Entertainment & Arts

Oscars 2017: Sartorial protests on the Hollywood stage

Actor Ruth Negga Image copyright Christopher Polk / Getty Images
Image caption Best actress nominee Ruth Negga wearing a blue ribbon on the red carpet in Los Angeles.

For celebrities and film-makers protesting against recent American political decisions, what bigger stage is there than an awards ceremony watched by millions around the world?

Actors and directors used the red carpet at the Oscars in Los Angeles to broadcast their views on President Trump's temporary travel ban on immigrants from seven Muslim majority countries, issued in January.

US courts have blocked the ban but the Trump administration is preparing a new executive order.

Some stars pinned their politics to their (presumably quite expensive) sleeves and dresses.

Image copyright Kevin Winter / Getty Images)
Image caption Writer and director Barry Jenkins wearing a blue ribbon as he accepts the award for best picture for Moonlight alongside actors Jaden Piner (centre) and Alex R Hibbert (right).

Blue ribbons with the initials ACLU were seen adorning the outfits of several Oscar nominees.

ACLU stands for American Civil Liberties Union - the civil rights organisation that was the first to successfully challenge President Trump's travel ban in a lawsuit brought to a federal court in New York in January.

Irish Oscar nominee Ruth Negga wore the ribbon on a flowing red Valentino dress.

She was nominated for best actress for playing Mildred Loving in the film Loving which explored the effects of Jim Crow - the legislation that enforced racial segregation in the United States until 1965 - on a mixed-race couple in 1950s Virginia.

Full BBC Entertainment coverage of Oscars 2017

Mildred Loving's marriage in 1958 to white construction worker Richard violated legal prohibitions of mixed-race marriage in the US state.

After being arrested and serving time in prison, Mildred secured the legal representation of an ACLU lawyer and their case eventually led to the Supreme Court ruling in 1967 that the prohibition of interracial marriage was unconstitutional.

Award-winning (eventually) Moonlight writer and director Barry Jenkins also wore the ribbon, as did model Karlie Kloss and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Image copyright Reuters

The ACLU said it was surprised that it had spawned an Oscar fashion trend.

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Director Ava DuVernay took her sartorial protest to the next level by wearing a dress to celebrate the creativity of one Muslim majority country - Lebanon.

She wore an embroidered gown made by Beirut-based fashion house Ashi Studio in what she said was "a small sign of solidarity".

DuVernay directed the critically-acclaimed film Selma, which was the subject of another Oscars controversy in 2015 when the academy was criticised for failing to nominate DuVernay and the black lead actor David Oyelowo.

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Ava DuVernay tweeted that she wore dress made by Ashi Studio in Lebanon.

Other stars protested with their feet.

One Iranian director condemned the travel ban as "inhumane" after he boycotted the ceremony altogether.

Asghar Farhadi, who won the award for best foreign film for a second time, sent two Iranian-American representatives to pick up his award for film The Salesmen.

They were not just any representatives - one was female Nasa scientist and Mars explorer Anousheh Ansari who read his acceptance speech.

His statement read: "My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of the other six nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the US."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Iranian-born US engineer and astronaut Anousheh Ansari read out Farhadi's statement

A Syrian cinematographer behind the Oscar-winning documentary White Helmets was blocked from attending the ceremony at the last minute.

Twenty one-year-old Khaled Khatib, who filmed much of the footage in the documentary that follows the lives of civilian rescue workers called the White Helmets in Syria, had obtained a visa to enter the US but was prevented at Istanbul airport from travelling.

He still followed the Oscars though. As the ceremony unfolded, Khatib tweeted a picture of a child he said was the victim of a chlorine gas attack by Syrian government forces in a rebel-held part of the Damascus suburb of Harasta on Sunday.

State media reported that "terrorist groups" had targeted residential areas of Harasta with a number of rockets, injuring 10 people, but did not mention a chemical attack.

Trump's executive order was not the only immigration policy which sparked protests.

Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal, who last year appeared in American comedy show Stephen Colbert as a Hispanic man who supported the wall, spoke out against the President's plan for a border wall between the US and Mexico.

"As a Mexican, as a Latin American, as a migrant worker, as a human being, I'm against any form of wall that separates us," stated Bernal as he was presenting the award for best animated feature film.

By Georgina Rannard, UGC and Social news

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