In the midst of the water crisis in Flint Michigan, the ongoing violence in Chicago, the growing prison population, and the very real possibility Donald Trump could become president, this country is currently more fascinated by the fact the Oscars are once again heavy on the salt, and EXTREMELY light on the pepper. If you catch my drift. Without being distracted by the real issues that plague this country, I decided to add my two cents to this award debate. I mine as well.
What’s the Problem?
The problem of diversity and inclusion the Academy Awards is currently facing, is one that I believe many of the major award shows are struggling with. Sure the Grammys, the Golden Globes, and heck the MTV music awards nominate more minorities than the Oscars. However, how many of those minorities actually receive the awards they are arguably due? In essence, some celebrities are receiving nominations in vain. Let’s run down a quick list of examples of people of color nominated, but were robbed of their deserving moment. (In the opinion of many anyway.)
- In 1985 and 1986, Phylicia Rashad was nominated for Emmys in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series category for The Cosby Show. (To be fair, she lost in 1986 to Betty White. And who doesn’t love Betty White)
- In 1994, Angela Bassett was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Actress category for What’s Love Got to Do With It.
- In 2004, Kanye West was nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards for The College Dropout.
- In 2014, Kerry Washington was nominated for a Golden Globe in the Best Performance in a Television Series (Drama) category for Scandal.
- In 2015, Beyoncé was nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards for Beyoncé. (The first visual album people!)
And before you think I’m saying all minorities deserve all the awards, know that is simply not true. LOL! I’m just saying that too often, people of color may or may not be nominated for arguably the best performances of the year, and they are forced to swallow the various snubs.
Think about this, you ask minority entertainers to walk your carpets, fill your seats, and perform on your stages, and slap them in the face by not awarding them with the accolades of which they are deserving. I know many people disregard the remarks made by Kanye West these days, but he has a point when he goes on these rants about these major award shows. While I don’t condone of him stealing people’s moment to express his sentiments, I agree with his grievances. Plain and simple:
- Award committees should give credit when credit is due.
- While nominations are great, if minorities are rightfully deserving of the award, give it to them.
- An on another note, Stop Whitewashing Movies. Ancient Egyptians were not White!
We Scream Diversity, but What Should Have Been Nominated?
It’s been stated that the biggest snub of Oscar season was Straight Outta Compton. And I have to agree, that it was deserving of a Best Picture nom. The film was definitely on my top five list for 2015. While I may not be able to pick a break out star from the film for an acting category, the film as a whole was great.
Another snub in my opinion was Michael B. Jordan. His role in Creed was definitely worth being at least nominated. Unless Sally Fields is in the mix, I just don’t tear up that easily. The fact I had a tear come to my eye while watching him on screen was a major feat. (Although, I have complex feelings with my own dad so may be why I was so touched.) Plus, Michael B. was awarded the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Creed. Yeah, I holler foul.
And I can’t forget Beasts of No Nation. As powerful as the film was to many people, the film was not recognized in any form by the Academy. Which is a great slap in the face to the many men and women that worked hard to produce such an A+ quality work of art.
Was diversity worth nominating this year? You bet ya.
Should Minorities Boycott The Oscars?
As much as I like Jada Pinkett Smith, and respect Spike Lee, I’m not sure minorities boycotting the Academy Awards is the right way to achieve diversity here. Think about it, only a hand full of minorities are invited to the ceremony anyway. While I don’t pretend to speak for all of those of the diverse persuasion, when minorities aren’t nominated, many cultural ethnicities aren’t checking for the show. They don’t plan on watching. Heck I know I don’t. Rather watch Real Housewives of Atlanta or Netflix.
In addition, calling for the few minorities who plan on tuning into the show not to watch it, what impact does that have on Chris Rock? It’s not like they ask minorities to host these “white out affairs” every day. If viewership hits a record low, the blame could be put on Chris Rock more so than the Academy’s diversity blunder. And where will that leave the future of black and brown hosts?
Last week panelists of the View apparently suggested that minorities stop going to see movies in an effort to change what projects are made and celebrated in Hollywood. On one hand I want to support this idea, because consumers and buying power historically has been able to get things done, and bring about change. However on the other hand, the movies being nominated are films that many people of color weren’t necessarily checking for in the first place. Heck regardless of race, how many individuals under the age of 60 have even heard of Room or Spotlight? And I mean absolutely no disrespect to those that help to create such projects. I just think many films are made to cater to the “graying” voting members of the Academy.
Perhaps if the composition of the voting members is changed to reflect the younger and more diverse crowds going to see films, then perhaps more diversity will be reflected in Oscar nominations. And as an added bonus, I think more projects will be produce to cater to the evolved voting committee.
Also, minorities should place more stock in the NAACP Image Awards and the Alma Awards. Shows that actually celebrate achievements of other races. Meaning celebrities need to attend, and viewers need to watch.
Do We Want Pity Awards?
Unfortunately, what’s done is done. The nominations have already been handed out for this year. All we can do is hope that some serious and lasting changes come about in the very near future. However with that change, I sincerely hope that next year the Oscars don’t become a pity session for minorities. I don’t want to see nominations flooded with diversity for the sake of having diversity. Especially if the projects and people nominated aren’t worthy of the pat on the back. So NO pity awards.