So let’s talk about the Oscars. I know, I know. What’s the point in even getting upset at this rate? We all acknowledge that it’s a superficial, white, and largely out-of-date event. If you’re not aware of the numbers the Academy is 94% white, 76% male, with a median age of 63. Statistically it is just not set up to be a progressive institution. And I hear a lot of white people saying, “oh who cares?” To which I have two things to really say.
My general rule of thumb about these kind of things is to say, if it does not apply to you, you’re not really allowed to say how it should make someone feel. Meaning, if you’re white it’s probably a good idea to keep your feelings to yourself about how black people should feel in response to the fact that Selma was nominated for essentially, squat. Or if you’re a man and you tell any women that, “there probably just weren’t any good females in any category this year,” prepare to be called out. Part of being a good ally and a good human is knowing when your voice is the one that needs to be heard.
And secondly, if this lack of visibility was not indicative of a world-trend, okay. But it goes without saying that art made by people in marginalized communities frequently goes unrecognized. So when an institution (like The Academy) is given a platform to shape and inform greater attitudes towards acceptance and appreciation, and it continues to fail to do so, that’s a problem. I read this morning that for only five categories (Animated Short Film, Live-Action Short Film, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, and Foreign-Language Film) voters are required to see every film nominated. So if you happen to have a bunch of old, white, men voting in the other categories, which movies do you think they are most likely to see, and eventually, vote for? C’mon now.
For me at this point the Academy Awards are mainly about going, “ooh pretty dresses.” But it doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t be reduced to that. It’s important, now, and always, to have higher expectations for the “taste-makers” and award-givers of our country. They’re representing us and they’re screwing up. But luckily, it’s getting harder and harder to get away with it. So stomp your feet, and yell and scream, because folks, this is some bullshit.
And, p.s. it sucks that A Most Violent Year didn’t get anything because that movie ruled and everyone should see it.
Author: Madeline Meyer
Madeline recently graduated from Oberlin College where she studied Cinema Studies. She writes screenplays and ill-received dad jokes. She likes board games and olives.