EDITORIAL – Oscars have become more a rally for causes than an awards show

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

DID YOU WATCH the 90th annual Academy Awards on TV last night? Millions of others did.

Trophies were given out between speeches about every conceivable social cause: gender equity, anti-bullying, racial equality, #MeToo, Time’s Up. There was even the necessary tribute to the American armed forces.

I hope the Merritt City council made note of the many references to inclusion and sexual orientation but somehow I doubt it.

Canada and even Kamloops were represented. Kamloops-born Joel Whist didn’t win in the special effects category, but it was exciting just seeing his name on the list of nominees.

The Shape of Water, which won Best Picture, was made in Canada, and film makers from Toronto and Montreal were among awards recipients.

Still, Oscar night has become more a Parade of Social Causes than an awards show, more political rally than entertainment event.

As expected, sexual harassment got most of the attention. It’s reaching the point where one begins to wonder if the pendulum has swung too far.

Take the case of Ryan Seacrest.

“This is not about his guilt or innocence,” said Tarana Burke, the founder of #MeToo, before the show. She was talking about the choice of Seacrest to host the red carpet pre-show.

Seacrest, like so many other celebrities, faces sexual misconduct allegations.

In other words, according to Burke, never mind due process. If you’re accused, you should lose your job.

Burke’s views aside, Seacrest, who insists his name has been cleared in a third-party investigation, seems to have made it through the night without incident.

There’s no excuse for sexual violence and the fight against it must go on, along with racial equality and other causes.

Celebrities have a right to express their opinions on important issues, and it’s up to the public whether it listens to what they have to say.

One can only hope, though, that the day will come soon when these awards shows feel able to get back to doing what they do best — hand out awards.

 Mel Rothenburger’s Armchair Mayor editorials appear Mondays through Thursdays on CFJC- TV. His Armchair Mayor column is published Saturdays on and CFJC Today. Contact him at


About Mel Rothenburger (6753 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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