On the all-white Oscar nominations (Oscar vs. Selma)



(Oscar vs. Selma)

Much has been said about articles such as this (http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/oscars/oscars-2015-allwhite-nominations-raise-eyebrows-as-selma-star-david-oyelowo-and-director-ava-duvernay-overlooked-9981029.html) that criticize the Academy’s decisions as harmful to the diversity of talent that can be found in the film industry — a diversity marked with people of all color. The major snubs this year is loaded with issues of race and/or sex in popular culture. I’ll be playing devil’s advocate here just to see what people think and to present a broader perspective on this controversy (since I find the all-white list of nominees suspicious too).

I just saw Selma last night and for the record I think David Oyelowo deserves the nomination for his performance as Martin Luther King. Ava DuVernay’s directing also was worth the nomination. This is just me contemplating on the possible reasons for the Academy’s all-white nominations this year.

One possible explanation for the lack of diversity in this year’s Oscars might be the Academy’s efforts to remind everyone of their standards. Standards that aren’t swayed by any issues on race or sex. Standards based solely on each film’s and each actor’s performance. And has nothing to do with their color. I mean they were accused last year of giving way to white guilt after having chosen 12 Years a Slave as best picture (although I’m not asserting that this is the only reason why it won). So I guess this may be a response to the tokenism people have accused them of. Maybe what they’re saying is “it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white or anything else, we look at how good your performance was in that film and how good the film was. If adhering to those standards means having an all-white list of nominees then so be it.” That is one possibility that I wanted to put out there.

On that note, I  would like to quote this 2012 LA Time article entitled “Unmasking the Academy: Oscar voters overwhelmingly white, male.” “Oscar voters are nearly 94% Caucasian and 77% male, The Times found. Blacks are about 2% of the academy, and Latinos are less than 2%.”  So okay it is definitely suspicious. But yeah food for thought. Maybe that’s what they’re doing (ensuring the Academy is colorblind with regard to its standards). Maybe. Maybe not. It’s worth considering to get a broader perspective on things but  I can’t disagree with anyone who disagrees with this. There is evidence of the Academy’s bias not only in terms of race but also in genres. In its decades-long history, the Academy has yet to award a sci-fi film Best Picture. Clearly the Academy is not as objective as we would like but no award giving body is ever 100% unbiased. It’s all a matter of minimizing this bias and adhering to standards. Whether or not the Academy took a step forward or back in ensuring this with its controversial decisions this year, I’ll leave it up to the viewers.


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