Well, I guess it’s that time of the year again where Hollywood celebrates achievements in film by announcing this years Oscar nominees. And as a surprise to maybe, six people—people of color and women drew the short stick.
So once again, the hashtag: #oscarssowhite is back in circulation and “controversy bloggers” are licking their chops and ready to go in on why no Black, Transgendered, Little People are nominated this year. So before I go into why this is stupid as all hell, let me first talk about who was actually nominated. Here are just a few…
FOR PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE:
Antonio Banderas in PAIN AND GLORY
Leonardo DiCaprio in ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD
Adam Driver in MARRIAGE STORY
Joaquin Phoenix in JOKER
Jonathan Pryce in THE TWO POPES
FOR PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:
Tom Hanks in A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Anthony Hopkins in THE TWO POPES
Al Pacino in THE IRISHMAN
Joe Pesci in THE IRISHMAN
Brad Pitt in ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD
FOR PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE:
Cynthia Erivo in HARRIET
Scarlett Johansson in MARRIAGE STORY
Saoirse Ronan in LITTLE WOMEN
Charlize Theron in BOMBSHELL
Renée Zellweger in JUDY
FOR PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:
Kathy Bates in RICHARD JEWELL
Laura Dern in MARRIAGE STORY
Scarlett Johansson in JOJO RABBIT
Florence Pugh in LITTLE WOMEN
Margot Robbie in BOMBSHELL
And last but not least…
THE BEST DIRECTOR CATEGORY:
Martin Scorsese: THE IRISHMAN
Todd Phillips: JOKER
Sam Mendes: 1917
Quentin Tarantino: ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD
Bong Joon Ho: PARASITE
So as you can see, not a lot of Black folks (unless you count Scarlett Johansson who can obviously play any race or gender). And if you noticed, the “Best Director” category is absent of women all-together. So you know what this means… Get those #oscarssowhite post ready and LET THE OUTRAGE BEGIN!
Now, as someone who is Black, and a writer, and dances around the film industry landscape attending a party or a festival when I’m allowed, I get the temptation to feel there is a secret club in Hollywood that very few minorities are invited to join. I also agree with many Black folks that the industry has a “slave-fixation” (whether it be racism or White guilt) and the only time they are willing to give a Black actor or actress the trophy is after watching them get whipped for two hours and beg for their freedom!
But, if I’m being completely honest, having seen most of the films that are nominated this year, I would say that 90% of the nominees are warranted (aside from Awkwafina, Adam Sandler, Robert Pattinson, and Willam Dafoe getting screwed).
I know there are tons of people on social media right now who believe Eddie Murphy should have been nominated for My Name Is Dolemite. Having reviewed My Name Is Dolemite myself, I think the movie was great. But, do I think Murphy gave an “Oscar-winning performance?” No, not at all. I think he was the best “Eddie Murphy” has been in a long time, but personally I didn’t feel he should have been nominated alongside Joaquin Phoenix or Antonio Banderas. Again, this is just my opinion. But the real question is, why weren’t there any other performances by Black folks worthy of a nomination?
Another trending name in the “2020 Oscar Snubs” was Lupita Nyong’o for her role as Adelaide Wilson/Red in the Jordan Peele sci-fi/horror film, US. In fact, people were so angry about her omission from the Oscars this year that she’s been trending #2 on Twitter since the announcement. Again, the question is, was this an Oscar-caliber performance from the Oscar veteran? Or was there just no other Black talent to draw from in 2019? Why did everything live or die for Black actors on Eddie Murphy’s big return to film, or Lupita’s obvious box office draw?
Then there’s all the roar about Jennifer Lopez’s stripper performance in Hustlers. I still don’t understand how she was even nominated for a Golden Globe with this role. It was borderline on par with Elizabeth Berkley’s performance in Showgirls. This is a movie I had to force myself not to walk out of. To say she was a “woman of color” snubbed is more than a stretch. But with the roles for the talent pool being as small as it was in 2019, Jennifer Lopez was actually a contender this year.
The problem with any of these awards shows if I’m being completely honest is, the majority of the industry is still predominantly White. There has been some progress made, but at the end of the day, until the numbers change and Hollywood full represents current society, there’s always going to be #oscarssowhite and whatever ridiculous hashtags are thought up in 2020. Or maybe… just maybe, it’s time to trash to the Academy Awards and start something new so that a message is sent to the old guard. People of Color, Women, Gays, nor any other minority shouldn’t have to beg the Academy for scraps anymore. If we don’t like what’s been, we have the ability to change it.
But until that time, why are we still surprised by a pretentious award show that has only changed its racist and sexist views because of public outcry and bad press? If anything, why not just make a drinking game out of the Oscars and enjoy the shit-show for what it is? There really are more important things happening right now folks!