After two consecutive “racist” Oscar ceremonies the 2017 Academy Awards has fixed all its problems.
When the nominations were announced for the 89th Academy Awards there was an audible gust of relief heard emanating from Dream Land. After the past two years of lily-white nominations, which generated the reactionary hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, the Academy has turned things around. Hollywood isn’t racist anymore!
It’s as ridiculous a claim to make as the entire controversy was itself. Considering that the entire concept of the Oscars is at least supposed to be based on merit, the prospect of injecting quotas into this process would be laughable, were this not hyper-liberal Hollywood we’re talking about. Instead there was copious hand-wringing from the celebrity set.
In fact it became such a big story politicians tried to involve themselves in the issue (celebrity exposure only a minor contributing factor, no doubt.) Many people weighed in on the controversy, and there was a common theme:
- And I think the Oscar debate is really just an expression of this broader issue. Are we making sure that everybody is getting a fair shot? — President Obama
- We’re talking about huge systemic injustices around race and gender that are a lot bigger than the Oscars. They’re massive issues in our industry and in our country. –Matt Damon
- It’s unfortunate that the entire country, is a racist country…we’re living in a country that, uh, discriminates — and has certain racial tendencies. Racist tendencies! So sometimes it’s manifested in things like this, and it’s illuminated. But just generally speaking, we’re racists – we’re a bunch of racists. — Danny DeVito
You have to appreciate the idea that when Hollywood behaves in a rather blatantly racist fashion they have no problem pointing the finger of blame where it belongs — at you and I.
This is the usual pathetic leftist dodge when those lecturing are found guilty of violating their own sermon. Similar to when the Obama administration, and Hillary Clinton, were lecturing on the gender pay inequality yet their own staffs reflected the same pay disparity; they explained it was reason to look at the “larger issue” on a nationwide scale.
Claims of a system-wide problem are also suspect. Academy Award nominations are derived originally from peers within each category selecting the five individuals worthy to later be voted upon by the general membership. Nominees in the Best Director category are chosen by other Academy directors, for example, and editors only by member editors, and so on. Thus the troubling Best Actor/Actress and Best Supporting Actor/Supporting Actress picks were selected only by other actors.
There is no systemic racism behind the nominations because the larger body has not yet participated. This means that the only ones who could have been accurately accused of racism were fellow actors. And who just happened to be the very individuals barking loudest about racism?
Even as these famous thinkers attempted to sound serious and grave about this issue they unwittingly exposed the harsh truths about the entertainment industry. In an interview on the subject with Variety George Clooney said many important things about this problem, with one telling pull quote:
- If you think back 10 years ago, the Academy was doing a better job. Think about how many more African Americans were nominated.
Hmmm. By my reading of this Clooney is suggesting in Hollywood things were better for people of color during the Bush administration than during the Obama years. Let that marinate for a moment.
In response to this racist issue the President of The Academy made an ambitious decision last summer. President Cheryl Boone Isaacs sought to increase the membership by nearly 700, and of those 41% were people of color, raising the ranks of minority Academy members from 8% to 11%. This effort paid dividends this year.
Of the 20 slots for nominated acting performances six went to persons of color, and you can add in an Asian as well (Dev Patel, for “Lion”). Additionally, of the nine titles selected for Best Picture three feature predominantly black casts. So with over 30% of this year’s nominations going to POC performers, and titles, The Academy has seemingly repaired its grievous racial issues.
Quick Question: Since Hollywood fixed its race problem, does that also mean the wider blame of America being racist is likewise taken off the table?!
Quick Answer: No way
Given that celebrities were quick to blame this nation while they were in wrong, now that they are seemingly in the right it is likely to only become more strident.