Complaints I Have About The 2019 Oscars

'Paddington 2' Was Snubbed By The Academy—And Other Complaints I Have About The 2019 Oscars

This year's award ceremony is still two weeks away, but it's already one of the more disappointing shows in recent years.

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I know this sounds facetious, but hear me out: the "Paddington 2" was one of the most beautiful films of last year. It has everything: an adorable bear who loves marmalade, Hugh Grant in the campy villain role of a lifetime, joyful Wes Anderson-inspired cinematography, and a moving story that doubles as an anti-Brexit metaphor (yes, "Paddington" was originally inspired by WW2 refugees and has since been adapted to convey the importance of taking in refugees from the war in Syria and loving them as neighbors).

It might have been a highly unconventional pick for the Oscars in a category such as Best Picture, but seeing as it's a dutiful adaptation of a beloved children's book, I'm disappointed that it didn't at least get a nod for something like Best Adapted Screenplay, especially when the other nominees in the category were nominated multiple times.

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I'm starting off with a grievance that's rather lighthearted because the truth is that a lot of aspects of this year's ceremony are steeped in rather well-deserved controversy. The drama started months ago when the Academy announced that they'd be adding a category for Popular Film and not televising some of the less popular categories in an attempt to bring up ratings, a decision that was scrapped after mass backlash from critics but still threw the judgment of the organization into question.

Then, there was the hosting debacle that stemmed from Kevin Hart's tweets, which proved to be an extremely complicated conversation about homophobia that was clumsily resolved with the compromise that the Oscars would go on, hostless. Now, because of the way the Golden Globes and SAG Awards have panned out, I think the cultural impact left by the Oscars will become even more fraught with political unrest.

Sure, there are several nominations that I'm thrilled about: the inclusion of "Black Panther," Yaltiza Aparicio's recognition for "Roma," the nods to "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" and "At Eternity's Gate," two highly underappreciated films, and everything about Lady Gaga. It's become clear from the way the rest of awards season has gone just how much victory is controlled the by access and financial pull a movie's campaign has.

While I haven't seen it, I'm sure "Green Book" is a perfectly nice and inoffensive portrayal of race relations in the 1960s South, but I think the widespread surprise at its success might be indicative of its irrelevance compared to other films in the category. Also, there's the fact that Viggo Mortensen, one of the male leads in the film and a Best Actor nominee, said the n-word at a screening. And that the family of Don Shirley condemned the portrayal of the jazz pianist in the film, saying that he was grossly misrepresented. Still, though, "Green Book" has a very good chance of winning Best Picture, as does "Bohemian Rhapsody," a film directed by nearly infamous pedophile Bryan Singer.

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I didn't watch "Bohemian Rhapsody," choosing to not support Singer after learning that he retained sole directing credit on the film, despite being fired from production before it wrapped. I also heard that it treated Freddie Mercury's gayness as a black mark on his legacy, so I wasn't that interested in finding out more about it from the jump.

I do know, however, that even more allegations against the director surfaced after the film won a BAFTA a couple weeks ago, and that while the Academy rightfully passed him for a directing award, many viewers are waiting with bated breath to see how his film will be treated overall, especially when Rami Malek is also nominated for Best Actor for his portrayal of Mercury. I am one of those viewers (I should note that I really like Rami Malek, and wish more than anything that his moment wasn't this specific time).

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I know it's presumptuous to assume that the Oscars speaks for the overall American psyche, but when the political world is as devastating as it is right now, I wish that could be true. I wish that we could say, definitively, that "Bohemian Rhapsody" winning Best Picture means we are living in the worst timeline of America, and that "Roma" winning means that there is still hope for all of us. "Green Book" might be somewhere in the middle, "BlacKkKlansman" would also be aligned with goodness, and anything else would be a true wild card. If this were true, I might feel like my viewership was rewarded, instead of just being a waste of a Sunday night. Still, though, I have my fingers crossed for "Roma.

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The Risky 'Stranger Things' Casting Mistake That Needs Fixing

Not only am I disappointed by such a great show's dangerous decision, I'm upset by the fact that no one has corrected it.

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Like many, "Stranger Things" is one of my favorite shows. But after extensive research, I feel like it's my moral responsibility to refrain from watching the upcoming third season of a show that encourages fans to starve themselves.

This article uses potentially triggering language related to eating disorders.

Natalia Dyer is an actress best known for her role as Nancy Wheeler in Netflix's original show, "Stranger Things." Despite its enthralling plot, the first time I watched it, I found myself distracted by her unusually thin frame. While I know many naturally skinny women and actresses, I've never seen someone whose skeleton was so prominent.

Flickr- Natalia Dyer (left)

Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are two serious eating and emotional disorders characterized by loss of appetite, refusal to eat, excessive exercise, body dysmorphia, and (specific to bulimia) compulsive binge eating followed by purging.

While I didn't find any direct quotes from Natalia about suffering from an eating disorder, I did stumble upon pictures of her from the 2009 premiere of "Hannah Montana: The Movie" and was shocked at how drastically different she looks today.

Youtube- "Hannah Montana: The Movie" Premiere

In 2014, Natalia starred in "I believe in Unicorns," where promotional pictures also illustrate how much she's changed. For those who believe she's "naturally thin," these past films, as well as pictures from her childhood prove that she wasn't always this skinny.

Youtube- "I Believe in Unicorns" 2014

When I first researched Natalia, I found forums in which people who have battled with eating disorders discuss the physical signs of anorexia and bulimia that Natalia exhibits. The most obvious being her frame, visible bones underneath thin skin, sunken-in eyes, "hollow" face, as well as more subtle signs, like scabs on her knuckles (called Russell's sign), white or blue fingernails, and lines around the mouth that seem to age her face.

I am fortunate enough to have never suffered from an eating disorder, so I did a lot of research to keep from jumping to conclusions about Natalia's health. What I've found is that symptoms of eating disorders closely mimic those of gastrointestinal diseases, such as Celiac and Crohn's disease. In this sense, it's possible that those who criticize her for disordered eating are evaluating the body of someone with a dysfunctional digestive system (though the aforementioned physical signs pointed out by people who have had anorexia convince me that this likely isn't the case).

Youtube- Natalia Dyer 2017

While there's little factual information about if Natalia has an eating disorder, there is much speculation that she does, both from those who have overcome such disorders, and those still struggling.

During my search for information, I found several "pro-ana" websites—a contraction of "pro-anorexia," used to admire eating disorders in a positive light—idolizing Natalia's weight loss and expressing jealousy of her outrageously thin frame. In one particular forum, people describe her in "Hannah Montana: The Movie" as "on her way to chunky town," and "mad chunky" in "I Believe in Unicorns." Even going a step further by stating that Natalia's "Stranger Things" co-star Shannon Purser "needs to take pointers from [Natalia]."

Flickr- Shannon Purser

Finding this forum made my blood boil. Not because of the responsibilities of its participants (that's an article for another day), but because of the irresponsibility the casting director—Carmen Cuba—and creators of "Stranger Things" have exhibited in casting a potentially anorexic actress, and Netflix's lack of opposition to this choice.

As a rule of corporate management, businesses have what's called "corporate social responsibility" (CSR) which is defined as "the idea that businesses should balance profit-making activities with activities that benefit society. It involves developing businesses with a positive relationship to the society in which they operate."

From my point of view, Cuba's casting choice for the character Nancy violated the sense of CSR that such a popular show should have, given that she's provided fans who struggle with body dysmorphia a potentially dangerous source of "thinspiration."

Youtube- Natalia Dyer at ages 17 (left) and 20 (right)

There are many different solutions to this problem, but without knowing Natalia's exact situation, it could be thoughtless and damaging to bombard her with messages about gaining weight, meaning the issue of casting an actress who inadvertently (I cannot stress the word "inadvertently" enough) inspires young fans to starve themselves lies solely in the hands of the show's creators.

There are still many facets of this issue I have yet to discuss, but until then, if you believe that you, a friend, or a relative have an eating disorder, contact an eating disorder hotline now.

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The Original Disney Princesses Are Just As Important To Young Children As The New Ones Are

The animated princesses have paved the way for children in ways the live-action films sometimes can't.

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Disney Princesses, particularly the animated ones, have somewhat of a stereotype built around them.

When people think of Disney Princesses, they usually think of the classic princesses from the 1930s through the 1950s, the Golden Age of Disney. They think of Snow White's high-pitched voice, Cinderella's passive nature, and Aurora's tendency to waltz through the woods singing a pretty little song. These were the original princesses, and they definitely started a trend of delicate characters who aren't entirely helpless, but they also aren't too willing to advocate for themselves and fight for what they want.

The Disney Renaissance, however, brought about a whole new world (yes, that was intended) of Disney Princesses.

In 1989, Disney kicked off their animation Renaissance with the release of The Little Mermaid, a film which introduced an entirely new Disney Princess. Ariel was stubborn, got into serious trouble at times, was endlessly curious and amazed by the world around (and above) her, and was more than willing to fight for what she wanted. She still maintained her status as a princess, but that wasn't her only personality trait.

And the stereotypes kept breaking more and more with the introduction of two new princesses, Belle and Jasmine. They both followed Ariel's example of being more than just a pretty face in their own ways. Belle was the most beautiful girl in her village, but she didn't allow that to define her. She was well-read, confident, loyal, and desired nothing more than adventure. Jasmine, on the other hand, was the daughter of a Sultan and was forced to choose a prince to marry. But she wanted no part in this, and she set out to find herself and married the man she chose for herself. She was fiercely independent and didn't let anyone stand in her way.

I recently read an article about how the live-action remakes of Disney films are giving Disney princesses like Belle and Jasmine entirely new roles and how they're better role models for girls than ever before. While I do agree that young girls who go to see the remakes of Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast in theaters will definitely have good role models to look up to, we really shouldn't be dismissing the original princesses, either.

These new Disney princesses are not replacements for the old ones. Just because the old princesses don't have as much of a "strong independent woman" complex about them doesn't mean they still can't teach important lessons to young children. Yes, the original Belle and Jasmine may not have been as outspoken as they are in the new remakes, but they always had a quiet strength about them and a certainty in who they were. This is just as good of a lesson to teach young children.

One of the most important lessons a child can learn is to be themselves in all parts of life, no matter how many people may think they're strange. Both versions of Belle and Jasmine teach this lesson, but as we start to move into an era where children may grow up with the remakes instead of the originals, it's also extremely important that they learn the lessons the original Belle and Jasmine taught us in the first place. Sometimes, a person doesn't need to be incredibly outspoken in order to be who they are. Sometimes, all they need is a good head on their shoulders, a joyful heart, and quiet confidence in themselves to live the life they've always dreamt of.

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