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Opening monologue: Academy Awards 2018

Opening monologue from the Academy Awards episode of The Saturday Night Special on WGN Radio: Listen to full show >>

The nominees for the 90th Academy Awards were announced this week, launching the latest round of conversations in and about the entertainment industry.

The first Academy Awards ceremony in 1929, was held at a private dinner at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood with an audience of less than 300 people. Tickets were $5, or just under $100 bucks in 2018 dollars) and fifteen awards were given, honoring artists, directors and other participants in the film industry of the time. The ceremony ran for 15 minutes.

Now, we make a season out of these long broadcasts that include the awards, the red carpet, the pre-red carpet speculation and post-show analysis and so on. But, this year, awards season comes in an interesting time in the entertainment industry, a time of rethinking longstanding structures and gatekeepers, a time of great change.

Interesting, for our Oscars show last year, I said in the opening monologue: “perhaps Hollywood itself, when dissected, is really all a microcosm of social issues far reaching, perhaps issues that are bigger than we are often willing to consider.” Indeed, how hauntingly true that has been proven in the year since, though it was said before the current iteration of the MeToo movement was even a thing.

But, it’s also a time in which large tech giants are big players in the entertainment space, with Netflix and Hulu and Amazon becoming important figures in terms of film festivals and in distribution and consumer methods, and with media creators taking a more direct role in their work.

So, while there is a lot of change in the entertainment industry, it exists in its simplest form, to tell stories and entertain us, to transport us to times and places around the universe. And there’s a lot to talk about there. In addition to the films themselves, tonight, we’ll also explore conversations around films on our minds this year, what awards really represent, and why conversations about representation in film and and behind the scenes really matters.

That’s all coming up tonight on the Saturday Night Special. We’ll be right back to get the conversation underway.

Listen to full show >>