The Oscars are doing their best to become The Golden Globes, another meaningless award to Hollywood egoism and self-importance. Nothing says it more than this year’s flap–for the second year in a row–over the lack of minorities among Oscar nominees. Talk about self-entitlement.
But first, let’s start with the Golden Globes. They’re doled out every year by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), a sketchy group with a long, tainted history.
The HFPA pretty much decimated whatever shred of credibility this over-hyped, non-important-except-to-themselves group had by tossing “The Martian” into the Best Musical/Comedy category this year.
The move cemented the HFPA’s reputation as a group that’s not only inconsequential but also rife with fraud.
We definitely don’t need another example of industry insiders so hell bent on getting what they want, they blissfully ignore the fact the entire movie-going public is going to call them on their shit.
Surely, the high-minded National Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences would never pull the same stunt with the Oscars, right? Not so fast.
Oscars host Chris Rock pointed out the obvious in a recent tweet. He called the Oscars the “White BET Awards,” after the Black Entertainment Network’s awards to minority actors.
That touched off a social media storm and threw a harsh spotlight on the Academy’s bigotry and favoritism. Some, even pressured Rock to step down in protest. A number of African-American artists like Spike Lee have vowed to boycott the event.
Next time, The Academy may want to vet its comedians first, perhaps with a standard market research panel. That way it will know whether it’s choice to host will backfire on them just days before the event.
You may recall, last year the Oscarssowhite hash tag was the focus of many who felt that Hollywood’s biggest night demonstrated clear bias when it comes to black actors.
But, what do you expect? Ninety-four percent of the 6,000-member Academy is white. That’s like a chicken farmer complaining he’s sick of eating eggs every day.
Personally, I agree with the fact black actors should’ve been nominated this year. Will Smith, for one. His performance in “Concussion” was simply awesome.
You could make the argument for Micheal B. Jordan in “Creed,” as well.
Although a Best Picture nomination for the movie would be a stretch, I at least managed to watch “Creed” from start to finish. Best Picture nominee “Bridge of Spies” lost me halfway through due to sheer boredom.
Which brings up another interesting point: Did a mundane, lackluster flick like “Bridge of Spies” get nominated for Best Picture due to its Hollywood establishment, heavyweight white actor and director, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg?
Or, was it based on their far-reaching political influence? One thing’s for sure, it certainly wasn’t based on the quality of the film.
While I get the well-documented frustration over the lack of black nominees, the answer is not for Academy president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs to nominate a bunch of African-American producers and actors just because they’re black. The obvious first step is to “switch the chickens.”
This may sound like a radical concept, but if there’s nothing but white nominees, and there’s nothing but white Academy members, perhaps adding more black Academy members might be a good start.
And, while we’re at it, how about making some of them female? At the moment, The Academy’s roster looks like roll call at the restricted country club down the street–almost all white and almost all men.
I was talking with a friend of mine about the Oscar mess, and she thinks that it’s “racial card overkill, as usual.” Plenty of black actors have been nominated over the years, she notes.
To me, personally, the whole race thing is silly. Not that we don’t live in a country with plenty of idiots–and many powerful ones at that–who think flying the Confederate flag in 2016 is a good idea.
It’s just sad that so many of us out here, regardless of merit, will use the black/white, or gay/straight, or Republican/Democrat divide to forward our own twisted agenda. In the process, we achieve the exact opposite of our supposed goal–bridging the gap between us.
David Fagin is a New York writer, producer and musician. His resume boasts an incredibly diverse range of contributions, from top news sites such as Salon, AOL News, Yahoo and The Huffington Post to a wide-range of humorous entities such as The Onion, The Muppets, Comedy Central, Dennis Miller, and Howard Stern. He is fascinated by technology and social media and the seemingly love/hate relationship we have with the changing world. He is also a food snob.
While it’s a good excuse for articles like this, and many more, to feed the voracious appetite of our buzz-hungry news cycle, how can anyone possibly say with certainty that the lack of black actor nominations is an intentional conspiracy.
Where’s the proof?
Where are the “black Benghazi emails?” If you show me those, then you have my full support. If, like Bill Cosby, you have 50 white Academy members come forward and say they were pressured to vote white, then you have my full support.
In the end, this year’s Oscars may go down as the equivalent of of the infamous 31st Grammy Awards in 1989. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) introduced the Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Performance Award that year.
Then it gave it to Jethro Tull’s album Crest of a Knave instead of the heavy (no pun intended, well maybe) favorite And Justice for All by Metallica. Even, Tull frontman Ian Anderson said they weren’t a hard rock/heavy metal group.
But, honestly, none of this matters, anyway. “The Revenant” is going to sweep the night. And, while we’re at it, where is the nomination for the Indian (ahem) Native American guy? He was great.
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