This year, the Oscars seemed destined to get political. After all, the nation seems more divided than ever, and Hollywood stars, who are overwhelmingly liberal, have been vocal opponents of many of President Trump’s policies (to say nothing of his opinion about Meryl Streep).
So how long would it take for things to get political? Not long at all. It happened long before the speeches even got started.
Here’s a rundown of all of the Oscars’ political moments (and we’ll keep updating this list during the broadcast):
The blue ribbons
On the red carpet, Ruth Negga made a statement by pinning a blue ribbon onto her dress. The message was support for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). It made sense for Negga, who’s nominated for best actress for “Loving”; Negga played real-life Mildred Loving, a black woman jailed for marrying a white man, and the ACLU represented the couple in its 1967 Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia.
But Negga wasn’t the only one sporting blue — so were Karlie Kloss, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Busy Phillips — and the ribbons weren’t the only political things about the ceremony.
Before the red carpet even began, director Ava DuVernay, nominated for the documentary “13th,” tweeted out a picture of herself holding up a sweatshirt that read “Trayvon.” Sunday marks the anniversary of the death of Trayvon Martin, who was shot by Florida neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in 2012.
DuVernay’s fashion choice for the evening was also political. It was from a Lebanese designer.
Host Kimmel did more than dabble in politics during his opening monologue. The most pointed comment: “I want to say thank you to President Trump,” he said. “I mean, remember last year when it seemed like the Oscars were racist?”
He mentioned that the Oscars were airing in “225 countries that now hate us,” and said he was happy that Homeland Security let French Oscar nominee Isabelle Huppert into the country.
The U.S. is divided right now, Kimmel said, and people have been telling the host that he needs to say something to unite everyone.
“Let’s just get something straight off the top: I can’t do that. There’s only one Braveheart in this room and he’s not going to unite us either,” Kimmel said referring to Mel Gibson. Then Kimmel said that the best thing to do would be for people to reach out to someone they disagree with and have a conversation. “That could make America great again,” he said.
Last but not least, Kimmel joked about President Trump’s tweet calling Meryl Streep “overrated.”
“Meryl Streep has phoned it in on more than 50 films over the course of her lackluster career,” he said before forcing her to stand up for a round of applause.
“Nice dress, by the way,” he said to her. “Is that an Ivanka?”
Chery Boone Isaacs
The president of the Academy for Motion Picture Arts and Sciences didn’t get overtly political, but her message was clear. It was all about inclusion.
“Tonight is proof that art has no borders,” she said after noting that, after two straight years of #OscarsSoWhite, the nominees are more diverse this year. She also detailed how art brings people together regardless of country of origin.
“All creative artists around the world are connected by an unbreakable bond that is powerful and permanent,” she said.
Farhadi, who won for “The Salesman,” didn’t attend the ceremony, but he still made a political statement. The Iranian filmmaker chose not to travel to the United States because of President Trump’s travel ban, but he sent a speech to the person accepting the award on his behalf.
“Dividing the world into the us and our enemies categories creates fear,” the statement read. But he said that artists have the power to bring people together. Filmmakers “create empathy between us and others, an empathy we need more today than ever,” Farhadi wrote.
Gael Garcia Bernal
The Mexican “Neruda” actor gave a somewhat unexpected intro for the best animated feature award. Rather than talk about the contenders, he made a political statement.
“I’m against any form of wall that wants to separate us,” he said.
A few of the commercials seemed to be directly addressing Donald Trump and his America-first policies. Hyatt had an ad set to the song “What the World Needs Now Is Love” that showed people of different races and backgrounds seemingly eyeing each other suspiciously before ultimately finding a special connection. The ad concludes with the words “For a world of understanding.”
Meanwhile, Audible had Zachary Quinto reading a passage from George Orwell’s “1984” and the New York Times launched an ad campaign — its first television commercial in a decade — about the importance of truth. (Trump tweeted about the Times ad earlier in the day.)
Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney
The Miami natives took home the Oscar for best adapted screenplay, and they had a message for viewers at home.
“All you people out there who feel like your life is not reflected, the Academy has your back, the ACLU has your back,” Jenkins said. “For the next four years we will not leave you alone, we will not forget you.”
McCraney, a gay playwright who wrote the semi-autobiographical play that Jenkins adapted for the screen, added, “To all the black and brown boys and girls and non-gender-conforming individuals, this is for you.”