National

'For all the immigrants!': Politics take center stage at Oscars

By Greg Hadley

ghadley@mcclatchy.com

Christopher Nelson, from left, Alessandro Bertolazzi, and Giorgio Gregorini arrive at the 89th Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on Monday, Feb. 6, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Christopher Nelson, from left, Alessandro Bertolazzi, and Giorgio Gregorini arrive at the 89th Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on Monday, Feb. 6, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Few outside the film industry know the name Alessandro Bertolazzi. That, however, changed Sunday, as Bertolazzi became the first Oscar winner to address the tense political climate in the U.S., dedicating his win to “all the immigrants.”

Bertolazzi is originally from Italy.

However, Bertolazzi was not the first or last to make a political statement during Sunday’s ceremony. Host Jimmy Kimmel started his monologue by acknowledging that the show was being broadcast around the world to “220 countries that now hate us.”

Kimmel went on to mention immigration again later in his monologue.

“Here in Hollywood we don’t discriminate based on what country you’re from,” Kimmel joked. “We discriminate based on your age and weight.”

Before Bertolazzi’s victory, however, Mahershala Ali took home the Oscar for best supporting actor for his role in “Moonlight.” Ali is the first ever Muslim actor to win an Academy Award, according to Variety and Vanity Fair.

Ali, however, did not address politics in his acceptance speech, instead thanking his co-stars, the film’s producers and his wife.

 

Later in the broadcast, the Academy Award for best foreign language film went to “The Salesman,” directed by Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi. However, Farhadi was not there to accept the award, as he boycotted the ceremony to protest Trump’s controversial executive order that barred residents from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States.

“I am sorry I am not with you tonight,” Farhadi said in a statment read on his behalf. “My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of six other nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S.

“Dividing the world into the us and our enemies categories creates fear.”

Before presenting the Oscar for best animated feature, presenter and actor Gael García Bernal, who is from Mexico, spoke against Trump’s proposed border wall “as a Mexican, as a Latin American, as a migrant worker, as a human being.”

“I am against any form of wall that wants to separate us,” García Bernal said.

A survey by The Hollywood Reporter and National Research Group reveals how Clinton supporters and Trump voters view the Oscars differently and how little the average movie-going citizen knows about this year's Oscars.

 

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