Were the Oscars #sowhite on purpose?
The Academy Awards were this weekend, and I really don’t care.
As a screenwriter, NYU Film School graduate, and card-carrying Film Nerd, the Oscars are supposed to be my celluloid version of the Super Bowl.
I did have my predictions set in stone, a menu prepared for the big night, and an annoying, encyclopedic knowledge of all the Best Picture nominees.
Last year’s Academy Awards broadcast had the lowest Nielsen Ratings since the 2009 show.
In other words, no one is watching.
Hollywood doesn’t want its big night to bomb again like the latest Adam Sandler offering, so would it be out of the question for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to use a little “movie magic” to boost the numbers this year?
What if this whole lily white Oscar nominee issue was just a premeditated stunt to get people talking about the Academy Awards again?
Did Hollywood purposely play the race card as a publicity stunt in hopes that the ensuing outrage would make the Oscars must see TV?
I wouldn’t normally believe such a scam to be possible, but I find it a little convenient that the Oscar Whiteout coincides with the year that Chris Rock is the host. Even if you didn’t care about the Academy Awards, you might have been tempted to tune in just to see what the angry African-American comedian has to say about the Oscars being 50 Shades of Caucasian.
To be honest, I’m not at all outraged by the fact that every acting nominee is whiter than a Maine winter, and I wouldn’t be upset if they were all Black, Latino, Asian, or any other race.
What bothers me is that the lack of diversity issue became a political powder keg. I go to the movies to escape from reality. I don’t want my escapism to become reality.
In a year when our Presidential candidates are looking more like stereotypical movie villains every day, I can’t stand the thought of politics creeping into the Oscars.
If you want to have a heated debate about the Oscar nominees, shouldn’t it be movie related? I’m mad as hell that Star Wars: The Force Awakens wasn’t nominated for Best Picture. It was definitely one of the best movies of the year, it will break yet another box office record before you finish reading this article, and it somehow made the world forget about the horrible prequels (an accomplishment worthy of at least an Honorary Oscar!).
The Academy is allowed to nominate up to ten movies for Best Picture, but this year, it limited the number to eight. Why didn’t The Force Awakens receive one of the two spots that will now go to waste? I sense a disturbance in The Force.
Is it because Hollywood is biased against Science Fiction? Does Hollywood have a vendetta against droids, practitioners of The Force, or humans with Wookie life partners?
And why wasn’t Daisy Ridley nominated for an Oscar? Does Hollywood lack diversity when it comes to strong female characters, desert dwellers, or women who stand up to men in creepy masks?
The Academy is its own worst enemy. If its members had tossed a few big time nominations The Force Awakens’ way, it would have locked down an audience that would make The Super Bowl of Movies look like the actual Super Bowl.
Instead, they might have decided to launch some ill-conceived lack of diversity scam that lost steam once it ran out of actors, who weren’t going to be invited to the Oscars anyway, vowing that they were going to boycott the ceremony.
What they should have done was run a series of attack ads from an outraged Kylo Ren not only threatening to boycott the Oscars, but also saying that he was going to use a newly constructed Starkiller Base to wipe out Hollywood.
Then Donald Trump could’ve joined the act by promising to build a wall around the Earth to keep out The First Order, and vowing to make Supreme Leader Snoke pay for it.
I’m not telling the Academy how to run its awards show, but maybe it can learn something from the MTV Movie Awards. That show knows how to cater to its audience, and it’s never had to deal with a diversity issue.
If it really wants an audience to awaken and tune in on Sunday night, the Academy needs to set aside one of the ten Best Picture nominations for a crowd-pleasing flick. Logic dictates that if a movie can generate over a billion dollars in ticket sales, it will also lure a sizeable audience to watch a free TV show.
Hollywood lives and dies on its blockbusters and sequels, so why does it pretend every year that its real lifeblood is the obscure arthouse movie that no one ever watches until it receives an Oscar nomination?
Enough with the nonsense, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences! We want to see BB-8 in a tux and Daisy Ridley in anything other than that same old desert urchin outfit. Give the audience what it wants, and you will receive the ratings you think you deserve.
Just one last piece of advice: Don’t invite The First Order’s Stormtroopers. That’s way too much white for one awards show!
Photo: Robert Couse-Baker/Flickr