LOS ANGELES – Hollywood seized the microphone at Sunday’s Oscars and wasn’t shy about its passions, sprinkling political moments throughout a show that included anti-gun and pro-immigration references, as well as mocking the president’s Twitter habits.
Rapper Common singled out the National Rifle Association, immigrants, women’s rights and the movement to prevent gun violence during a performance of his Oscar-nominated song.
His rap led into Andra Day’s singing of “Stand Up for Something,” co-written with Diane Warren for the movie “Marshall.”
Common, an Oscar winner in 2015, also took aim at President Donald Trump.
“These days we dance between love and hate,” he rapped on Sunday night. “A president that chose with hate, he don’t control our fate. Because God is great, when they go low we stay in the heights. I stand for peace, love and women’s rights.”
The performance began with Common, dressed entirely in black, in the spotlight speaking lyrics before giving way to Day.
“Tell the NRA they in God’s way, and to the people of Parkland we say Ase,” Common rapped, referencing the recent mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. Ase is a West African philosophy that means to make things happen and produce change.
He also offered up “sentiments of love for the people from “Africa, Haiti to Puerto Rico.”
Common and Day were joined onstage by 10 men and women, including Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors; #MeToo movement founder Tarana Burke; 8-year-old Syrian refugee Bana Alabed; 87-year-old Delores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America; and Nicole Hockley, mother of Dylan Hockley, who was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting.
The song later lost in the original song category to “Remember Me” from “Coco.”
During his show-opening monologue, host Jimmy Kimmel aimed some barbs toward the nation’s capital.
Noting the big box office returns for the African-American actor-led “Black Panther,” Kimmel cited the smaller best-picture nominee “Call Me By Your Name,” a gay coming-of-age film.
“We don’t make films like ‘Call Me By Your Name’ to make money,” he said. “We make them to upset Mike Pence.”
He also noted that Lupita Nyong’o was born in Mexico and raised in Kenya. “Let the tweetstorm from the president’s toilet begin!” Kimmel said.
Kimmel kept up the political jabs before introducing the presenters for documentary feature.
“Tonight’s nominated documentaries show us that where there is darkness, there is also hope,” he said. “Except at the White House. Hope quit on Wednesday.”
White House communications director Hope Hicks, a close confidante of Trump, abruptly resigned.
After “Icarus,” the documentary that explored doping in sports, especially in Russia, won the Oscar, Kimmel quipped: “Now at least we know Putin didn’t rig this competition, right?”