The Oscars as a political extravaganza

Criticism of racism in Hollywood, a song for victims of sexual abuse, an appeal for people to join the fight against climate change: the Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles was more politicised this year than it has been for a long time. What does all this have to do with art? some commentators ask.

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Aamulehti (FI) /

The right criticism in the wrong place

Right now in the US the debate at cultural events is more serious than in the presidential primaries, the liberal daily Aamulehti writes in amazement after the Academy Awards:

“Key moral and political topics were once again hashed out at this year's Oscars ceremony. Appeals were launched in support of the victims of sexual abuse and against the discrimination of people of colour. Climate change was also discussed. These are important topics that the current presidential primaries should also be dealing with. But for one reason or another the Americans have got entertainment and politics back to front: the election campaigning is now more entertaining than glamorous cultural events - and at cultural events today's key issues are being dealt with more seriously that in the candidates' debates.”

Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

Award-winning film a model for Poland

The film Spotlight, which deals with child abuse by members of the Catholic Church, was the surprise winner of the Oscar for Best Picture. A good choice considering its highly explosive subject, the daily Gazeta Wyborcza writes in delight:

“This film deals not only with belief but also with the defence of democratic values. It shows how the Church has set up a dictatorial system that is beyond legal control. Spotlight has all the power of a warning. ... It shows the symbiotic relationship between religion and power: a true nightmare. ... Our politicians always say we should follow the example set by US films in portraying the country's history, society and culture. Spotlight is an excellent example of that approach.”

Adevărul (RO) /

Talent has no nationality

The Hungarian Holocaust drama Son of Saul won the Oscar for Best Foreign-Language Film. The actor Levente Molnár, who was born in the Romanian city of Cluj, stars in the film, prompting some Romanians to call for their country to be given credit for his performance. But no country can lay claim to his acting achievements, Hungarian-born writer Péter Demény writes in a guest commentary for the daily Adevârul:

“Levente Molnár has been described as a 'Romanian actor' by several Romanian media. He is not a Romanian actor, and we Hungarians get edgy when people start calling him that: during the dictatorship we were all referred to as 'Romanian citizens of Hungarian origin'. ... The problem of nationalists of every stripe is that they think in numbers: If he's a Romanian, it's a point for us. If he's a Hungarian, it's a point for the opponents. ... Don't be fooled any longer. Talent has no nationality.”