1/19/16

Oscars . . .

There has been much discussion (some of which was mocking in tone and reaction) around this year's crop of Academy Award nominees and their lack of diversity (100% white nominees in the individual category for a second year in a row).

Now I'll be the FIRST one to clarify that the Oscars are not real life and they are in no way to be taken seriously or relevant in the world itself (simmer down, pop culture lovers - you are NOT right to say they are relevant or important - they are gold statues that are rewarded based on marketing, PR, and occasional trickery they are not indicators of us as a society) but I'm also the FIRST to admit that they are a symptom of a much larger problem in this country and in our society: inclusion is a concept vs. a reality.

Some stats (if Wikipedia can even be trusted at all) that are worthy of note as you consider the dearth of diversity in the individual Oscar categories (director, actor, actress, supporting actor, supporting actress).

Black:

Best Actor (20 Nominations, 4 Wins (20%))
Best Actress (10 Nominations, 1 Win (10%))
Best Supporting Actor (17 Nominations, 4 Wins (22%))
Best Supporting Actress (19 Nominations, 6 Wins (30%))
Best Director (3 Nominations, 0 Wins (0%))

Asian:

Best Actor (3 Nominations, 2 Wins (66%))
Best Actress (1 Nomination, 0 Wins (0%))
Best Supporting Actor (7 Nominations, 1 Win (15%))
Best Supporting Actress (6 Nominations, 1 Win (18%))
Best Director (6 Nominations, 2 Wins (34%))

Hispanic/Latino:

Best Actor (1 Nomination, 0 Wins (0%))
Best Actress (4 Nominations, 2 Wins (50%))
Best Supporting Actor (1 Nomination, 0 Wins (0%))
Best Supporting Actress (0 Nominations, 0 Wins (0%))
Best Director (0 Nominations, 0 Wins (0%))

Total Minorities:

Best Actor (24 (5%) Nominations, 6 Wins (7%) out of 440 Total Nominees and 88 Total Wins)
Best Actress (15:440 (3%) Nominations, 3:88 (3%) Wins)
Best Supporting Actor (25:440 (5%) Nominations, 5:88 (3%) Wins)
Best Supporting Actress (25:440 (5%) Nominations, 7:88 (8%) Wins)
Best Director (9:440 (2%) Nominations, 2:88 (3%) Wins)

AVERAGES (98:2,200 (4%) Nominations, 23:440 (5%) Wins)

So, basically, the Academy (with its own membership ranging from 3% to 23% - depending on what source you chose to believe) has a long, long history of under recognizing and under-rewarding anyone other than white actors and actresses. NOW if you were to rank overweight talent or handicapped/disabled talent or Muslim talent, etc. you'd be equally stark to see inclusion but that doesn't negate the cries for more diversity . . . it enhances them.

I'll say this - movies are horrible. Of the top 50 grossing films of 2015 22 of them were sequels, six were reboots, and an additional seven to nine are likely to become "franchise properties". Looking at the next 50 makes the problem even worse. While I HATE franchises as a general rule of thumb the reason that is relevant here is that the Hollywood system is now based entirely on making "safe" (almost-guaranteed to make money) so if the 37 films that are part of a "franchise" in the top 50 in 2015 didn't star or involve minority talent the likelihood of them incorporating said talent is fairly small (more over - and to be clear - these movies don't exactly get lots of Oscar nods anyway).

The issue is this . . . for minority talent to win they must get nominated and to get nominated they must work on films that are worthy of the honors (or alleged honor) and that means studios must fund and "green light" them and Americans have to go see them (you see the loop, right?). If Fast 7 (a very diverse cast, for the record) can't get a single nod even for the first-ever-rap-song-in-a-movie-that-will-make-you-cry than Will Smith shouldn't get one for just showing up in a movie about concussions that the NFL and every sports journalist and outlet in America took umbrage with and told everyone how horrible it was for no apparent reason (speaking of a money making machine that is disconnected from reality and no one cares - how about FOOTBALL?).

I blame the Academy but I, sooner, blame its members for not insisting on better projects and opportunities that might turn in to nominations and wins later. And I DO hope people protest the awards - if only because they are, well, stupid.