The 88th annual Academy awards are right around the corner. We all know about them; we all hear about them endlessly. The be all, end all of Hollywood awards, they are. I personally gave up on the Oscars years ago. I find them to be dreadfully boring. What speaks to me about cinema as an art is not how many accolades those pieces receive from “The Institution”, but whether it speaks to me on a personal level. Did I wake up thinking about a film the day after I’ve watched it? Did I feel the need to tell others about it? Did it do something for my understanding of a situation or a group of people or a happening in history? There are many ways in which I gauge the success of a film- none of which have anything to do with a beautiful gold statuette or a group of rich, entitled white people golf-clapping for it. Ai??
I think there’s merit in the Oscars for the select few who get to be involved. It is a valid way to recognize hard work amongst a very exclusive, very tight knit group of colleagues. But that’s all it is.
Seeing mainstream representation of who we are and what we love is important. It isnai??i??t that movies that represent a wider population arenai??i??t made, itai??i??s that they arenai??i??t promoted and commended by the very institution weai??i??ve deemed the Holy Grail of Hollywood.
We canai??i??t discuss the Oscars without, well, #OscarsSoWhite. Iai??i??ve spoken with many different people about this- some who absolutely love the Oscars, and some who couldnai??i??t care less about the show. One friend brought up the idea that boycotting is simply refusing to go, not making a positive change towards education or enlightenment, especially with something as trivial as an awards show. Perhaps boycotting is only a first step. Why should a bunch of black people attend an awards show and sit in the audience so they can applaud the same fifty white people who keep winning awards they worked just as hard to get, too? Perhaps if theyai??i??re missing from the audience en mass, white people will get a clue.
Since the Oscars were established eighty seven years ago, forty-four nominees have been African American. Forty Four out of two thousand, nine hundred and forty-seven. Hattie McDaniel was the first African American to win an Oscar for her role as Mammy in Gone With the Wind in 1939. Another win for an African American didnai??i??t follow until Sidney Poitier in 1963 for his role as Homer Smith in Lillies of the Field. Of the forty four nominations, there are only twelve total wins for African Americans in the last eighty seven years. Asians weigh in with over one hundred nominations, and latinos around 140. Maybe 15-20% of Oscar nominees arenai??i??t white? And thatai??i??s a generous estimation. The Oscars are an institution weai??i??ve allowed to dictate what is deservingAi??of respect, both domestic and foreign, in the film industry. By largely excluding non-whites in categories other than foreign films, etc. we form the stigma that what is not white is not worthy. Yes, at first glance itai??i??s only an institution specifically for the art of movie making. But the arts, especially film, inform so much of our lives and popular opinions and the conversations we have about culture. The Oscars matter by proxy because theyai??i??re popular. The Oscars matter in validating acceptance in mainstream society. The Oscars have fallen short in the category of fair representation in horrifying ways.
In the wake of a threatened boycott by world renowned African American actors and an outcry from the public, the academy has changed its rules. Gone are the days of lifetime voting rights, and the academy declared that it would double its push for diversity. A small victory? Perhaps. Weai??i??ll see what the 89th Oscars list of nominees brings with it in 2017. celebrex no rx, order clomid.
Black lives matter. Weai??i??ve all experienced the outcry first hand this year as weai??i??ve watched black children and innocent people be slaughtered by the police. Weai??i??ve gone the rounds with ai???enter nationality hereai??? lives matter in this country time and time again. Displaced native Americans, locked in disease and famine as new settlers invade, Japanese citizens locked in internment camps, states refusing Syrian refugees, Muslims being targeted in airport and border searches. Not only do all of these lives matter, the fair and positive representation of these lives on the big screen matters. We all have a right to see ourselves represented well in our media, in the our news, in our entertainment, in the spaces that make up the larger conversation about our lives. These sources of expression and art inform how we look at ourselves and others. They inform our self esteem, our outlook on our own situations, the landscape of the country we live in. If the Oscars is going to survive as a relevant and important institution, the academy has got to get with the times. We cannot continue to represent one homogeneous group and call it sophistication or culture. We have to move away from this streamlined, restrictive model of what is worthy of representation in this country. Perhaps the academyAi??ought to disband altogether. If movies were made for the sake of art again, and not to enter into the mad dash that is Chasing The Oscar, perhaps we wouldnai??i??t have reason for talented individuals like Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith to stay home while their colleagues are dressed to the nines, basking in their own ignorance and privilege. If we werenai??i??t all chasing the trophy, perhaps weai??i??d listen more to the conversations we create with our art. Perhaps weai??i??d all be just a little bit closer to one another, and to harmony.
Archived Ai??The Laughing Lesbian 2017