By Jennifer Lee
Race is something we all experience, whether it is only one kind, a combination of two, or some kind altogether indefinable. On the other hand, not everyone can attest to having knowingly experienced racial discrimination. When we live in communities that are comprised of one race, culture, and look, we are comfortable because we see ourselves in the people around us. When these same communities are mixed, differences become apparent and questions arise. Many people consider not knowing all the answers a sign of defeat, and it is this backwards thinking which leads to the lack in confidence that can turn curious cats scared. This year’s Oscar nominations have been deemed racist by news outlets all across the country. Is there truth in those accusations, and more importantly was the supposed racism intentional? Let’s take a look at the facts. The nominees for the most popular acting categories are all white.
Out of context this does not raise much suspicion, but one of the movies nominated for best film is Selma, an acclaimed MLK drama delivered to us in the midst of multiple racial profiling police scandals. This powerful film came to screens exactly when the black community needed a boost. The entire team involved performed with plaudits on every platform, and yet none of the cast was nominated.
Even more outrageous to some, the director, Ava DuVernay, the first ever African American woman to be nominated for a Golden Globe in directing, was a top prediction for the same Oscar category, and yet the academy still had the audacity to snub her.
Firstly, the academy is comprised of the people making films, so actors, directors, and writer, etc. For individual categories like acting, other actors vote. This means Jennifer Lawrence can vote for Julia Roberts, but not for Martin Scorsese. So people are trying to argue that Hollywood itself is racist, when it is actually one of the more diverse employment sectors; it’s even more diverse than our nation’s Congress.
Secondly, the academy as a whole doesn’t nominate movies based off crowd appeal alone. If that were true, Harry Potter and The Hunger Games would have made clean sweeps since the start of the millennium. The academy members want to be honest and individualistic in their votes, and that involves trying to cast aside any reviews, and use solely their own opinions to vote for the people who did the best work.
It is possible that the other people nominated in place of the Selma actors and director just did a better job, plain and simple.
At the recent Grammy awards, Beck won best album over a plethora of artists better known than him. If you don’t remember, it was the time Kanye almost pulled a Kanye. Most people (Kanye) were outraged because someone like Beyonce did not win.
And most people as evidenced by Twitter have never even listened to Beck. For all they know, they could actually like Beck’s album better, if they gave it a listen. (Forgive me Yeezus for I have sinned). Sometimes we just have to trust that the voters know what they are talking about, and other times we have to tune in to the People Choice Awards.
Crowd-pleasing actors and movies are unintentionally overlooked every year; it is just part of life, like when you run out of milk for your cereal; except to them, it is actually a really big deal and a major life goal. Racism most likely did not play a role in their decision; it is just the hollow shell of a story that the media can bombard us with.
Either way, we can speculate, or we can work to remove racism from our country, and by that, I mean wait till the oldest two generations bite the dust.