Karen Rupert Toliver and Matthew A. Cherry accept the Animated Short Film award for ‘Hair Love’ onstage during the 92nd Annual Academy Awards on February 09, 2020 in Hollywood, California.
Karen Rupert Toliver and Matthew A. Cherry accept the Animated Short Film award for ‘Hair Love’ onstage during the 92nd Annual Academy Awards on February 09, 2020 in Hollywood, California.
Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty Images)

It’s the biggest (and whitest) night of film once again and we’re here to give you the scoop.

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The 92nd Academy Awards marks the conclusion of awards season (but not really because there are at least two big award ceremonies I’ll be attending later this month as Los Angeles loves to pat itself on the back) and it has been quite a week. We made it!

Janelle Monáe welcomed us to the neighborhood with an interactive performance at the ceremony, as well as appearing in a commercial for The 1619 Project: How Slavery Shaped America.

Janelle Monae performs at the 92nd Academy Awards/ABC (YouTube)

Though there was no host this year once again, former hosts Steve Martin and Chris Rock decided to fill in the gap for a moment.

“Mahershala has two Oscars! You know what that means when the cops pull him over? NOTHING!” Rock quipped. Questlove served as the resident DJ because, why not get that Academy bag?

Let’s get to the black-ass winners.

Winners

Did you hear that? That was me screaming from the press room as Matthew A. Cherry and Karen Rupert Toliver took home the Oscar for Hair Love in the Best Animated Short category. Toliver became the first black woman to win in that category, with Kobe Bryant being the first African-American to win in the category, period.

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“We want to normalize black hair,” Toliver said during the acceptance speech, while Cherry mentioned the importance of the Crown Act, which aims to ban race-based hair discrimination.

Backstage, I got to tell Cherry and Toliver how much we were rooting for them. Since so many black girls saw themselves in Hair Love, so many black girls and boys who want to be animators will now see themselves in them, as Oscar winners. As such, I asked Cherry and Toliver what would they say to those little future animators.

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“This film was for you,” Cherry told The Root. “All throughout the years, there haven’t been charactersspecifically in animation that look like you. This film was made for you to see yourself. We have a book that is out in stores as well, and I think the combination of the short and the book has really just been great. We’ve been seeing the real-life change and the impact, kids reading the book in class, seeing the book in Target and saying, ‘That’s me.’ So, it just means the world. And there is space for you in animation, and hopefully, this win will help to propel the next generation of diverse people and people of color into that world.

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“I’ll just hop on to say Matthew is a storyteller,” Toliver added. “He came from live-action. He didn’t have an animation background, but he had a story to tell, and that is what animation is: [it’s] like any other medium [and] is just a place to tell a story. So for those little girls or boys, if they have a story to tell, come on. I’m ready for you.”

American Factory, produced by Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground won the Documentary Feature Oscar.

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Cynthia Erivo performed a rousing rendition of the Oscar-nominated song “Stand Up.” Oh, and if you’re looking for more black folks, the 92nd Academy Award music director, Rickey Minor is black!

That’s all folks! ‘Til next awards season...or, as I mentioned above, ‘til the end of this month.

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For the complete list of winners at the 92nd Academy Awards, head to oscars.org.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.

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