And the winner isn't... Black

Spike Lee announced on Martin Luther King’s birthday anniversary last week that he wouldn’t be attending this year’s Academy Awards ceremonies on February 28th, in protest of the sad fact that none of the nominees for a major award were black. An outpouring of encouragement for Lee’s position, including Jada Pinkett Smith also not attending and George Clooney offering support, has put the spirit of the event in jeopardy.

This isn’t the first year that the monochromatic hue of the Oscars has been called into question - it was also an issue last year - but things seem to be getting more serious as criticism mounts about the lack of African-American presence in Hollywood generally, not only at its most overtly dramatic event.

Saturn is in Sagittarius, where he is likely to bring up issues of ethnicity (or, to be more astrologically precise and semantically nebulous, foreigners). He has been doing so on a global scale, with immigration a hot topic in both the United States and Europe. With Neptune in Pisces sending refugees to the Western world, the response has been polarized between compassion and anxieties.

While Saturn in Sagittarius brings up the topic of ethnicity everywhere, it is especially salient in the U.S., and particularly at this time, as Saturn sails over the ascendant of the country (Sibley chart). Polarization is becoming more extreme, and on matters far more important than the Oscars - the ongoing cascade of police shootings of black people and the lack of prosecution for them, and the question of accepting Syrian refugees into the country are just two prominent themes. And of course, Donald Trump wants to build a wall to keep Mexicans south of the border.

Yet we shouldn’t dismiss the significance of the Academy Awards. Besides media being one of our most highly developed economic products and chief exports to the world (Neptune is the most elevated planet, in the 9th house), it is an American cultural institution, a centerpiece on the table of our diverse society. The Oscars are a celebration of that institution, and they have become a tradition, a rite - almost a holiday. They stand back-to-back with the Superbowl, another annual celebration of American culture. Yes, they are commercial and over-hyped, always trying to go beyond themselves, but we shouldn’t hesitate to consider them American cultural ceremonies on that account - on the contrary, with a Sagittarius ascendant we would expect the U.S. to have spectacular sacraments.

This year’s Academy Awards ceremony is scheduled for February 28th at 5:30 p.m., in Hollywood, California. The sun is setting in partile conjunction with Neptune, just three degrees off of the descendant, in Pisces. Chiron conjuncts the south node, opposed by Jupiter in Virgo. With Jupiter as co-ruler of the 7th house, this Oscar ceremony seems to be very much about the other, and with a Pisces/Neptune theme, the other may not be visible.

It is significant that transiting Jupiter and the north node of the moon are less than one degree away from the Pluto’s position at the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King - there is a strong resonance with this point in the American psyche. The ascendant is also in Virgo, the sign that Pluto transited throughout the bulk of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. The moon is in Scorpio, a placement that can dig for truth and act from raw emotions, not necessarily the easiest placement for a celebration.

The chart of this year’s Oscars has the north node/Jupiter combination less than a degree from the U.S. Neptune, in Virgo. However, it may be that Saturn has crossed the U.S. ascendant that is most significant. The Oscars aren’t the only thing in America squeezed by Saturn (with Pluto entering the 2nd house at the same time, the economy is certainly at risk), but we can learn a lot by watching how the Academy Awards react to Saturnian pressures. The themes of inclusion and exclusion, who is ‘in’ and who is ‘out’, has always been contentious in a nation of immigrants. They will certainly be at the Oscars - in part because Spike Lee won’t be there.