My Thoughts on #OscarsSoWhite (and the Academy in general)
Oscar Nominations were announced this morning and if you aren’t new to this it was no surprise that for the second year in a row it was an #Oscarssowhite situation. Now, while I am not surprised, it does always make me give it some thought about why the Oscars seem to lack people of color in their ballots.
Now before I continue, I have to make my annual declaration of how while the Oscars are the most prestigious acting award show, it is my least favorite. The show itself is boring and the whole thing is one long “who campaigned best” and basically borders on being a popularity contest (ah-mean was Julia Roberts really the best actress the year she won for Erin Brockovich?). I’m always vocal about how I hate how critics band together and choose who the “chosen ones” will be and runaway with it. This leads to deserving movies and performances left out in the cold and the same names rotated over and over. It’s like they’ve been threatened, if they veer off course. But I digress.
Okay so #oscarssowhite. First of all, if you are a black person reading this, and are irritated that a person of color was not nominated. When you think of snubbed people of color (be honest), do you think of all varied minorities or do you just think of black people? I speak for myself when I say I only think of black people (and for the rest of this post that’s mostly the snubbed persons I am referring to). I ask this question because last I knew of the Oscar voters it was: 94% white, 76% men and an average age of 63. Now if you are like me (a black woman) and only thought of black people – this is exactly how this body thinks. They think of their own people first and everything else is an after thought or a non thought infact. They don’t look beyond what they know and overlook good up and comers and non-traditional movies (“Dope” or “Straight Outta Compton” anyone?) This is definitely not an excuse but more of a problem that leads to my next point.
#oscarssowhite is not just an Oscar issue, it is a Hollywood issue that is showing its ass via award shows. A lot of people are of the opinion that not a lot of minority roles warranted a nomination. This may be so but the few that did still pale in numbers compared to their white counterparts and this is largely because there just aren’t that many meaty roles for them. Last year, each time a movie with a predominantly black cast did well at the box office you could practically read the surprise dripping from the headlines. Add that to the success of Empire and Blackish and the age old excuse of “black don’t sell” is old. They just have to do better and be more inclusive.
One thing that irks me is when nominations or winners are announced and black people get mad and suddenly scream “he\she was robbed!” meanwhile they haven’t seen any other contenders in the category. Last year, I saw a rant about David Oyelowo being snubbed followed by “granted I haven’t seen any of the other nominees”…err whut? How can you make a point without all the facts? I think it’s insulting to want a black person to be nominated or win just for being black vs. being deserving of it. If I am gonna rail against someone being snubbed it’ll be because they were actually great in it.
Speaking of snubs, who was “snubbed”? If I had to pick black actors that should have been considered they’ll be:
- Jada Pinkett-Smith: Hear me out. In my review for Magic Mike here, I mentioned how I felt Matthew McConaughey deserved a nomination as Dallas in the first installment and how I felt Jada was a worthy replacement. A gripe I have with the Academy is that they feel a movie has to be deep and tedious and boring to warrant a good performance and that is not true. Jada killed in this role and should have been considered.
- Gugu Mbatha-Raw: So people have been mentioning Will Smith as a snub but not I. I didn’t like his performance in Concussion at all, actually thought he was miscast and it wasn’t about the accent. Now Gugu as his wife on the other hand, gave such a subtle, nuanced performance as his wife that reminded me of Carmen Ejogo’s performance in “Selma” (another snub)
- Abraham Attah: I’m okay with Idris Elba not being nominated but it’s quite unfortunate that what he did in Beasts of No Nation was not recognized. That was good work.
- Shameik Moore: If you have seen “Dope” then I dare you to disagree with me. He did a great job as Malcolm in this underappreciated movie.
- Jason Mitchell: I thought the movie was just okay, not sure I consider it being shut out a snub but Jason Mitchell really brought Eazy-E to life in “Straight Outta Compton”
I am yet to see “Creed” so I don’t know if the Michael B Jordan snub cries are valid but if it was anything like Fruitvale Station (which I thought he was just okay in) then maybe it wasn’t valid. Even though I haven’t seen it, for all the good reviews I have heard maybe Ryan Coogler was snubbed?
Anyways, we can only hope for better in the future but at the rate it’s going it doesn’t seem like the Academy cares about being completely white washed. Let’s just hope that this doesn’t bleed into Year 3.
What do you guys think? Who would you have considered for a nomination? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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