Entertainment

Actors Guaranteed to Go Political During the Oscars

These folks will likely get divisive on Sunday night, unfortunately

Awards shows are becoming less and less about the celebration of entertainment, creativity, and art — and more and more about political preaching. Sunday night’s Oscars are unlikely to prove otherwise.

Artists who are not typically politically active or vocal may even be feeling the pressure this year to mimic the divisive rhetoric of other preachy celebrities. After all, Lady Gaga took a beating from the mainstream media when she chose to make her Super Bowl halftime performance about music and unity — rather than politics.

Past Oscar winners are even encouraging this year’s presenters and awards winners to get as political as they can.

Past Oscar victors are even encouraging this year’s presenters and awards winners to get as political as they can. “What is needed from Hollywood now is more ‘outright bias,'” wrote award-winning writer John Irving in an editorial for The Hollywood Reporter.

He continued, “Whatever the protocol for Oscar acceptance speeches is, or was, the creative community has an obligation: to be intolerant of intolerance.”

People outside of Hollywood, meanwhile, are begging for artists to drop the aggressive political speeches.

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Popular film website Screen Rant — which typically stays far away from politics — posted a story this week from writer Paul Young entitled, “Why Hollywood Should Ignore Politics During the Academy Awards.”

“Come Monday morning, everyone will be talking about what politically charged statement (multiple) winners made the night before, but it honestly doesn’t have to be that way. All we are asking is that Hollywood’s best and brightest please remember they’re on an award stage, not a political platform,” wrote Young.

Related: Dear Oscars, Please Don’t Go Political

“Going political” is also bad for business. A recent survey by The National Research Group found that some viewers shut awards shows off once politics becomes the night’s main focus. Of 800 people asked — half Hillary Clinton voters and half Donald Trump voters — 66 percent of Trump voters said they tune out when politics are brought up, while 19 percent of Clinton voters do so.

Still, don’t expect any of this to stop Hollywood. Politics are unfortunately likely to take center stage on Sunday night, rather than the art the ceremony is meant to recognize.

Meryl Streep has been nominated for 20 Academy Awards and won three. At this point, if she appears in a film, she is all but guaranteed to be up for recognition from the Academy.

This year, Streep has been nominated for Best Actress for her work in “Florence Foster Jenkins.” It’s no guarantee that she’ll win and storm the stage — but her track record potentially gives her an edge.

If Streep does take the stage, it’s likely her one goal will be to top her infamous Golden Globes speech, in which she spent minutes criticizing President Donald Trump without ever actually naming him.

Interestingly, one anonymous Oscar voter told The Hollywood Reporter that politics are the entire reason Streep will attend the Oscars. “I thought Meryl [Streep in ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’] played it like a clown — she’s cute and adorable, but this woman didn’t matter to me in the end — but people are gaga over Meryl, and I think she solidified her nomination when she gave that speech at the Golden Globes.”

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Lin-Manuel Miranda has seen his star rise considerably because of the incredibly popular Broadway play, “Hamilton.” Miranda has been nominated for Best Original Song for the tune “How Far Will I Go,” which can be heard in the animated movie, “Moana.”

Miranda is a fan of exploiting stages to push blatant political agendas. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he had some concerning things to say about Sunday night’s ceremony. “It’s a political time — so I imagine the Oscars will look exactly like your Twitter or Facebook feed.”

Miranda is one of the artists who helped to write a speech directed at Vice President Mike Pence when he attended a showing of “Hamilton.” “We are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us. All of us,” said cast member Brandon Victor Dixon to Pence from the stage in a diatribe that was partly written by Miranda.

Related: A Letter to Meryl Streep

Michael Shannon was never known as a very political actor. He seemed to be a thoughtful artist who put his work first and was shy of media spotlights. He starred in blockbusters like “Man of Steel” as easily as critically acclaimed dramatic shows like “Boardwalk Empire.”

Oscar producers better get ready to start bleeping the ugly language that is likely to come.

Yet in an interview last year with rogerebert.com, Shannon said of Trump voters, “I don’t know how people got so [expletive] stupid. But it’s really weird, because it’s like the last eight years — now it feels like a lie. Like, this has been festering underneath the whole time. Racists, sexists. And a lot of these people, they don’t know why the f*** they’re alive. They know it. They’re doing drugs, f***ing killing themselves. Because they’re like, ‘Why the f*** am I alive? I can’t get a job, I don’t know anything about anything, I have no curiosity for life or the world.’ So this Trump thing is like getting a box of firecrackers, or something. It’s like, ‘Well, this will be fun for a little while, this’ll kill some time.'”

He also claimed a Trump presidency would “destroy civilization as we know it, and the Earth.”

You can bet someone as angry as that will not miss an opportunity to turn an awards show into something blatantly political. If Shannon wins an Oscar on Sunday night — he’s nominated for Best Supporting Actor for the movie “Nocturnal Animals” — then Oscar producers better get ready to start bleeping the ugly language that is likely to come.

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