BLACK ARTISTS MATTER #BAM
I thought it was honestly done. I figured the news circuits and buzz around the Academy Awards and its members failing to acknowledge or nominate minorities in major categories had been – by now, expunged. There is no doubt the “elephant in the room” will ultimately be filled by the tension of racial undertones throughout the star-studded evening (unless Chris Rock busts it out in his intro comedic set- which I’m predicting) , but one can only hope it won’t be tainted. Ultimately, regardless of race or creed - there are some terrific films, filmmakers, and artists who are worthy of being recognized for their cinematic achievements.
During the process of formulating one’s opinion about the evening and controversy surrounding this 88th annual Oscar’s, I came across an incredibly informative article in Variety about the representation, or better yet -- misrepresentation of black actors throughout the Academy’s long history. Contributing writer's Ramin Setoodeh and Brent Lang intelligently articulate their own opinions on the matter, bringing forth convincing information about past winners of African-American decent. For instance, who knew that “in the 88 year history of the Academy Awards, only 17 black artists – 14 of them actors – have won an Oscar in 8 major categories encompassing producing, directing, acting and writing. In fact, no black filmmaker has won the top directing prize for narrative feature.” These are interesting facts to consider especially when you look at year-to-year comparisons. For example, this year marks the lack of misrepresentation, but years like the 74th and 77th Oscars illustrated historical feats for minorities in that black actors took home the awards for best actor and best supporting actor (74th: Denzel Washington – best actor in a lead role “Training Day”, Halle Berry – best actress in a lead role “Monster’s Ball”; 77th: Morgan Freeman – best actor in a supporting role award “Million Dollar Baby”, Jaime Fox – best actor in a lead role award). So what conclusion can we make from all of this?
To me, I lean more towards the sentiment of actor Morgan Freeman when questioned about this similar topic in 2005 saying, "If we’re going to talk about diversity in the film industry, we don’t need to start with the Academy Awards. We need to start somewhere way back — with the producers, the directors, the casting agents, the writers.”
Personally, I believe current media has changed dramatically from years prior, seeing many more minorities holding major production positions, but it may just take another year or so to fully come to fruition in terms of awards. There are some fowl ups, like Ava Duvernay not being nominated for dest director in "Selma", which I thought was amazing! Yet, I think every year has someone or some film that the Academy missed. With that said, the films nominated this year showcase some really great performances and are worth recognizing.
Be sure to checkout the article from Variety magazine here. And feel free to share your opinions on our BlogV posts!