Thursday, January 14, 2016

Oscars 2016: Regarding Diversity Amongst The Nominees

I originally wasn't going to post this. I was so satisfied with the Oscar nominations, that I didn’t want to kill my own vibe. But I wanted to kind of get this off my chest. So because for the second year in a row, all the acting nominees are Caucasian, the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite is trending once again. While I do think that it is slightly bothersome that not actor of color is represented, not even Idris Elba who had a very decent chance to get in Best Supporting Actor for Beasts of No Nation, that doesn't mean that there is no diversity to be found among this year's nominees.

There are already these headlines about racial diversity, but why not shine a light on the gender diversity as well as genre diversity? For instance, not only are there three female-centered stories nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, but two of them are written by women: Carol by Phyllis Nagy and Room by Emma Donoghue. There's also Brooklyn which also got nominated for Best Picture.

A lot of you guys might not have heard of this, but Mustang, one of the Best Foreign Language Film nominees, is a female-driven story directed by a woman. But of course, because negative hashtags help create headlines, people choose to ignore that.

Also, Mad Max: Fury Road, a sci-fi summer sequel with a strong central female character in the form of Imperator Furiosa played by Charlize Theron, getting in Best Picture is HUGE. Usually films with all of those factors end up getting left out. Even Ex Machina getting in Best Original Screenplay is a win for the sci-fi genre since it also features a rich and complex central female character in the form of the android Ava.

Basically, my point is, while the lack of racial diversity amongst the nominees is quite glaring, we should still pause and appreciate other types of diversity represented here.

I won't try and decipher why the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag trended twice in a row. Mainly because I don't know how each invididual voting member thinks so it's hard to tell. But I'm optimistic that if the studios become more active in casting more people of color in more lead roles and encourage more people of color to step behind the camera, then we could very well see more racial talent being represented. For what it's worth, we're seeing names like James Wan, Ryan Coogler, and F. Gary Gray directing box office hits and signing on to more potential box office hits.

So those are my thoughts on the diversity issue amongst this year's Oscar nominees and how diversity is shaping up in Hollywood. Whether you agree or disagree, please feel free to write your thoughts in the comments section. Thanks for reading