In case you missed the Oscars, you missed the usual; bowties, shiny shoes and glamorous dresses filled the Dolby Theatre. But Sunday night also featured a new trend. There was something deeper going on throughout the night that had us excited about the future of social change. From acceptance speeches calling out today’s issues to performances captivating the audience to tell the story, here are all the ways the 2016 Oscars were #HereForGood. 

Racial Issues

If you read any entertainment news in the lead-up to Sunday evening’s festivities, you knew there was going to be a huge elephant in the room. Much of Hollywood’s African-American community boycotted the awards due to the lack of any black actors or directors on the list of nominees.

On a list of boycotters that included notable stars like Will Smith and Spike Lee, one glaring omission was noticeable – Chris Rock, this year’s host. The comedian has a history of walking the line between what is and isn’t “socially acceptable,” so when news broke that Rock wouldn’t join the boycott, many were looking forward to his monologues and jokes.

Rock wasn’t the only one to bring up the issue. Alejandro Iñárritu, who won his second consecutive Oscar for best director, also brought attention to the issue. However, he did it without comedic flair, opting instead for a much more serious approach. In his acceptance speech Iñárritu, from Mexico City, urged for equality for all races, not just African-Americans.

“So what a great opportunity to our generation to really liberate ourselves from all prejudice and, you know, this tribal thinking, and make sure for once and forever that the color of the skin become as irrelevant as the length of our hair.” – Alejandro Iñárritu

Religious Issues

Race wasn’t the only issue that took center stage Sunday night. Spotlight, a film based on the investigative journalists at The Boston Globe that broke the monumental story of widespread child abuse that was taking place in the Catholic Church, was nominated for six Oscars and won two of them, including Best Picture. Michael Sugar cheered Pope Francis along in his acceptance speech. 

Sexual Abuse

Music and politics met on The Dolby Theatre center stage to raise awareness for sexual assault.

Vice President Joe Biden took the mic to introduce Lady Gaga’s performance of her Oscar-nominated song “Til It Happens to You,” but he first took the opportunity to urge the viewing public to take a pledge against sexual assault, It’s On Us. Regardless of your political preference, if you haven’t seen Biden’s speech and Gaga’s performance, prepare the tissues. 

“Let’s change the culture so that no abused woman or man… ever feels like they have to ask themselves, ‘What did I do?’ They did nothing wrong.” -Joe Biden

 

https://youtu.be/30k3EHdeLV8

Girl Scouts

Everybody – including Hollywood’s best and brightest – enjoy Girl Scout Cookies. From the staples, like Thin Mints and Caramel deLites, to some of the newer offerings, everybody has a favorite. But the money spent on these cookies also goes to a good cause. About 75% of profits from the sales goes to continuing the Girl Scouts, an organization that has been shaping young girls around the United States for more than 100 years.

So, when Chris Rock invited The Girl Scouts of Los Angeles to the stage, he was doing more than making another joke. The Girl Scouts walked through the auditorium and sold the famed audience their even more famous cookies. Later in the night, Rock invited the girls back to the stage and announced the total sales: $65,243! 

Environmental Issues

Last but not least, Leonardo Dicaprio capped off the night with his first Oscar after six nominations. He tastefully went through the list of people he had to thank over his lifetime of perfecting his craft as an actor. They didn’t even bother with wrap-up music as he transitioned into a convicting plea for change to the way our planet is being treated. He used his platform to remind us that we need to live with a sense of urgency to not take the planet for granted.

“Let us not take this planet for granted, I do not take this night for granted.” -Leonardo Dicaprio

Tides in pop culture are shifting towards creating a world conducive of making positive changes in our communities. Much like nonprofit organizations are doing every day, the Oscars was full of advocacy, awareness and calls-to-action on making the world a better place.