will always remember this year as the year men screwed up so badly, women starting dating fish.”
On a more serious note, he added: “We can’t let bad behaviour slide anymore, the world is watching us and we need to set an example, and the truth is if we are successful and if we can work together to stop sexual harassment in the workplace, if we can do that, women will only have to deal with harassment all the time at every other place they go.”
Kimmel also tackled race and the legacy of Barack Obama, joking: “There’s Chadwick Boseman. The king of Wakanda! Imagine that! A country with a black leader. Wouldn’t that be swell?”
The host also spoke about gay love story Call Me by Your Name and launched a pointed attack at Vice President Mike Pence, who has a notorious track record on LGBT+ rights, saying: “We don’t make films like Call Me By Your Name for money. We make them to upset Mike Pence.”
2. Celebrating and defending immigrants
One of the most radical changes under Trump’s presidency has been a rapid increase in the deportation of immigrants from the US and the proposed ending of the DACA (also known as Dreamer) immigration scheme.
Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, from Kenya, tackled this head-on, saying: “Like everyone in this room and everyone watching at home we are dreamers. We grew up dreaming of one day working in the movies. Dreams are the foundation of Hollywood, and dreams are the foundation of America.”
Oscar nominee Kumail Nanjiani, co-writer and star of The Big Sick, added: “To all the Dreamers out there, we stand with you.”
But this wasn’t the only moment of the night to acknowledge the contribution of immigrants. Guillermo Del Toro, who won Best Picture and Best Director for the beautiful The Shape of Water, said: “I am an immigrant. In the last 25 years, I’ve been living in a country all of our own. The greatest thing our industry does is to erase lines in the sand. We should continue to do that.”
Guillermo del Toro: "I am an immigrant...The greatest thing our art does and our industry does is to erase the lines in the sand. We should continue doing that when the world tells us to make them deeper." https://t.co/KGJMUsJlgf #Oscars pic.twitter.com/KUNoFjAhnR— Good Morning America (@GMA) March 5, 2018
3. A night for women, #TimesUp and #MeToo
By far the most important feature of the Oscar ceremony this year were the revolutionary movements #MeToo and #TimesUp, which have been responsible for casting powerful Hollywood figures out of the industry and starting conversations around the world about consent and gender equality.
Best Actress winner Frances McDormand encouraged all the female nominees in the room to stand up while demanding inclusion riders – which you can read all about here.
In another powerful moment, actresses Ashley Judd, Salma Hayek, and Annabella Sciorra – who all came out to name Harvey Weinstein as an alleged abuser – joined each other on the stage for a Time’s Up segment about changing the culture in Hollywood.
“This year, many spoke their truth, and the journey ahead is long, but slowly a new path has emerged,” Sciorra said. “We salute those unstoppable spirits who kicked ass and broke through the biased perceptions against their gender, race, and ethnicity to tell their stories,” Hayek added.
Harvey Weinstein launched a smear campaign against Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino after they spurned his advances. Peter Jackson later confirmed that it ultimately cost both actresses roles in Lord of the Rings.— ⭐ amy o'connor ⭐ (@amyohconnor) March 5, 2018
Today they walked on the #Oscars red carpet together. pic.twitter.com/XQvHXt0Xnh
4. Activism and gun control
In one of the most explicitly political moments of the night, hip-hop artist Common joined singer Andra Day on stage to perform the song ‘Stand Up for Something,’ from the film Marshall.
Also joining them were activists from social change movements such as Black Lives Matter and #MeToo.
During his performance, Common called out the US gun lobby, singing: “Tell the NRA they ain’t God’s way and tell the people of Parkland we say àse [a West African philosophy about using power to create change].”
Some stars, including Hamilton’s Lin Manuel Miranda, also wore orange pins to mark their support for efforts to bring about gun control laws, especially after the latest shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.
5. LGBT+ visibility and progress
Openly gay Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon made even more fans by essentially wearing a gay bondage sex harness on the red carpet of the ceremony.
Writer and comedian Guy Branum said: “The political importance of @Adaripp is that he never gives anyone the safety of just enjoying his beauty or artistry without being reminded he has sex with men in the butt. Bitch has rejected the situational closet, and he is a hero.”
The Oscars also had its first ever openly transgender presenter with Daniela Vega, star of A Fantastic Woman (which won Best Foreign Language Film).
“I want to invite you to open your heart and your feelings to feel the reality and to feel love,” Vega said. “Can you feel it?”