Amidst the glitz and glamour of the 88th annual Academy Awards on Sunday night, several stars used their platforms for more than just thank yous, choosing to use their moment in the global spotlight to highlight important issues.
Host Chris Rock used his opening monologue to address the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, joking that “if they nominated hosts I wouldn’t be there:”
Lady Gaga, whose song “Til it Happens to You” was nominated for best original song, spoke on the red carpet about how grateful she was to the academy for giving her this world stage “to reward survivors of sexual violence for being brave and coming forward,” especially as a survivor of sexual violence herself:
Best Actor winner Leonardo DiCaprio used part of his acceptance speech to highlight the importance of climate change, saying, “climate change is real, it is happening right now, it is the most urgent threat facing our species and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating:”
Of course this isn’t the first time the Oscars have gotten political. Patricia Arquette used her acceptance speech at last year’s award to speak about ending the wage gap, and Marlon Brando famously rejected his Oscar for Godfather because of the treatment of Native Americans in the film industry.