Friday, July 18, 2014

Topic Of The Day: Diversity At The Oscars

Hello, Bloggers, welcome to another episode of my Topic Of The Day. Today's Topic will be about the Oscars and how I am all for seeing more diverse faces, especially after this year. Let's take a look:

This year was a good year for Hispanics as Alfonso Cuaron became the first Mexican to win Best Director and one of his frequent collaborators Emmanuel Lubezki won Best Cinematography. Plus, Mexican-born Kenyan Lupita Nyong'o won Best Supporting Actress for 12 Years A Slave, showing that it was not only a good year for Hispanics but Blacks as well. Not only did Nyong'o take home a trophy for her film, but so did Steve McQueen, who became the first Black person to win Best Picture and we saw Barkhad Abdi receive a nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his debut role in Captain Phillips. To me, that is quite amazing that the Academy branched out in terms of who they handed out trophies to, especially to Blacks and Hispanics since both races have enormous audiences.

This almost reminds me of the 79th Academy Awards, coincidentally the first show that Ellen DeGeneres hosted. That show was another good one for Hispanics as the Mexican film Pan's Labyrinth won 3 Oscars out of 6 nominations. There was also the film Babel, which scored 1 win for Argentine-born Gustavo Santaolalla, and 6 other nominations, including Best Director and Best Supporting Actress for Mexican-born Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Adriana Barraza, respectively. In her category, Barraza was even nominated alongside her Babel co-star Rinko Kikuchi from Japan. While Alfonso Cuaron and Emmanuel Lubezki won at this year's Oscar, they also received nominations at the 79th Oscars for the film Children of Men: Cinematography for Lubezki and Film Editing for Cuaron. Plus, Spaniard Penelope Cruz managed to score a Best Actress nomination for the Spanish film Volver. Another fun fact is the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor categories each had two black actors: Forest Whitaker and Will Smith in the Lead category and Eddie Murphy and Beninese-born Djimon Hounsou in the Supporting category. Forest Whitaker ended up winning. To me, this is just absolutely fascinating, all the people in different film professions from different parts of the world being recognized by the Academy. Again, I love that. Oh, and the Clint Eastwood-directed Japanese language film Letters from Iwo Jima was a Best Picture nominee. Wow!

Also, while the 79th Academy Awards boded quite well for Hispanics among other races, the 76th Academy Awards were dominated by New Zealand, thanks to the smashing success of those behind a "little" film that was filmed out in New Zealand called Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Plus, New Zealander Keisha Castle-Hughes received a Best Actress nomination for Whale Rider. In that category, however, the winner would be the first South African to win an Oscar in a major category: Charlize Theron for Monster. There would be other nations represented as well with the Supporting Actor category having a Puerto Rican (Benicio Del Toro), Beninese (Djimon Hounsou), and Japanese actor (Ken Watanabe). Plus, the Supporting Actress category had the first Middle Eastern to be nominated for an Oscar: Shohreh Aghdashloo for House of Sand and Fog. 

Of course, I am not saying the Oscars should always look like a Benetton ad or anything like that. I am just pointing out that it is wonderful to not just see American films or just Caucasian people in the film profession get recognized by the American Academy, as demonstrated by this year and the other years I just pointed out. Plus, I am also sort of saying that by some of the winners this year, a certain progress might be being made.

So, that was my Topic Of The Day on how I love seeing more diversity shown at the Oscars. If you agree with me or disagree, please feel free to write your thoughts in the comments section. However, if you disagree, please be courteous and not racist. Thanks for reading!