Controversy, Politics and Inclusion Riders: We Look at the 2018 Oscars

From Oscars Sunday to Monday morning more than 4.5 million conversations occurred about the celebrated awards show. Networked Insights dove head first into the conversations and pulled out the most relevant details for marketers. What the data and analytics company learned: more than the movie-makers and actors, politics, controversy and awkward moments claimed the spotlight.

Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” didn’t win Best Picture, but it won for most conversation. With more than 15.1 percent of the total conversation around Oscar-nominated major movie releases, the racially-charged horror story won for Best Original Screenplay making Peele the first black writer to win this category. “Get Out” was also nominated for Best Picture Best Actor and Best Director. Peele noted in his emotional speech that he stopped and restarted writing the film nearly 20 times because he felt it was too controversial to be picked up and made into a major release.

DANIEL KALUUYA as Chris Washington in “Get Out,” a speculative thriller from Blumhouse (producers of “The Visit,” “Insidious” series and “The Gift”) and the mind of Jordan Peele, when a young African-American man visits his white girlfriend’s family estate, he becomes ensnared in a more sinister real reason for the invitation. Photo and caption: Variety.

Peele’s award isn’t just a major win for the former comedy writer, but it’s also a win for the diversity and inclusion movement that kicked off after the #OscarsSoWhite call-out in 2015.

In fact, the issues around gender equality and diversity, in general, were front and center this year.

Films like, “The Shape of Water,” “Lady Bird” and “Get Out” being recognized are an incredible leap into a new direction and audiences celebrated it. Nearly 80 percent felt positive about the awards show with conversations around success claiming 34 percent of conversation and pride claiming 9 percent of the conversation.

But there is still work to do, audiences noted.

Despite the #MeToo movement and #TimesUp pins on lapels or dresses and the heavy continuous audience shots of Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman wasn’t nominated in any category and audiences noticed.

Dear Basketball Featured Image Networked Insights

And they especially noticed when Kobe Bryant won Best Animated Short for “Dear Basketball.” The win, though celebrated by most, was noted by some as awkward. Bryant was accused of sexual assault in 2003 by a hotel employee who ultimately didn’t testify but was awarded an undisclosed sum in a separate civil suit and received a very public apology from Bryant, who admitted to the sexual encounter but denied the assault allegation.

Audiences also picked up on the veteran basketball player’s nod to LeBron James’ recent political comments. When a racial slur was graffitied on James’ Los Angeles home recently, the all-star basketball player spoke openly about being a black athlete in America.

His comments didn’t sit well with Fox News host Laura Ingraham who said the athlete should just “shut up and dribble.” Ingraham said she was not interested in political advice from “someone who gets paid $100 million a year to bounce a ball.”

Bryant mentioned that even though basketball players should just “shut up and dribble” they can do more meaningful work, too.

Finally, Meryl Streep was a major talking point for audiences, this year. But it wasn’t because of her 21 career nominations.  It wasn’t because of her fight for gender equality. And it wasn’t for her push for actor rights, despite the call out in Frances McDormand’s best actress acceptance speech that mentions the need for inclusion rider.

Instead, Streep kept audiences engaged because of shouting. She didn’t win for “The Post” but she claimed more than 10 percent of the total conversation because she was able to offer the internet an updated meme of her cupping her hands around her mouth and yelling.

Meryl Streep meme updated from Oscars 2018

All in all, the awards show brought out tough topics to center stage and audiences appreciated it.

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