For those of you unaware of this currently trending issue, #OscarsSoWhite highlights the outrage against the lack of diversity in the acting categories for the Academy Award nominations. Out of the 20 available slots for both lead and supporting actors and actresses, zero nominations were awarded to minorities. Seeing this, Jada Pinkett Smith has been vocal about her disappointment as well as her plans to boycott this years Academy Awards ceremony, and thusly, has become a catalyst for the anti-Oscar's movement.
All of the controversy surrounding this racially charged issue begs the question: It the criticism warranted? The answer may not be as (pun intended) black and white as you may think. Firstly, let may state that I do believe there to be a serious issue here. That being said, I think that a lot of the outrage surrounding the biggest film awards show is more or less misguided.
When we compare the nominations from the Academy Awards to the lists in corresponding categories from other major award organizations, we find that the Oscar's appear fairly similar to that of its peers. Aside from a nomination here and there, most names are consistently mentioned for the same categories across the board, but, because the Oscar's are the more widely known, and perhaps the most prestigious awards show, it is subject to the kind and amount of criticism that it has received.
While protesters such as Jada Pinkett Smith probably hope that these actions will reverberate through the award spheres and trickle down to the smaller organizations, I believe that the criticism has been wrongfully assigned.
The issue here, is not the fact that award organizations are not recognizing minorities, but rather, the alarming and continuing trend in which minorities are not given nearly enough opportunities in front of the camera, and far fewer behind it. Tying the hands of the Academy only serves to treat the symptoms and not the disease itself. Nominating Will Smith, Samuel L. Jackson, Idris Elba, and Straight Outta Compton may be a coup for the African-American community, but this act will only appease the thirst for recognition rather than solve the problem that is this: There are simply not enough minority actors. Additionally there is an embarrassingly sparse amount of minorities working as directors and screenwriters in Hollywood.
While I am not here to offer a solution to the lack of diversity problem in Hollywood, as I am not too sure on the "how's" and "why's" behind it all, my attempt is to simply add some perspective to the issue that has recently emerged in the public conscientiousness. As an avid cinephile who has seen nearly every award nominated film this year, I can honestly say that I believe that the Oscar's got it right for the most part.
Aside from a snub here and there (most notably Benicio Del Toro in Sicario), I support the majority of the decisions that the Academy has made from a nomination standpoint. I would absolutely love to see more diversity in Hollywood, especially behind the camera, and I genuinely hope that the injustice will soon be rectified. As a film fanatic, I selfishly long for more unique perspectives from filmmakers and I am confident that diversity will help bring moviegoers a new, distinctive outlook in cinema.
Do you agree with The Academy, or do you side with Jada Pinkett Smith and many others inside Hollywood? Should the Academy Awards recognize more minorities? Agree or disagree - let me know in the comments below and follow me on Twitter @BobbyAnhalt for more news, opinions, and rumors concerning your favorite films and film franchises.