Oscar winner John Irving (‘The Cider House Rules’) urges this year’s Academy Awards to get political

“What is needed from Hollywood now is more ‘outright bias,'” says John Irving in a guest column for the Hollywood Reporter on February 20. Irving is an author and screenwriter who won Best Adapted Screenplay 17 years ago for “The Cider House Rules” (1999), which was based on his own novel. The film deals with abortion rights, and Irving remembers thanking Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Rights Action League in his acceptance speech. Now, under President Donald Trump, Irving urges the Oscars to be unapologetically political.

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Trump has inspired widespread protests and outrage over his sexism, his hard-line positions against immigrants and Muslims, and his close ties to white nationalists like his chief strategist Steve Bannon, so now is not the time to stay silent according to the decorated author. And thus far many have spoken up at award shows this season, from Meryl Streep at the Golden Globes, to a slew of celebs at the SAG Awards, to A Tribe Called Quest in their Grammy Awards performance.

And while Irving doesn’t want to force a political speech from anyone who isn’t so inclined, he says, “Whatever the protocol for Oscar acceptance speeches is, or was, the creative community has an obligation: to be intolerant of intolerance … In our community, tolerance of intolerance is unacceptable. President Trump’s intolerance is glaring. Trump isn’t worrying about presidential protocol.”

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Be sure to make your Oscar predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films are faring in our Oscar odds. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before winners are announced on February 26 at 5:00 pm PT/8:00 pm ET. And join in the fierce debate over the Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.

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