The glamorous dresses, endless criticism and most of all those greatly desired golden statues could only mean one thing … the Academy Awards have once again come and gone.

This years awards included a few firsts ranging from Daniel Day-Lewis winning his third Best Actor Oscar and Michelle Obama presenting the award for Best Picture to "Argo." However, there were many similarities to past shows including the ungodly amount of time it takes to present the three primary awards (Best Picture, Actor and Actress in a Leading Role) and the mediocre jokes made by the ceremony’s host, Seth Macfarlane. To be honest, there were quite a few moments where it seemed as though this year’s awards were simply about making statements instead of truly honoring individuals who have developed the entertainment industry.

First of all, "Life of Pi" ended up being the biggest winner of the night taking home four of the eleven awards it was nominated for. Lincoln failed to receive some of the well-deserved attention and took home only two awards, less than both Argo and Les Misérables. Anne Hathaway and Jennifer Lawrence both walked away winning their first awards; however, Lawrence’s “You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell," proved to be significantly less classy than the glamorous dress she was wearing. No matter what Lawrence did though, it would have been difficult to upstage Real Housewives’ of Beverly Hills Brandi Glanville’s revealing Oscar’s dress.

Although each of these moments at the 85th Annual Academy Awards was quite memorable, the most noticeable moment was the First Lady presenting an award.

This year’s awards were clearly filled with political notions with "Argo," "Lincoln," "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Django Unchained" all nominated for Best Picture. I will admit, I was hoping that for the most part this year’s ceremony would be void of politics. There of course is a very important time and place for politics, and in my opinion an awards show honoring entertainers does not need to be one of those places. Michelle Obama’s appearances on TV shows have become quite common, as the line between politics and entertainment becomes increasingly blurry.

Personal political opinions aside, when did it become necessary for politicians to intertwine themselves with the entertainment industry? No longer do politicians simply write books or articles about their experiences; now they appear on talk shows acting more and more like celebrities craving attention.

Politics is a serious topic, it can have monumental effects on the daily lives of the majority of U.S. citizens; entertainment is a pleasure filled escape from the stressors and serious topics of life. Both arenas play crucial roles in the lives of individuals, but has our country truly come down to politicians appearing on "Oprah" and "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon?" Relating to the public on a personal level is one thing, but relating to the public through late night appearances laughing it up with talk show hosts sends the wrong kind of message regarding American politics. The First Lady’s presentation Sunday night at the Academy Awards was just another example of American politics blending too heavily with the entertainment industry. Very few people would want to see Lawrence or Jackman running the White House, so why should we be watching the First Lady presenting an entertainment award?

Next year the long acceptance speeches and golden statues are sure to return, but hopefully the 86th annual Academy Awards will focus less on present politics and making statements. Perhaps the focus will instead be on the talented individuals in the entertainment industry opposed to flashy reality TV stars and political figures. 

— Samantha Warchol is a sophomore in psychology. She can be reached at swarchol@utk.edu.