Actor Javier Bardem took a thinly-veiled poke at President Donald Trump and his ongoing battle to obtain funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border as he presented the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film Sunday night, according to a piece in The Daily Mail. Speaking in Spanish, the native of the Canary Islands in Spain affirmed for the rapturous audience that attempts to exclude people will always be overcome.
“There are no borders or walls that can restrain ingenuity and talent,” Bardem said to thunderous applause.
The star of such films as Skyfall and an Oscar winner in his own right for 2008’s No Country For Old Men, Bardem presented with Angela Bassett, awarding the Best Foreign Language Film statuette to Roma. That film made a huge impact this year with its lush retelling of director Alfonso Cuaron’s childhood experiences growing up in Mexico City in the 1970s and its empathetic view of low middle-class life there.
“In any region of any country of any continent, there are always great stories that move us. And tonight we celebrate the excellence and importance of the cultures and languages of different countries.”
“Claro que si!” chimed in Bassett, which translates to an emphatic “of course!”
The night overall was a celebration of diversity and an affirmation that America and thus the stories Hollywood tells must continue to be multi-ethnic, diverse, and not confined to a single gender or racial point of view. In his Best Actor acceptance speech, Rami Malek pointed out that he is the son of first-generation Egyptian immigrants. And the Academy awarded the first female director of a Pixar short, Chinese-Canadian Domee Shi, the statuette for Best Animated Short for her film Bao.
“To all the nerdy girls out there who hide behind their sketchbooks, don’t be afraid to tell your stories to the world,” said Shi as she accepted the award.
Her quirky, adorable film depicts a Chinese mother suffering from empty-nest syndrome who discovers a dumpling that comes to life, giving her a second chance at motherhood.
But Bardem’s swipe at the president’s immigration policy wasn’t the only broadside to be launched from the Oscar stage at the Dolby Theater. Following a bombastic performance by the surviving members of Queen fronted by Adam Lambert to start the show, Maya Rudolph had a few choice words that would set the tone for the evening.
“Just a quick update… in case you’re confused, there is no host tonight, no popular Oscar category, and Mexico is not paying for the wall,” the Saturday Night Live and Bridesmaids star said.