clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Oscars 2018: And the award for best supporting actress goes to … women’s anger

A montage introducing the Best Supporting Actress award referenced the outrage felt by many women inside and outside Hollywood right now.

A montage of classic film moments preceding the presentation of the Best Supporting Actress award at the 2018 Oscars.
Anna North is a senior correspondent for Vox, where she covers American family life, work, and education. Previously, she was an editor and writer at the New York Times. She is also the author of three novels, including the New York Times bestseller Outlawed.

“I know something of a woman in a man’s profession.”

“Don’t talk to me like I’m stupid — that pisses me off.”

“The least I require is respect.”

It wasn’t a segment on Time’s Up. Instead, those lines came from a montage of classic female performances that formed a pointed introduction to the presentation of the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

The evening’s efforts to deal with the issue of sexual misconduct in Hollywood had been somewhat uneven, with a strong monologue from Jimmy Kimmel and some awkward red-carpet coverage, as ABC hosts tried to segue between standard fashion commentary and references to Time’s Up.

In this context, the supporting-actress montage felt welcome — a reference to the outrage and righteous anger felt by many women inside and outside Hollywood right now, delivered with a light touch. As an official response to Time’s Up, the montage might have felt self-congratulatory — strong female characters on film, however important, don’t actually protect workers from harassment. But as a lead-in to the category, it was a graceful, winking touch, a reminder that women in Hollywood have never been secondary in importance, even when they take on supporting roles.

Allison Janney, who won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in I, Tonya, offered an amusing capstone to the moment. The opening line of her acceptance speech: “I did it all by myself.”

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.