Tag Archives: Kumail Nanjiani

Oscar’s 90th – Segment 5 – Diversity and The Newest Hollywood Term – B. Diversity Video Montage

Here we go – Again! Let me repeat what I said in the first of these three sub-segments that are now individual blog entries. The final commentary of this year’s Academy Award show – The Oscars! As I mentioned in the first segment – this is a long commentary because the Academy’s President did not make a statement as the previous Academy’s President did. But there was plenty to talk about from the host, presenters and award winners. And we have finally reach the end (in parts)! But let me first give links to the first four segments in case you missed any or for quick reference:

My Yearly Oscar Inclusion Exclusion Speech! Or “The 90th Oscars – Segment 1 – The Kimmel Intro”

Oscar’s 90th – Segment 2 – Let’s Dream

Oscar’s 90th – Segment 3 – Coco for Coco(a) Puffs

Oscar’s 90th – Segment 4 – Hum if You Don’t Know the Words

Okay let’s explain this again. As we get onto my final Segment. And like the previous Segment that had lyrics and some presenters’ remarks typed out, transcribed and making them a bit long – this one does similarly because what is said is so important to diversity and the entertainment industry. So at first I broke this Segment into 3 sub-segments. But that doesn’t change then length. So instead this is going to be a Segment that will be in 3 blog entries. Oscar’s 90th – Segment 5 – Diversity and The Newest Hollywood Term – A, B, and C.

A. Deafness disAbility

B. Diversity Video Montage

C. The Optional Contract Clause

This way if you feel like you get the point before I reach the end of each sub-segment (because I have been told that I can be a bit lengthy in my speech!!! Especially if it is on a topic I am passionate about!!!) you can jump over to the next sub-segment and begin that sub-section. Because this final Segment Oscar’s 90th – Segment 5 – Diversity and The Newest Hollywood Term – I have left the most important parts of this year’s Oscars when it comes to diversity, equality and inclusion within Hollywood.

And just like above giving links to the previous Segments – here is a link to the first sub-segment of this blog entry:

Oscars 90th Segment 5 Diversity and the Newest Hollywood Term – A Deafness disAbility

So here it goes with the second of the three sub-segments!

B. Diversity Video Montage

It is interesting that these three sub-segments/ blog entries happen to be in line chronologically with when they were presented in the Oscars! This one starts out on a very somber note but also on ones of strength, courage and inspiration. Three women came out to present the Diversity Video. They are Ashley Judd, Annabella Sciorra, and Salma Hayek who came out together and huddled up together in front of the microphone. Now their presentation has more to do with their experiences that are now in the open since they added their voices to the sexual misconduct allegations against the once thought of as untouchable movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. I have read their interviews and reports of theirs and others with allegations and I believe them. Especially when there are so many collaborations from business associates to the dozens and dozens of women with their own allegations. Their voices and those for diversity are combined by the Academy in this powerful Oscar segment. And although I could just skip it and go directly to the Diversity Video – although I was personally heartbroken but as I mentioned above also amazed by their strength, courage and inspiration to speak out – in a David versus Goliath odds – so I believe their presentation is worthy to be spoken about and so I will, as the Academy did, put these together – in this blog entry.

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All three of these Oscar presenters are among those who have spoken out over the past year with allegations of sexual misconduct against the once mighty movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein whose empire has since crumbled and criminal charges are being investigated in Los Angeles, New York and London. And as of today, May 25, 2018 he was charged with criminal sexual assault and rape of two anonymous women in a New York court. These three brave women Ashley Judd, Annabella Sciorra and Salma Hayek at the Oscars took the stage in support of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, which were either spawned and/or exploded within society by their courageous efforts in coming out to tell of their experiences with the movie monster mentioned above. While Ashley Judd and Salma Hayek have remained out in public and pushing forward in their careers in the years after their sexual misconduct experiences, Annabella Sciorra and the first person in the Diversity Video Montage, Mira Sorvino have not been as active in the public eye and their careers have also been slowed or stalled since their encounters with the monster mentioned. Annabella’s being the most serve in which she kept hidden for decades until last October after other women, like Mira Sorvino talked about it to reporter Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker. Since then there has been over 80 women that have now come forward with sexual misconduct allegations from harassment, sexual assault and rape against Harvey Weinstein who was at the time one of the most powerful men in the entertainment industry. And that goes beyond just movies and television but also in the print/online entertainment news media. He could either catapult or crush a career and he either promised or threatened both. I mention this so you can better understand what is being said here by the presenters and some of those in the Diversity Video Montage. With this in mind you can better understand how very powerful this beginning with the presenters of Ashley, Annabella, and Salma are saying as they are standing together on this Oscar stage.

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Annabella Sciorra: “Hi. It’s nice to see you all again, it’s been a while, (Audience member yells out “We love you!” as they rest of them and Salma Hayek applauds. Annabella smiles and with her hands clasped slightly nods a “thank-you” to the audience member. See the photo above!) It’s an honor to be here tonight. This year, many spoke their truth and the journey ahead is long, but slowly a new path has emerged.

Ashley Judd: “The changes we are witnessing are being driven by the powerful sound of new voices, of different voices, of our voices, joining together in a mighty chorus that is finally saying, “Time’s Up.” (Big applause from audience and Salma. And another smile from Annabella!)

Salma Hayek: “So, we salute those unstoppable spirits who kicked ass and broke through the biased perceptions against their gender, their race, and ethnicity to tell their stories.”

Annabella Sciorra: “And on this 90th anniversary evening when the Oscars celebrates (big sigh) timeless classics (looks down, I believe toward Meryl Streep who was in the front row, as does Ashley Judd), we also look forward as well. (Looks again toward Meryl Streep with a smile.)”

Ashley Judd: “And we were together to make sure that the next 90 years empower these limitless possibilities of equality, diversity, inclusion, intersectionality. That is what this year has promised us.” (Big smile from Ashley. Huge applause from audience and Salma.)

Salma Hayek: “As you can see, (Salma looks over to Annabella and Ashley who are smiling and adds some nervous laughter) so full of emotion and a little bit shaky. We ask you to join us as we take a look at some of these trailblazers.”

A video begins high on center stage. It is a montage of artists who have fought for diversity and equality in movies. And as I mentioned above it begins with another one of the brave women who spoke out against sexual harassment by the now defamed and whose name I will not mention again, the wonderful and talented, Mira Sorvino. And while she starts this video montage with comments about the sexual harassment charges and the powerful groups that have grown to support the victims of this serious and unacceptable crime of sexual harassment, it moves into showing what has become a more diverse Hollywood and it trying to be more representative to all people – all minorities and sub-groups of our very diverse American society. And for the rights to self-represent in the stories written, directed and acted in the more diverse movie making in Hollywood.

Now here are links to two videos I found after a searching for the Diversity Video Montage. The first is embedded in a Hollywood Reporter magazine’s online website. And it includes the presenters of Ashley Judd, Annabella Sciorra and Salma Hayek. It is wonderful and I highly recommend watching that one. It also has captions/subtitles available (although they are not complete). The second is just the Diversity Video Montage and I hope both remain available. And the reason that include both in case one is taken down I hope the other remains. But if neither do – like above, I have included the transcription below.

  1. https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/ashley-judd-salma-hayek-honor-diverse-films-metoo-times-up-movements-oscars-2018-1091014
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=5&v=mC7DjzlOeE0

 

 

Diversity Video Montage - 1a

The Diversity Video Montage. Here is the transcription. I have also included the movie clips that often played at some point during the artists’ comments. Sometimes the movie clip had dialogue that was played in this video and I included it when I could make it out – other times there were no dialogue and I mention that. If you are watching the video above with captions/subtitles you will notice that they missed some of what was said. I did my best to include all of what was said. Also if you are reading or following along with the transcription below – I put dialogue that was said in bold which I felt would be great if it was also applied to the minority of the people with a disAbility! And to put even more emphasis on certain remarks or partial remarks, I put a screen shot picture of them on top of those remarks! With that said, let’s go!

Mira Sorvino – “This entire fall, the ‘Me Too,’ the ‘Time’s Up’ movements, everyone is getting a voice to express something that has been happening forever, not only in Hollywood, but in every walk of life.”

Movie clip from “Get Out” – “Do they know that I’m black?” “Should they?”

Lee Daniels – “Some of our best work has come from turmoil.”

Dee Rees – Director: Mudbound – “We have been in denial about the things at work. This moment is exposing the hypocrisy.

Ava DuVernay – “These are the times that will be long remembered. What will we be remembered for? What did we do?

Movie clip from “Lady Bird” – “My name’s Lady Bird.” “It’s weird you shake hands.”

Greta Gerwig – Director: Lady Bird – “All the movies I loved were directed by men. That seemed like a prerequisite.”

Kumail Nanjiani – Writer: The Big Sick – “Some of my favorite movies are movies by straight white dudes about straight white dudes. Now straight white dudes can watch movies starring me and you can relate to that. It’s not that hard. I’ve done it my whole life.

Movie clip from “The Big Sick” – “So, the sun was shining down on you.”

Movie clip from “Una Mujer Fantastica – A Fantastic Woman” No dialogue

Diversity Video Montage - 5 - Salma Hayek

Salma Hayek – “The industry has to become sincerely curious about the human essence that has become invisible behind stereotypes.

Movie clip from “Beatriz at Dinner” – No dialogue

Diversity Video Montage - 4 - Mira Sorvino

Mira Sorvino – “It’s this possibility of the status quo not having to be the status quo any longer.

Movie clip from “The Post” – “I’m talking to Mr. Bradley now”

Movie clip from “Thelma & Louise” No dialogue

Geena Davis – “When ‘Thelma & Louise’ came out, the huge prediction in the press was, this changes everything. We’re going to see so many more movies starring female characters. That didn’t happen. But this is now that moment.

Yance Ford – Director: Strong Island – “I’ve been a trans director in my life for many, many years now. With the nomination and headlines, I was like, Oh, I guess this is new for some people.”

Movie clip from “Strong Island” – No dialogue

Sarah Silverman – “Some people are really in their hearts, they’re threatened or they’re scared. And there’s nothing to be scared of. It’s just equality.

Kumail Nanjiani – “Emily, my wife, had this idea. She wanted to have a website called ‘Muslims Having Fun’, which is just like Muslims eating ice cream and riding roller coasters and laughing and having fun. Because she gets to see that and most of America doesn’t.

Movie clip from “The Big Sick” – No dialogue.

Diversity Video Montage - 3 - Ava DuVernay

Ava DuVernay – “You can deconstruct the very way that people see themselves and the way that they are seen.

Movie clip from “The Shape of Water” – No dialogue.

Mira Sorvino – “We are the interpreters of dreams and we have a chance to lionize beauty and truth and honor and justice.

Salma Hayek – “Only through originality, we can really get to the heart of real human stories.

Diversity Video Montage - 6 - Kumail Nanjiani

Kumail Nanjiani – “There’s so many movies from different points of views that are making a ton of money. Don’t do it because it’s better for society and representation, even though it is. Do it because you can get rich. Get that promotion, right?”

Movie clip from “Wonder Woman” – No dialogue.

Barry Jenkins – “I remember going to see ‘Wonder Woman,’ sitting in the theatre and hearing women cry in this big action extravaganza, and something clicked. I’ll say it. This is what white men feel all the time and all these women are having this experience for the first time.

Movie clip from “Black Panther” – No dialogue.

Barry Jenkins continues – “I imagine it’s going to be same thing when people go and see ‘Black Panther’.”

Lee Daniels – “Get ready for some more ‘Get Outs,’ for more ‘Black Panthers.’ Get ready for some more ‘Wrinkle in Times.’ We’re here and we’re not going anywhere.

Diversity Video Montage - 7 - Black Panter

Movie clip from “Black Panther” – “My son, it is your time.

Diversity Video Montage - 8 - Liz Hannah

Liz Hannah – Writer: “The Post” – “It’s so exciting to imagine an 8-year-old kid seeing themselves on screen in a way they haven’t been before. Traditional walls have collapsed. ”

Movie clip from “Lady Bird” – No dialogue.

Ava DuVernay – “You have a phone that has a camera on it that you can actually make a movie on it right now if you wanted to.

Diversity Video Montage - 9 - Greta Gerwig

Greta Gerwig – Director: “Lady Bird” – “Go make your movie. We need your movie. I need your movie. So go make it.

As I mentioned the words I put in bold I want to be applied to people with a disAbility. I could easily dissect each of those in bold in how it can and should apply to those with a disAbility. But I have already made this longer than it should be and I can trust your intelligence to figure out how it can apply toward people with a disAbility for yourselves. Although I will say of what was said at the end by Ava DuVernay and Greta Gerwig should be heard by people with a disAbility! The two of them, Ava DuVernay who was the first black woman director whose film was nominated for Best Picture Oscar (“Selma”) last year, and Greta Gerwig who is the first woman to be nominated for Best Director Oscar for “Lady Bird” this year – it is the first time in 8 years for a woman to be nominated for Best Director – the last time was when Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win Best Director for her film, “The Hurt Locker” – all are breaking barriers as women film directors and should give other women and minorities including people with a disAbility as it does for me the inspiration to go and do it!

What all of these Hollywood artists are saying is so powerful and one that I hope is not ever dismissed or only implemented for a short time, only while it is trending – until it all blows over. I don’t want it to ever blow over. I want change. I want the change they want and I want the change I have fought so hard to get just a smidgen amount of recognition and inclusion for the creative roles for the people with a disAbility. The words spoken in this Diversity Video Montage that are primarily speaking by women and by those of racial minorities and of the LGBTQ minority of which some are specifically directed to their groups but some can be directed to all minorities including the dismissed minority of those people with a disAbility. Nearly all of the voices in this Diversity Video Montage can be easily interchanged with the voices of those with a disAbility!

Can we be included in this new push for Diversity in Hollywood? And I am not the only one saying this. Remember what Rachel Shenton, the Oscar winner for the Best Live Action Short Film and was included above. Here it is: Diversity, she says, is, however, about more than race and gender. “It’s really important to remember that disability is diversity, and that disabled actors and disabilities are something that is hugely underrepresented in film.” And the pictures of all the people that held signs that read, “Disability is Diversity.”

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The Silent Child - Disability is Diversity - The Silent Child Facebook - 3

This Diversity Video Montage talked about the new Hollywood acceptance of diversity. Again I do hope they are sincere. I don’t want this to just be some trending, hashtag for the moment to show they care and will make a change for diversity. And a lasting effort that will be one that will include those with a disAbility! Listen up Hollywood – all of you – including those in this Diversity Video Montage – disAbility is Diversity – and I am not the only one saying this. See the pictures above and/or the blog entry before this one! This brings me right to the next sub-segment! So let’s get to it!

The next and final commentary on these Oscars: Oscar’s 90th – Segment 5 – Diversity and The Newest Hollywood Term – C. The Optional Contract Clause

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Oscar’s 90th – Segment 2 – Let’s Dream

Like many of you, I love hearing my favorite actors, actresses, or directors talking about their work, their passion for their profession and or their history of where they came from and how they got where they are in the entertainment industry. In one case a movie and television music composer, Michael Giacchinio. In most cases I have no idea who the nominees are in this category but I did recognize his name because I had watched all the “behind the scenes” features on the season DVD’s for the television show, “Alias” for which he was the music composer for and was in one of those featurettes. But it was his acceptance speech for when he won the Oscar award for Best Music/Original Score for the movie “Up” that was particularly inspiring to me and I talked about in my blog entry for that 2010 Oscar Award show.  Or better yet, watch it on YouTube.

So if a couple of my favorite actors, let’s say like Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner were at this years’ Oscars and as presenters – not as award winning speeches – and talked about how they grew up dreaming of being on that stage and working in the industry and the craft that they were so passionate about. And then saying, “And like everyone in this room, and everyone watching at home, we are dreamers. We grew up dreaming of one day working in movies. Dreams are the foundation of Hollywood. And dreams are the foundation of America.”

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That would be having me voicing out loud toward the television, “Yeah!” Of course, I am a dreamer! I have the same passion for working at writing and directing movies as they do in acting in movies. The same as so many others out there. “We are dreamers.”

These words were spoken at this years’ Academy Awards by Oscar winning actress, Lupita Nyong’o, as she was presenting awards with stand-up comedian, actor and this year became an Academy Award nominee for Best Original Screenplay, Kumail Nanjiani. She is a Mexican born Kenyan. Her parents are Kenyan and lived in Mexico City when she was born. She lived in both countries before coming to America for college to study drama. He was born in Pakistan and moved here when he was 18 to attend college. He has since become an American citizen. I tell you of their nationality and being immigrants because the Academy Award show writers clearly wanted that to be known as they have prepared some of what they are going to say from the teleprompter before presenting the award for Best Achievement in Production Design. There are some video on the internet of this presentation but most have been taken down by the Academy. Even the videos they put up on their own site! So for you and future readers, here is the full transcript of their prepared text (plus some reactions) at the Oscars.

Lupita Nyongo and Kumail Nanjiani Oscars 2018 - Dreamers

LUPITA NYONG’O: Good evening. We are the two actors you keep hearing about but whose names you have trouble pronouncing. (light laughter)

KUMAIL NANJIANI: Actually, I have to come clean. Kumail Nanjiani is my stage name. My actual given Pakistani name is Chris Pine. (Laughter) So you can imagine how annoyed I was when the other — when the “white” Chris Pine showed up. The “real” Chris Pine.

LUPITA: We are also immigrants. I’m from Kenya.

KUMAIL: And I’m from — (some applause and yells) ‘Kenya is in the house.’ And I am from Pakistan and Iowa. (light laughter but enough to interrupt Kumail but he moves on) Two places that nobody in Hollywood can find on a map. (sporadic laughter)

LUPITA: And like everyone in this room, and everyone watching at home, we are dreamers. We grew up dreaming of one day working in movies. Dreams are the foundation of Hollywood. And dreams are the foundation of America.

KUMAIL: And so (interrupted by applause) — to all the dreamers out there, we stand with you. (more applause) Now, the nominees for achievement in production design.

I am not voicing out loud but I am still thinking, “Yeah”! After all I am a dreamer and I am happy they are standing with me. And for all of us “dreaming of one day working in movies.” That is what they said. “And like everyone in this room, and everyone watching at home, we are dreamers.” Yes. Yes. YES! We are! I love it. Not only everyone in that room – the Oscar nominees and their guests – but everyone at home watching this show – mostly movie lovers are all dreamers. They are recognizing that they are not the only ones out here, or in there that are dreamers and are worthy to be working on making our dreams come true. They did it. Surely we can too! Yeah again! Turn off the lights – we are good to go!

WAIT!

That is not what they said? Or not what they meant? They are lying? Playing us? What did they mean? Well, anybody living in this country knows they are playing us and they don’t mean what they are saying. But for those that do not know let me say how they are taking us down this road to make a subtle but not so subtle political statement. With the changing of the case of one letter in the final sentence, a lowercase “d” to an uppercase “D” to say “…to all the Dreamers out there, we stand with you.” The “Dreamers” are the commonly referred nickname for the recipients of the 44th President, Barak Obama’s executive order in 2012, the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)” that suspends deportation for a 2-year period for about 800,000 children or were children when they were brought to the United States illegally. After the 2-year period they can reapply for another 2-year period and so on. Any illegal immigration issue is a political firestorm here in the United States. And I do not want to get into the details. And I do not want to take sides on this issue here. This is not the place and therefore I do want to say that the Academy Award show writers, producers and the using of these two legal immigrants in making this a political statement is wrong. That is not the place to take a side either. Despite that a quick internet search of “Lupita Nyong’o and Kumail Nanjiani” shows that all of the top results are articles giving praise for their supporting the “Dreamers” at the Academy Award show. But is that right? They presented with the words “we are dreamers.”

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Google Search Lupita Nyongo and Kumail Nanjiani - 2

 

Changing the Definition of Everyone

How many of us are watching from home? How many of us are working on, have been working on, and will continue to be working on making our dreams come true? We are the dreamers that they spoke of in their presentation. Even as they were speaking it – I felt that they were going to make it a political statement and I would feel betrayed by the words, “And like everyone in this room, and everyone watching at home, we are dreamers.” There is nothing political in this statement. And there should not be anything political in this statement. Nor should it be in the final sentence, “And so to all the dreamers out there, we stand with you.” So how does it become a political statement as the Google results about this Oscar presentation prove that it is? They should have said what they meant by stating, “And so to all the DACA Dreamers out there, we stand with you.” But that would be out of context with what they just said about “everyone” being dreamers.

So how did it become “Dreamer” instead of dreamer? Being a dreamer and knowing so many dreamers that are “dreaming of one day working in the movies” and having those in Hollywood to say they will “stand with you” would mean a lot! It is one that I feel strong about. I have been working on fulfilling my dreams of being a filmmaker since the late 1980’s. A handful of years before I became a paraplegic. And one that has been the focus of this blog since I started it 12 years ago in 2006. Dreaming about a day when people with a disAbility, the largest minority in America, and the most under-represented and most excluded in American movies and television, will be given a little more respect and inclusion in Hollywood. —– So for them to change the context from dreamer to “Dreamer” they need to change the repeated word of “everyone” into just those that were brought into this country illegally. Thereby the inspiring words that Lupita and Kumail said do not apply to the actual “everyone,” like me or the millions of others watching. They apply just to the ones who during their childhood were brought into this country illegally.

They are lying about “everyone” or “dreamers” for this to be in their political context. Why do they have to make this political? And in the process they have once again dismissed my dreams of people with a disAbility, the over 56,700,000 American dreamers being authentically represented in movies. My dreams of being a successful paraplegic filmmaker hiring a paraplegic actor to portray my paraplegic character. And remember as I said at the beginning this is coming from Academy Award Presenters scripted words and not Oscar winners’ speeches. That would be more personal. This is about the show and the Presenters are talking to the audience. Especially these words as this blog entry is talking about. They need to keep what they are saying in context. Say what you mean. If you mean “Dreamers” say “DACA Dreamers” from the beginning. Don’t twist it all around so that my dreams and all of those who are “dreaming of one day working in the movies” are being hijacked for a political statement of “Dreamers.” So Academy, the presenters, the applauding audience members, Hollywood in general – why not just say what you mean? Why do you have to throw “everyone” else under the bus in order to make a political statement at what is supposed to be a fun and entertaining awards show?

Next up – ”Oscar’s 90th – Segment 3 – Coco for Coco(a) Puffs”