Do Political Statements At Awards Show Actually Make A Difference?

With the 2017 Oscars coming up this weekend, one question on many people’s minds is: Will we have another ‘Meryl Streep Moment?’ This is referring to the hot fire she spat at this year’s Golden Globes in a speech that criticized the then-president-elect Donald Trump. Melissa McCarthy impersonator Sean Spicer has said that Trump won’t be holding his breath over another possible moment, but it’s still very probable that another award winner or even host Jimmy Kimmel will use that stage to speak out on what they believe in.

But the deeper question is: Do those political statements make a real difference?

The Fandemonium video above explores the celebrity activists that used their wins as platforms to speak to America and the aftermath of their speeches. Sure, some award winners don’t even have the time to thank all the people they want to, but others turn those two minutes where everyone is listening into a very large soapbox. Marlon Brando was one of the first to do so by not showing up to the 1973 Oscars and sending Native American activist Sacheen Littlefeather to voice concerns over the treatment of Native Indians in the film industry. Brando faced boos and backlash for his statement, but he was able to bring the issue to the attention of 40 million attentive viewers. Since then, social causes like anti-war sentiment and racial diversity have been addressed by winners. Leonardo DiCaprio’s speech on climate change even managed to increase tweets about the issue by 636% the day after.

If celebrities keep using awards shows to tackle the injustices they see in the world, is it possible for them to actually spark change?