Unlike most people, Hollywood isn’t quite ready to leave 2018 behind. On February 24th, the 91st Academy Awards will conclude this memorable year of movies. Ranging in tales of world-saving superheroes to 18th century period pieces, the 2018 nominees have entertained and educated millions. Within these tales of fictional adventures and historical tragedies are messages of mental health, representation, and stories of love and friendship, all of which played a prominent role in 2018.
This was perhaps one of the most notable films of 2018 in terms of revolutionizing its genre. It excelled economically and socially. Its achievements included being the highest-grossing movie from a black director as well as the first superhero movie ever to receive a nomination for Best Picture at the Oscars. However, its achievements extended far beyond award shows and box offices. Black Panther displayed the importance of representation in Hollywood, specifically in the superhero realm. It revolutionized the superhero industry, illuminating the need for minority superheroes. It seemed as if more people were familiar with the fictional nation of Wakanda than they were with the geography of their own country. The fact that Black Panther was released nearly a year ago and we are still talking about the impact it has had demonstrates the scope of its message.
This film centers on a surprisingly true story of the first African-American detective in the Colorado Springs police department, who just so happens to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan in hopes to expose and take it down. BlackKklansman concludes in a manner that poses a scary question: have we really progressed as far as we think we have in terms of racial equality? In comparing real events from the 1970s with events happening today in the United States, this film becomes far more than a story from the past; it transforms into a piece of art that forces people to reflect on the current state of society. The shocking revelation that you can draw parallels between the heights of racial tensions and society today leaves the audience with a chilling feeling that makes it a must watch not only for awards season.
Based on a true story, this film centers on two unlikely friends embarking on the road trip of their lives. An African-American classical musician and an Italian-American muscle man, two people who couldn’t be any more different, venture into the deep south on a concert tour. A beautiful friendship emerges as they encounter the many barriers of racial segregation in the south. Their relationship transitions from professional to platonic as they discover their commonalities and deep respect for each other. This movie reminds audiences that we all aren’t that different from each other. We all fight our own battles. We all struggle to find and understand love. We all strive to find acceptance within each other, we all face hardships in different forms no matter who we are, where we come from, or what year it is.
A Star is Born
At a glance, this film is about two people balancing love for each other with the pressures of the entertainment business and life. However, this story is so much more than a love story. A Star is Born reflects the importance of mental health education and treatment as audiences worldwide saw the toll poor mental health takes on a person and the people around them. The struggles of staying true to yourself and the importance of mental health are not unique to famous musicians. In 2018, there have been large scale efforts to bringing continued awareness to and continue the fight against the stigma of mental health. This movie was no exception. The reach this movie had no doubt contributed to the movements and change made in 2018 against mental health. This tragic, yet beautiful love story didn’t just make audiences fall in love, it made them confront the issues of mental health stigmas that are all too real in our generation.
Although 2018 is over, the achievements these movies made in the box office and in revolutionizing messages vital to our generation will live on much longer. These films reflected and inspired vital change, some of which have already made large strides, within our society.
The Oscars are live Sunday, February 24 on ABC at 8/7 central.
COVER PHOTO: Hollywood Reporter