What does it take to win an Oscar in Trump’s America?

What does it take to win an Oscar in Trump’s America?
Image (left to right): A24; Lionsgate; Fox

[Ed. – News flash to Hollywood: It’s been ‘Trump’s America’ for a little over a month.]

Sunday’s Oscars loom in the shadow of Donald Trump’s fledgling presidency. As with every awards show this year, we can expect copious equal-rights diatribes mounted in resistance to the regressive legislation and callow disregard for tradition that has defined the Trump administration’s debut.

But before arriving at the annual ritual, we will have already seen one of the most politically driven Best Picture debates unfurl in the media. This time, it’s personal.

Perhaps more than ever, the Best Picture contest seems to double as a referendum on our culture’s conscience. It’s bigger than the Oscars, just as Beyoncé losing Album of the Year to Adele was bigger than the Grammys. If movies are statements about the world around us, then one purpose of the Academy Awards is to adjudicate the year’s best cinematic manifestos. That’s complicated when titles from Obama’s America are being feted in Trump’s America.

It’s especially complicated when considering the Oscars’ thorny political backdrop. Throughout its 89-year history, the event has, after all, become a shrine to Hollywood’s liberal values ― even when the movies themselves aren’t explicitly political.

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