Representation Matters: A Response to the 90th Academy Awards

Robert Kukla, Arts & Life Editor

While most people get excited about the Super Bowl or the World Series, I get pumped up for the Academy Awards. The theme of this year’s Academy Awards centered around representation, with a call for more diverse films.

Films like “Coco,” “Get Out” and “The Shape of Water” were the big winners of the night and all three of these films are stories that focus on race, gender, and other cultures. The fact that these movies were acknowledged and won at the Academy Awards, shows the importance of diversity in the media.

“Coco” won the award for both Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song. During the acceptance speech, director Lee Unkrich made the statement that representation matters.

I felt this is an important wake-up call to Hollywood to put out more stories like “Coco,” and for screenwriters to challenge the dominant culture with stories such as “Get Out,” which won the award for Best Original Screenplay.

When people go to the movies, they go to be entertained. However, with a film like “Coco,” which centers around Mexican culture and folklore, people of Mexican descent are able to see their lives reflected in the mainstream media. Imagine the feeling a little Mexican kid gets when they see people who look like them depicted in a Disney film.

A film like “The Shape Of Water,” which won the award for Best Picture, shows audiences that love transcends the belief of a man and a woman’s love. It opens up discussions and makes people aware of beliefs that aren’t that far off as they think they are.

It is important for diverse films to be acknowledged with awards, instead of the typical white, heteronormative stories we see all the time.

I truly feel this year’s Academy Awards proved that Hollywood is headed in the right direction. We are starting to see more films depicting a diverse variety of stories and I look forward to what Hollywood will look like in the future.