The glare was so bright, I might go blind


The Oakland Tribune was pitch perfect.

bestcaucasian

It’s OK, though, because they are all deservedly the best — there were no brown-skinned people performing in any way in any movie at any time in the past year. Right?

Comments

  1. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    “detonate diversity debate”?

    I’m not so convinced yet. The people who were talking about racism are talking about this. The people who don’t give a shit about racism won’t be moved by this.

    It doesn’t “start” a diversity debate, if that’s what “detonate” means here (in the sense of “initiate”). It won’t ruin the diversity debate (in the sense of “destroy”). It won’t even magnify the diversity debate “in Hollywood”. More people outside of Hollywood who care about racism might pay attention to Hollywood’s racism (rather than local/intracommunity racism, whatever their communities might be) for a short time, but fuck, really?

    If it actually did initiate or grossly expand the “diversity debate”, I would be pleasantly surprised. But I’m not holding my breath.

  2. varady72 says

    PZ,

    I am so bored with these kinds of discussions.

    So every year the academy MUST nominate some minimal quota of films featuring people of color, or films about women, or films about Native Americans, or films about kicked dogs, or any number of countless minorities, regardless of the quality of the films themselves? What if those films and the performances in them are terrible, and not worthy of a nomination? Are you suggesting that it can’t be possible? How and why these nominations even elicit comments about diversity is beyond my comprehension. This isn’t a private club or co-op board, these are people nominating their peers for these accolades.

    We have to do away with this destructive and nonsensical political correctness. It is leading us into a world where every attempt to discern quality from junk has become meaningless. In the real world, everyone doesn’t win, everyone doesn’t get a trophy. It is laughable, in this day and age – at least where the Oscars are concerned – to insinuate that skin color is somehow a factor. Maybe the films and the actors just weren’t good enough.

    Get over it.

  3. What a Maroon, oblivious says

    Cue “but it was just that all the white people happened to be objectively better” people in 3-2-1

    And three minutes later we get varady72.

    I just hope you use your powers of prescience for good, not evil.

  4. franko says

    Why is no-one complaining about the segregation of Best Actor/Best Actress (ditto for Best Supporting). Obviously we need sex, race and creed-specific categories across the board. I’ll work out some time who to nominate for best Hindu medium-melanin female make-up and hardstyling.

  5. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    We have to do away with this destructive and nonsensical political correctness.

    Nope, you have to stop sounding like a bigot by using “political correctness” as a perjorative statement. Get over yourself.

  6. varady72 says

    Sorry but I don’t get it.

    What possible difference does the color of an actor’s or director’s skin make when making a subjective decision about the “best” of something. It seems the suggestion is that weighing an actor’s or director’s skill vis-a-vis peers requires a thumb on the scale if the player is a person of color.

  7. dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!" says

    @Varady so the (black, female) director of Selma didn’t deserve a nomination? Or any of the black actors? Despite the fact that the movie as a whole qualified for Best Picture?

  8. yazikus says

    What if those (insert: every film not directed by a white dude/ starring white people) films and the performances in them are terrible, and not worthy of a nomination?

    I find this far less likely than the idea that the only worthy films happen to be made & acted by all white people and mostly white men.

  9. varady72 says

    Again, I don’t understand why this is even an issue.

    There is something wrong when 12% of a nation demand to be given the same or better representation as not only the majority but also Latinos which comprise 17%, Asians and others.

    I was a young adult during Dr. King’s time and I consider him a great man. However, I feel he would be disappointed. He wanted equality. To me, equality means looking beyond the color of skin and treating everyone equally, with the same fairness, but it also implies the same responsibility because we are equals. Dr. King wanted his people to have equal access to universities, restaurants, and neighborhoods.

    Done, done, done.

    He wanted us to mingle socially.

    Done.

    He wanted an end to the demeaning and unconscionable treatment of sitting in the back of the bus and using separate rest rooms.

    Done.

    He wanted his people to have the opportunity to achieve greatness. We have black physicists, professors, economists, physicians, attorneys, engineers, athletes, artists, writers, and politicians. Not only that, we have a black president and I currently have a black mayor.

    And now PZ Myers and others are questioning a mostly liberal group in Hollywood who last year choose a movie about slavery as its best picture and nominated a movie about Civil Rights among its best pictures this year?

    If we don’t stop making everything about race, we will lose what we have gained. If blacks must have special treatment, that is not equality, that is favoritism.

  10. twas brillig (stevem) says

    re varady72 @8:

    It seems the suggestion is that weighing an actor’s or director’s skill vis-a-vis peers requires a thumb on the scale if the player is a person of color.

    Yes, You certainly don’t get it. The suggestion is that there is a thumb on the scale AGAINST actors of color. Your racism shows when you say a “thumb is required” for a person of color to compete. Do you really think that there isn’t a single actor of color worthy of accolades from xis peers?

  11. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    What possible difference does the color of an actor’s or director’s skin make when making a subjective decision about the “best” of something.

    It shouldn’t, and if it didn’t, one would expect the nominees to representative of the academy as a whole. In which case, there should be several non-whites nominated for the major categories.
    Equal results means real equal opportunity. But that means white privilege has to be acknowledged and dealt with for more representative nominations.

  12. says

    #4 varady72

    What if those films and the performances in them are terrible, and not worthy of a nomination? Are you suggesting that it can’t be possible?

    It does sound unlikely, though. Maybe you rolled dice and got a 6 twelve times in a row, but, then, a more likely explanation is that you don’t have fair dice on your hands.

    It is laughable, in this day and age – at least where the Oscars are concerned – to insinuate that skin color is somehow a factor.

    I don’t think the idea that racism still exists is somehow controversial.

  13. varady72 says

    @ Nerd of Redhead

    Wait, what?

    There are no films nominated for best picture this year that were produced or directed by Jews. I guess the author of this piece would think that’s anti-semitism.

    I guess when a female director is not nominated or if a female director is nominated and does not receive an Oscar then the author of this piece considers that sexism.

    The attitude of some folks on the left that if a film about Black folks that is produced or directed by Blacks and has a Black cast mandates that it receive an Oscar is absurd.

    We don’t have a quota system, thank God, in our country for what is the best performance in a film, a song, a painting, a book, or professional sports. That awards should be based on color, religion, or some political view is ridiculous.

    The extreme left view that a film must receive an Oscar if a minority produced, directed, or starred in it is racism in itself. People vote for the Tony Awards, the Grammy Awards, and the Oscars for what they believe is the best play, music, or movie and all these industries have a predominance of left wing members who are voting.

    I don’t think that a majority of the people who vote for the Tony’s, Grammy’s, or Oscar’s are Republicans so GET OVER IT.

    Sometimes a film, an actress, an actor, and a director wins an award because most voters believe what they did was the best that year and their voting has nothing to do with race. The people who cast their votes are not biased towards any performer because of the color of their skin.

  14. Anne Fenwick says

    I’m confused as to how Grand Budapest Hotel got into the Oscars anyway. I thought it was specifically for American films. But GBH was an Anglo-German production which happens to have an American director. Whereas 12 Years a Slave from last year might have been set and made in America but it has a British director. So what gives? If it’s meant to be international, the diversity is even more appalling than first thought.

    PS: also, why are the white Americans in American movies like no white Americans I’ve ever met in real life?

  15. says

    And three minutes later we get varady72.

    I just hope you use your powers of prescience for good, not evil.

    You think I can just mail randi my banking information?
    Cause denial of racism is so fucking rare, I must be a legitimat psychic, right?

  16. says

    Done, done, done.

    Yeah, everything is great now that nobody has to sit at the back of the bus anymore…

    Jesus Christ, talk about clueless. How about equal treatment by cops on the street, by the courts, by juries, by loan officers, by apartment rental companies. How about not being treated with suspicion by most white people around you?

    Not done, not done, not done, not done, not done, not done.

  17. Kichae says

    varady72 @4

    Im not sure you know what the word “bored” means. You’re not acting like someone who is bored with this.

  18. says

    The extreme left view that a film must receive an Oscar if a minority produced, directed, or starred in it is racism in itself.

    Bullshit, and you know it.

  19. says

    I saw Selma the other day and thought it was great.

    Black people are 12.6% of the US population (according to the 2010 census), and if the 20 Oscar nominees were representative then you’d expect a 7% chance that none of them are black. White people (including Hispanic) make 72.4% of the population, leading to a 0.15% chance that they’d all be white. It’s funny how something which is essentially a fluff news piece still manages to reach statistical significance!

  20. varady72 says

    @ Tacitus

    We are talking about The Oscars here.

    Stop seeing only race in every aspect of life and PLEASE open up your eyes and minds to other (and often more important) attributes.

    Not everything and anything is evidence of a sordid plot, and/or discrimination.

  21. twas brillig (stevem) says

    The extreme left view that a film must receive an Oscar if a minority produced, directed, or starred in it is racism in itself.

    Correct. Yet, NO ONE is saying, “a film must receive an Oscar if a minority produced, directed, or starred in it”. And NO ONE is talking about Oscar distribution. The list in the OP is Nominations. Are you serious that “other than white” are such a minority and so untalented, that to see one nominated is “reverse racism”?
    .
    varady72, you seem to be approaching the 3-strikes limit.

  22. Holms says

    #11 varady72
    If blacks must have special treatment, that is not equality, that is favoritism.

    Definitely a bigot.

  23. says

    varady72 said:

    So every year the academy MUST nominate some minimal quota of films featuring people of color, or films about women, or films about Native Americans, or films about kicked dogs, or any number of countless minorities

    Translation: PoC, women, American indians, dogs, just the same.
    As opposed to people, aka white men. Because there’s no other reason to include animals in this list except for making the point that the aforementioned groups are not really people.

    , regardless of the quality of the films themselves?

    Translation:
    Those not quite people simply aren’t as good as real people. Because while I sure as hell haven’t seen all the cultural contributions those not quite people have made during that year I am confident that they cannot have been as good as all the contrbutions made by real people which I haven’t all seen either.

    What if those films and the performances in them are terrible, and not worthy of a nomination? Are you suggesting that it can’t be possible?

    And because it is possible, it must really be true and therefore noticing this repeated pattern is just political correctness gone mad.

    How and why these nominations even elicit comments about diversity is beyond my comprehension.

    Stop talking about racism! If you just stopped talking about it it would disappear!!!

    This isn’t a private club or co-op board, these are people nominating their peers for these accolades.

    And a majority of white male peers is objectively objective. No bias possible.

    I was a young adult during Dr. King’s time and I consider him a great man. However, I feel he would be disappointed.

    And now let me put some words into the mouth of MLK, because me as a white person surely qualifies. Thank goodness some white person shot him so we can go telling black people that MLK would be really disappointed with them without the inconvenience of him objecting. That’s why we never ever listen to what actual black people say.

  24. Ichthyic says

    There is something wrong when 12% of a nation demand to be given the same or better representation as not only the majority but also Latinos which comprise 17%, Asians and others.

    so. from your logic then, there should not be 2 senators from every state. California should have like, 20, and rhode Island should have one.

    representation based on numbers!

    fucking moron.

  25. Ichthyic says

    also, caucasians are the minority in several states in the US now.

    so… if you live in those states, will be giving up your privilege now?

    yeah, something tells me then you’d be screaming you weren’t being fairly represented.

    uh huh.

  26. Ichthyic says

    Definitely a bigot.

    Oh, I’m sure they will come back and say they aren’t racist at all.

    I’m guessing they are more of the “yuppie racist” variety that is so common in white suburbia.

    the kind of people that fought so hard against affirmative action in the 80s and 90s out of sheer fucking ignorance.

  27. says

    What if those films and the performances in them are terrible, and not worthy of a nomination? Are you suggesting that it can’t be possible?

    Riight. Because it’s really that likely that there aren’t any brown-skinned actors who can act because somehow acting ability is tied to the amount of melanin in one’s skin. Oh. Wait. Maybe you’re saying that only white people and mostly men happened to get the good scripts and projects or had their screenplays picked up for production. Well, I suppose that’s a possibility. But that sounds just more systemic racism to me.

    What possible difference does the color of an actor’s or director’s skin make when making a subjective decision about the “best” of something.

    That’s exactly what life should be like, but we see this is not the case (see, for example, experiments where bias was shown in hiring orchestra musicians, but when based on playing alone the bias disappears). That’s why when nearly all the nominees are white and (barring the actress categories) male, we should view it as unjust. Their skin colour and gender are giving them an advantage over their non-white and female colleagues.

  28. Ichthyic says

    Not everything and anything is evidence of a sordid plot, and/or discrimination.

    indeed, most of it is just outright ignorance and privilege, masquerading as a conspiracy.

    you provide a perfect case on point.

  29. says

    varady72 #11

    There is something wrong when 12% of a nation demand to be given the same or better representation as not only the majority but also Latinos which comprise 17%, Asians and others.

    And you’re up to 29% of the population already. By your own percentages, there should be at least six non-white people in the photographs displayed in the OP, if there’s no selection bias at play.

  30. caseyrock says

    So what, precisely, is the claim being made here? Why are so many people upset by this year’s nominations and why are they using this year to generalize to the entire Academy for all of time?

  31. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I guess when a female director is not nominated or if a female director is nominated and does not receive an Oscar then the author of this piece considers that sexism.

    Your misogyny is showing bigot. You don’t get it, because you think mistakenly everything is equal these days. It isn’t, and there is long way to go to a true color/sex/LGBT society. And you are speed bump in the way of that.

  32. varady72 says

    @ Caseyrock

    “So what, precisely, is the claim being made here? Why are so many people upset by this year’s nominations and why are they using this year to generalize to the entire Academy for all of time?”

    ——–

    Exactly… And I am still waiting for PZ Myers to give a clearer explanation why he chose to do a blogpost on this topic.

    Anyway I think we need to remember that The Oscars are a closed loop Hollywood promotional construct. Insiders giving insiders awards to promote an industry that enriches insiders. Diversity is obviously important but FOCUSING on it so much with Oscar nominations seems a misplaced waste of energy.

  33. Rey Fox says

    We have to do away with this destructive and nonsensical political correctness.

    What is it destroying? Be specific.

    Dr. King wanted his people to have equal access to universities, restaurants, and neighborhoods.
    Done, done, done.

    HA HA HA HA HA. Oh wait, you’re serious. Let me laugh even harder.

    @ Tacitus
    We are talking about The Oscars here.

    You’re the one who mentioned buses and bathrooms here, weaselly one.

    I don’t think that a majority of the people who vote for the Tony’s, Grammy’s, or Oscar’s are Republicans so GET OVER IT.

    Who died and made you the arbiter of criticism?

  34. woozy says

    So what, precisely, is the claim being made here?

    Um… the only claim being made by the Oakland Tribune is that all the nominees are white. And they are. What we make of that is up to us.

    What I make of it is that it is not statistically negligible. All things being equal all white nominees has a .14% chance (that’s 14 out of 1,000) occurring. Hence all things are not equal. Now I’m not going to assume the inequality is entirely in the academy. The movie industry isn’t equal. The public taste driving the movie industry isn’t equal. And the social-economic factors leading people into acting careers are not equal. In fact nothing seems to be equal. And to my mind that’s worth noting.

    But the headline… It says all the nominees for the acting categories are white. And they are. Make of it what you will, but at the very least acknowledge that it is strange.

  35. says

    varady72 @4:

    We have to do away with this destructive and nonsensical political correctness.

    Ah, using the phrase politically correct without irony. Do you realize the company you’re keeping? Many of the people whining and moaning about “PC” complain that they can’t use the N* word, call a gay guy a Fa*gott, call a lesbian a d*ke, call a trans person tr*nny, or call someone with mental disabilities a r*tard. They’re complaining about people suggesting (and creating online areas where rules about language are enforced) that you (general ‘you’) use language that doesn’t punch down. It’s about caring about people, and wanting to do your best to not offend people who belong to groups who are typically marginalized in society. That’s what you’re condemning with your crying and whining about “PC”.
    See why that could make people think you’re an asshole?

    It is leading us into a world where every attempt to discern quality from junk has become meaningless.

    Really? You’ve evidence of this I’m sure.
    In any case, many people haven’t had a problem. I know I haven’t. Perhaps those people who can’t adapt should try harder.

    In the real world, everyone doesn’t win, everyone doesn’t get a trophy. It is laughable, in this day and age – at least where the Oscars are concerned – to insinuate that skin color is somehow a factor.

    it might be laughable if it were true. Do you have any evidence that the people who picked the nominees are different than the rest of the citizens of this country? Are they wearing their anti-racist underwear? Have they confronted their unconscious biases and prejudices about People of Color? Everyone has unconscious biases which inform their treatment of others, whether its biases about gay people, trans people, African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans, women and more. Racism is not over in the United States. It never ended. Some of the overt manifestations of racism have been curtailed over the years, but it’s there bubbling under the surface. On a very regular basis it bubbles up and detonates, as it did in the cases of both Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

    Maybe the films and the actors just weren’t good enough.
    Get over it.

    Ah, so do you think unconscious racial biases don’t exist in the minds of the people who pick the Oscar nominees?

  36. Rey Fox says

    Exactly… And I am still waiting for PZ Myers to give a clearer explanation why he chose to do a blogpost on this topic.

    Who died and made you the arbiter of blog posts and FOCUS and energy?

  37. magistramarla says

    I was confused last year when “The Butler” wasn’t nominated for anything. We saw it and both raved about it for weeks.
    There were several performances in that film that we felt should have rated at least a nomination. Hubby and I haven’t gotten to see “Selma” yet, but it looks like it will be an excellent follow-up. We want to make sure that our teen-aged grandson sees both, since his high school is in a nearly lily white part of Texas.
    I was wondering whether Hollywood has something against Oprah lately, since they have ignored films which she has been involved with for two years in a row.

  38. caseyrock says

    woozy,

    Um… the only claim being made by the Oakland Tribune is that all the nominees are white. And they are. What we make of that is up to us.

    What I make of it is that it is not statistically negligible. All things being equal all white nominees has a .14% chance (that’s 14 out of 1,000) occurring. Hence all things are not equal. Now I’m not going to assume the inequality is entirely in the academy. The movie industry isn’t equal. The public taste driving the movie industry isn’t equal. And the social-economic factors leading people into acting careers are not equal. In fact nothing seems to be equal. And to my mind that’s worth noting.

    But the headline… It says all the nominees for the acting categories are white. And they are. Make of it what you will, but at the very least acknowledge that it is strange.

    Yours is a very reasonable response and I like the addition of statistics. I also like that you less the onus on the Academy and look for larger contributing factors. Of note, can you tell me how you came up with the numbers or what raw data you use?

  39. caseyrock says

    woozy,

    It seems that something was lost in my response. I was just saying that I appreciated your take on things and was wondering if you could hook me up with the source of your math.

  40. says

    @ Caseyrock

    So what, precisely, is the claim being made here? Why are so many people upset by this year’s nominations and why are they using this year to generalize to the entire Academy for all of time?

    You are aware that the bias of nominations toward white maleness this year is not an outlier right? This has gone on year after year. We point it out every time with the hope that with more awareness of the problem, things in Hollywood might improve.

    @varady72

    Exactly… And I am still waiting for PZ Myers to give a clearer explanation why he chose to do a blogpost on this topic.

    Because raising awareness about systemic racism is the basic minimum necessary in order to change it.

    Anyway I think we need to remember that The Oscars are a closed loop Hollywood promotional construct. Insiders giving insiders awards to promote an industry that enriches insiders.

    And just like science and engineering and policing and corporate hierarchies and political offices, they have a diversity problem. Also, Hollywood may be a small community, but they tell the narratives that largely make up a global Anglophone culture. They have a real and significant influence on how people are socialised and how they behave and think in the wider world.

    Diversity is obviously important but FOCUSING on it so much with Oscar nominations seems a misplaced waste of energy.

    It’s only a waste of energy if you think that the status quo–the marginalisation and oppression of ethnic and gender minorities–is okay.

  41. says

    varady72 @15:

    The extreme left view that a film must receive an Oscar if a minority produced, directed, or starred in it is racism in itself.

    Who has said the above?
    It doesn’t help your position when you mischaracterize those you’re criticizing. Put down the straw and engage with reality. While you’re at it, quit spewing your ignorance on the issue of race for all the world to see. It’s not pretty. You can rectify this by educating yourself rather than pontificating about things you’re cluelessly ignorant on.

    ****

    Here’s more on the blind auditions for orchestra musicians that Ibis3 mentioned in #29–http://www.theguardian.com/women-in-leadership/2013/oct/14/blind-auditions-orchestras-gender-bias
    ****

    caseyrocks @32:

    So what, precisely, is the claim being made here? Why are so many people upset by this year’s nominations and why are they using this year to generalize to the entire Academy for all of time?

    I’m gonna call it now: this thread is going to be all about racism 101, bc I know 2 people who clearly need some edumacation.

  42. twas brillig (stevem) says

    ” but FOCUSING on it so much with Oscar nominations seems a misplaced waste of energy.
    varady72, you need to read what you, yourself wrote here. You, too, are FOCUSING on it so much. Do you like wasting your energy on defending a mal-distribuition of awards for talent in an industry of talent? Arguing that NO ONE is biased, that all of a single race are the most talented people in the industry, and Deserve to be nominated? And to deviate from that roster, by nominating people of color is pure quota-ism to appear non-biased, to follow the “Political Correctness” dogma that tears society apart; since clearly, the actors-of-color are less talented than those nominated, because, by definition, those nominated are The Best Performances of The Year? “Insiders voting for insiders”, means there can’t possibly be any bias in the votes, no, not all all, impossible, I tells ya.

  43. dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!" says

    @varady

    You’ve bloviated four times since I posed my challenge to you, but have not addressed it.

    Please, explain to us all why Ava DuVernay didn’t deserve a nod for Best Director, or why David Oyelowo didn’t deserve to be considerted for best actor.

  44. says

    Here’s Chris Rock speaking about racism in Hollywood.

    Here’s an article about how the recent Sony Pictures leak uncovered systemic racism in Hollywood.

    Here are black actresses and actors discussing racism in Hollywood.

    I think the problem people like caseyrock and Varady72 have is that they see racism as interactions on an individual level. It’s entirely likely that both of them are repulsed by overt manifestations of racism, such as use of racial slurs, or denying service to people of color. What I don’t think they see is that racism manifests on multiple levels, and perhaps most insidiously, has permeated society on all levels. I wonder if either of them recognizes the sociological definition of racism as power plus privilege (remember the fun we had the last time we discussed the definition of racism? You don’t?)

  45. says

    robertbaden @40:

    Nominating white women for best director would be no guarantee that any people of color would be nominated.

    Did someone say it would?
    And yes, Hollywood is also sexist.

  46. says

    Help, help, somebody is talking about racism! I demand an explenation or even better, an apology.

    Now, look, even if we accepted that all those white people were objectively best and that no PoC did something of similar quality that year it should raise some flags.
    How come that minority members did not perform as well as white people? Why weren’t they cast for more roles? Why didn’t they get into important roles in promising mainstream productions? Could bias have something to do with it? Could sentiments like “I can’t just cast a brow/black sounding lead and then expect people to finance the project” have something to do with it?
    No matter how you turn it, there’s a problem here, unless, of course, you simply declare that white people are inherently better at acting and directing, which people might call, you know, racist…

  47. woozy says

    Oh, joy. caseyrock likes me… Be still my heart.

    Statistics. 72 percent of America is white supposedly. (Which seems really high to me but what the hay…) That means if you pick n people evenly distributed the probability that the are all white will be .72^n. As there are 20 nominees the probability that the are all white is .72^20 = 0.0014016833953562607293918185758734….. = .14%.

    My non-inflamitory rhetoric was a method. Statistically this is significant so racism *is* happening somewhere. This actually *does* piss me off and is topic I think must be discussed.

  48. zenlike says

    Tony,

    I would suggest remedial because 101 is a bit of a too large first step for someone who thinks ‘political correctness’, ‘extreme left’, and ‘ I am so colour-blind you guys, seriously!’ are usefull additions to a debate about racism.

  49. Terska says

    I haven’t seen Selma yet. I lost interest after reading about its historically inaccurate portrayal of JBJ. He was no villain when it came to civil rights. He was about Vietnam most certainly. Bill Moyers wrote about the movie a few days ago. http://billmoyers.com/2015/01/15/bill-moyers-selma-lbj/ It gives Tea Partiers more ammo in the “Democrats are the real racists” propaganda war. When Twelve Years as Slave most deservedly won, Limbaugh was saying it was only because the movie was about African Americans. Now they can dismiss Selma as false propaganda.

  50. dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!" says

    @Terska

    So you won’t wastch the movie because it isn’t an LBJ hagiography? No one knows what discussions went on behind closed door and only someone with pathological devotion to the white savior narrative could take objection to his portrayal in the film.

  51. caseyrock says

    woozy,

    I was just asking for your methods. In the latest census, it said 77.7% of the U.S. is white, so not sure where the 72% comes from. The Oscars are for the U.S. only, right? They don’t include Canada or anything else like that. I only ask because you said “America.”

    At any rate, your stats are for general random draws from the population, but acting at the level that would get you an Oscar is hardly a random population of people. You’d have to take into account a lot of factors before you could come up with the probability of an all-white ballot. I mean, I could make a similar argument you are making about the Oscars about the NFL, where 68% of the players are black or about the NBA, where 76% of players are black. That’s strange too, right? The simple fact that there is a difference is strange, I agree, but it doesn’t tell us anything about why there is a difference.

  52. caseyrock says

    Woozy,

    You could also look at league owners and see that they are predominately white. In fact, in the NBA there is only one principle owner who isn’t white. Again, that doesn’t tell us anything about why.

  53. zenlike says

    caseyrock

    Again, that doesn’t tell us anything about why.

    Ocham’s razor. Racism is why. Really, it’s not that hard, in a country where there is systematic racism from the very beginning continuing to today, it follows quite normally that for example club owners are predominately from the ruling majority.

  54. says

    From my 3rd link @51:

    Actor Danny Glover branded Hollywood studio executives racist after having a difficult time finding financial backers for his biopic on revolutionary Haitian general Toussaint L’Ouverture.
    L’Ouverture led the militarized movement against the French to abolish slavery in Haiti in the late 1700s.
    In July 2008, Glover told a Paris film seminar: “Producers said, ‘It’s a nice project, a great project … Where are the white heroes?’” The Pan-African Newswire reports that Glover added: “I couldn’t get the money here. I couldn’t get the money in Britain. I went to everybody. … The first question you get is, ‘Is it a Black film?’ All of them agree, ‘It’s not going to do good in Europe, it’s not going to do good in Japan.’ Somebody has to prove that to be a lie.”

     

    In an interview with the International Business Times earlier this month, veteran actor Samuel Jackson said that Hollywood, by and large, still avoids dealing with modern-day racism. He said the popularity of ”12 Years A Slave” is an example of a movie that distracts viewers from the racism that still exists today.
    The actor said, “America is much more willing to acknowledge what happened in the past.”
    “Fruitvale Station,” Jackson noted, “tackled the issue of race in a far more forthright and braver way than ‘12 Years A Slave.’ It [Fruitvale Station] is a film about African-Americans – a dark period of history that they don’t like to explore in that particular way.”

     

    “Ray” actress Regina King blasted the organizers of the Emmy Awards for leaving significant African-American television actors off their 2010 shortlist, insisting officials snub non-white stars every year. In September 2008, King wrote an open letter questioning the selection process for the ceremonies. An excerpt from the letter read:
    “I try hard in my daily life not to engage in uncomfortable situations regarding race. But sometimes it’s very difficult to find other reasons that better explain why certain events play out the way they do. It is impossible for me to ignore the published statistics regarding the number of people of color mentioned, celebrated or honored in the history of the televised Emmys. Up to and including this year, there have been only 53 non-white actors nominated for Emmys out of nearly 1,000 possible nominations in the top four acting categories for drama and comedy. I’ve worked in television nearly all of my professional life and that statistic is quite sobering to me.”

     

    Actress Lonette McKee – who has written seven of her own screenplays and appeared in “Men of Honor,” “Luv,” and three of Spike Lee’s films (“Jungle Fever,” “He Got Game,” “Malcolm X”) – attributed the box-office failure of Lee’s recent body of work to Hollywood financiers finding the director’s outspokenness on Black people’s behalf offensive.
    “I think that has everything to do with marketing and promotion,” she said in a November 2012 interview.”I think that Spike has been a very outspoken advocate for rights of Black folks. He broke the glass ceiling and he’s never been a brown-noser. He’s never been able to suck up to white people and I think he tells them like it is, and a lot of them don’t like it. So when he goes to these big white powers to do his films, I think that they give him a bad deal in terms of marketing and promoting. If they pump the marketing money into what you are doing, you will peak again. He’s been an outspoken advocate for Black folks and the white people with the money don’t like it.”

    ****
    For those curious how I created a larger space between the blockquotes (one larger than simply clicking ‘enter’ twice)-
    Type nbsp; (preceded by this —> & )where you want to add more space between paragraphs

  55. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I was a young adult during Dr. King’s time. . .

    This is a white-people tell. It’s a bit subtle unless you pay attention over time. When a white person wants to use King’s corpse as a ventriloquist’s dummy ,the “Doctor King”s and “the Reverend Doctor King”s flow free and thick like treacle.

    Martin Luther King, Jr. was no fan of respectability politics. Or of the white moderate.

    But the Reverend Doctor King “didn’t see color,” and would be “disappointed if he were alive,” according to these white people. Doctor King is a color-blind, anodyne saint of the status quo.

    It’s perverse because it’s inaccurate. It’s gross because it’s an affected display of false respect. It’s cargo-cult deference, if you will. All the trappings of solemnity, none of the actual integrity.

  56. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Note: I am aware that “how do you know I’m white? That’s racist,” will show up any minute now after my comment. I won’t acknowledge or indulge it.

  57. corvidd says

    I think the reaction to this has been somewhat hyperbolic and speculative. To assign the absence of actors/actresses of color to racism is a pretty rash judgement in my view. That’s not to say that that there doesn’t need to be a push for diversification in a voting block that is overwhelmingly white and overwhelmingly male, but this same group nominated 12 Years A Slave for 6 awards last year, of which it won three.

  58. says

    @caseyrock

    I mean, I could make a similar argument you are making about the Oscars about the NFL, where 68% of the players are black or about the NBA, where 76% of players are black. That’s strange too, right? The simple fact that there is a difference is strange, I agree, but it doesn’t tell us anything about why there is a difference….You could also look at league owners and see that they are predominately white. In fact, in the NBA there is only one principle owner who isn’t white.

    Do you even read what you write?

    Yes, yes, and yes. Racism, racism, and racism. If you can’t figure this out, maybe you should obtain a bit more education.

  59. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Your “view” is noted, common, empty of any serious engagement, and dismissed.

  60. caseyrock says

    zenlike,

    Ocham’s razor. Racism is why. Really, it’s not that hard, in a country where there is systematic racism from the very beginning continuing to today, it follows quite normally that for example club owners are predominately from the ruling majority.

    Oh hell zenlike, of course that’s the answer. But it isn’t a very useful one. You can run around screaming racism all day long, but just how much of the current issue at hand (the award nominees) is racism and how much is just chance? For the part that is racism, where does the problem lie in this particular instance? The Academy appears to be one of the less racist institutions around, so just blaming them and saying they “need diversity training” isn’t really going to address the problem. Woozy wanted to talk about the issue, and so do I, so let’s talk about it. What’s the real problem? Do you think that the non-white actors who were passed over were more deserving of the nomination? If not, then why aren’t there more deserving non-white actors? If so, then why did the Academy, how has nominated non-white actors many times in the past, pass over deserving actors this time? The point is that if the current actors deserve their nominations, then maybe the problem lies deeper, with people who would be deserving not getting roles or not getting into the industry at all. More importantly, how is that problem addressed in daily life? For instance, can it change in a country where nearly 80% of the population is white? What if it just comes down to preference for storylines that appeal to one race and not the other? If that’s the case, then there isn’t much that can be done. I doubt it is, but it would be more useful if we talked about these issues rather than just shouting racism and trotting out the same old points about it being institutionalized.

    Here’s another problem. Can it be addressed? I mean, how far can we go with legislation that forces certain quotas in the industry? What about the fact that many of the studios are now owned by foreign investors? What about their biases? It’s complicated. I’m just looking to get thoughts that go deeper than “racism.”

  61. says

    corvidd @66:

    I think the reaction to this has been somewhat hyperbolic and speculative. To assign the absence of actors/actresses of color to racism is a pretty rash judgement in my view. That’s not to say that that there doesn’t need to be a push for diversification in a voting block that is overwhelmingly white and overwhelmingly male, but this same group nominated 12 Years A Slave for 6 awards last year, of which it won three.

    Someone ELSE who really needs to learn about implicit racial bias.
    Racism does not manifest solely in overt expressions of bigotry. Hell, if that was the only manifestation of racism, I think things would be a lot better. But the real problem is that racism in institutional. It’s built into the system. Remember slavery? Jim Crow? Black people have never been on a level playing field. Nor have Hispanic-Americans. Nor have Asian-Americans.

    Because the system was built to benefit white people.

  62. says

    caseyrock @69:

    Here’s another problem. Can it be addressed? I mean, how far can we go with legislation that forces certain quotas in the industry? What about the fact that many of the studios are now owned by foreign investors? What about their biases? It’s complicated. I’m just looking to get thoughts that go deeper than “racism.”

    That you dismiss racism as being at the core of the problem shows me how little you understand of the pernicious effects of racial bias. Especially given that when you dig down deep (where you’re claim to be looking), bias exists in all of us.

  63. caseyrock says

    Tony! The Queer Shoop,

    I’m not dismissing racism. I’m asking where it is most prominent, where the most gains can be made, and how we go about figuring that out. I’m sorry if that isn’t coming across clearly.

  64. says

    caseyrock #59:

    At any rate, your stats are for general random draws from the population, but acting at the level that would get you an Oscar is hardly a random population of people.

    If acting was a profession only taken up by a few dozen people, you might have a point.

    You’d have to take into account a lot of factors before you could come up with the probability of an all-white ballot.

    We are doing. If the system is one which noticeable favours any group, when that group’s defining characteristic isn’t one which we should expect to cause a bias (and skin colour does not influence talent), then there is, somewhere in the system, an unfair bias toward that group.

    Oh look: I just defined systemic racism.

    I mean, I could make a similar argument you are making about the Oscars about the NFL, where 68% of the players are black or about the NBA, where 76% of players are black. That’s strange too, right? The simple fact that there is a difference is strange, I agree, but it doesn’t tell us anything about why there is a difference.

    You could, but you’d be ignoring the oft-touted use of sport as a route out of poverty.

  65. corvidd says

    @Tony

    No arguments with regard to racism not being manifest solely in overt expressions of bigotry, I’m just unconvinced thus far that the absence of black nominees can be attributed automatically to racism. There have been plenty of black nominees/winners of Academy Awards in recent years, so to attribute this outlier solely to racism, or to argue that racial bias was the dominant reason for an absence of nominations, is a bit speculative in my opinion.

  66. JoeBuddha says

    Sorry, but I’m having a really hard time understanding why Oscar Nominee Selma, a film supposedly about Black History, has no Oscar-worthy actors. How do you create a first rate movie with second rate acting?

  67. caseyrock says

    Daz,

    You could, but you’d be ignoring the oft-touted use of sport as a route out of poverty.

    Except that research shows that sports isn’t a great way out of poverty. It works for some, but you’re more likely to make it if you come from an affluent family. http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2014/01/02/wanna-be-in-the-nba-it-helps-to-grow-up-rich/

    I’m asking where the problem lies. Yes there is racism, yes there is institutionalized racism, but saying those things doesn’t do much to pinpoint specific, actionable issues. I’m asking what people think is going on, specifically going on, to make sense of where the energy needs to be invested.

  68. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Even if you forget speculation about talent, forget which movies, actors or directors really deserve the Oscar. It’s all marketing and politics. What does it tell you about state of race in USA that only white people were considered important enough, have the right connections or were considered “marketable” enough to end up on these lists?

  69. says

    caseyrock

    What if it just comes down to preference for storylines that appeal to one race and not the other?

    Because that’s what, genetically fixed?
    1. You talk about storylines. What do you mean? White people enjoy one set of stories, black people a different line?
    What I hear is: There are stereotypical “black” movies and white people don’t want to see them.
    Apparently you don’t think that black people can just have lives that are somewhat similar to those white people have. That they cannot have silly romantic comedies, that they cannot have lives that would credibly take them to the same point where a white character starts their journey. That they don’t think and worry and have emotional troubles and existential crisis and stuff like white people do. That they cannot be lovers and heroes and anti-heroes and nerdy computer specialists and scheming coworkers and restaurant owners and neurotic scientists and all the bazillion other roles for which white people get cast. That the only role for a black person is that of the “black person”.

    2. Or do you actually just mean “white people won’t pay for a story with black people”
    Speak for yourself. Some of us are actually enjoying movies and series with black people in them. Some of us actually enjoy the original Japanese version of movies and don’t have to wait until Hollywood whitewashes them for us. Please, don’t insult all white people by declaring us to be as narrow minded as you apparently are.

  70. kappa11 says

    How often do we get a year with all white Oscars ? I don’t think a single occurrence means that Hollywood is racist.

    Given the number of black people in the entertainment business I think that you could argue that they are over represented in the public eye. Cracked had an article criticising the american media as presenting America as black and white and ignoring most other ethnic groups. It seems wierd to me to talk about blacks being underrepresented when Latinos are almost invisible.

    A second factor is the overseas market which is increasingly important for Hollywood. In the long term we may see fewer black and white actors and more asians.

  71. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    caseyrock,

    I’m asking where it is most prominent, where the most gains can be made, and how we go about figuring that out. I’m sorry if that isn’t coming across clearly.

    I’m sure most gains can be made in starting squabbles about people not taking up the “right” way to fight racism. That sure is productive.

  72. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Giliell,

    Actually, a lot of white people won’t pay to see a story about black people, just like a lot men won’t pay to see stories about women. Stories about white men are for everyone, of course.

    So caseyrock has a point, it’s just not the one they think they’re making. The point is a lot of unconscious racism piled on top of all the conscious racism.

  73. Uncle Ebeneezer says

    The extreme left view that a film must receive an Oscar if a minority produced, directed, or starred in it is racism in itself.

    Pfft. Maybe the moderates want that! At the last Red Hill meeting with me and my Leftist Hollywood Comrades we spent most of the time debating whether the answer is to: 1.) give every PoC in the US an honorary Oscar, or 2.) to simply make all White people ineligible. These things always seem to end with everyone pointing at each other and accusing them of not hating White people enough. It makes it nearly impossible to advance our agenda, which is probably the best explanation for the mostly-beige trend in Oscar nominees/winners, historically.

  74. says

    @caseyrock

    Can it be addressed?

    Maybe. When people stop kyboshing every attempt to improve the situation with derailing bullshit like pushing the idea that what is clearly a result of systemic oppression is actually “just chance”. We can’t change chance anyway, so why not FOCUS on the systems we can see are racist–from encouraging children of colour to pursue creative arts all the way to funding and producing films by PoC and giving PoC parts (especially casting them against type) and finally to improving the diversity of the nomination process, whether by giving disadvantaged projects more publicity or increasing the diversity of the voting membership or having an internal campaign to promote awareness of the Academy’s systemic racism and have a call for the voters to voluntarily do what they can to fight their own biases.

    I mean, how far can we go with legislation that forces certain quotas in the industry?

    Who the fuck said anything about legislating quotas? There are so many more solutions to all the problems to attempt before calling in the big stick.

    Oh and “chance”? That’s the answer when all other variables have been eliminated. So why keep bringing it into the conversation? It’s so obviously an appeal to a just world that doesn’t actually exist.

  75. David Marjanović says

    He wanted us to mingle socially.

    Done.

    O RLY? I’ve been on public transport in several cities in the US. White people are dramatically underrepresented there, compared to how many of them are running around in the streets. How come?

    We don’t have a quota system, thank God, in our country

    The trick is that you do: by default, there’s a quota of 80 to 100 % white men for just about everything.

    I’m against quotas, too. Recognize the quotas you have, and then do something against them.

    You can run around screaming racism all day long, but just how much of the current issue at hand (the award nominees) is racism and how much is just chance?

    …woozy just calculated the probability that it’s chance alone, and then walked you through the calculation again.

  76. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I mean, how far can we go with legislation that forces certain quotas in the industry?

    Only right wing bigots mention quotas. Nice tell. Your views are known.
    The NFL had a problem where the coaches weren’t matching players in color. So the NFL instigate a rule, where for every white coach interviewed for a top position, a black coach had to be interviewed to. It said nothing about who got hired. But it said, open the door.

  77. woozy says

    I was just asking for your methods. In the latest census, it said 77.7% of the U.S. is white, so not sure where the 72% comes from.

    My mistake. .78 ^ 20 = .66%. 2 out of 3000.

    At any rate, your stats are for general random draws from the population, but acting at the level that would get you an Oscar is hardly a random population of people.

    Of course. That was my point. Racially inequal results require racially inequal factors. We have racially inequal factors and we need to note them.

    , I could make a similar argument you are making about the Oscars about the NFL, where 68% of the players are black or about the NBA, where 76% of players are black. That’s strange too, right?

    Again. Racial inequality require racially inequal factors. We have racially inequal factors and we need to note them.

    The simple fact that there is a difference is strange, I agree, but it doesn’t tell us anything about why there is a difference.

    And that’s where we and our discussion come in. What the heck is going on? Time for us to discuss that and figure it out.

    You could also look at league owners and see that they are predominately white. In fact, in the NBA there is only one principle owner who isn’t white. Again, that doesn’t tell us anything about why.

    So your argument seems to be racism exists somewhere else so we have to assume it is normal so we shouldn’t talk about racism here else because it could be the same type of racism as there and that racism was utterly normal and no-one should talk about that racism so we shouldn’t talk about this racism either.

  78. zenlike says

    caseyrock

    how much of the current issue at hand (the award nominees) is racism and how much is just chance? For the part that is racism

    Well the statistical chance has been explained above.

    , where does the problem lie in this particular instance? The Academy appears to be one of the less racist institutions around

    First of all, citation need, second of all, I’m not saying the academy is a group consisting of hardcore racists who made this decision because they hate blacks.

    , so just blaming them and saying they “need diversity training” isn’t really going to address the problem

    Good thing I don’t blame them and I never stated they needed diversity training then. Any other points you want to be dishonest about?

    For instance, can it change in a country where nearly 80% of the population is white? What if it just comes down to preference for storylines that appeal to one race and not the other? If that’s the case, then there isn’t much that can be done.

    Ah, another status quo warrior. Kindly fuck off.

    I doubt it is, but it would be more useful if we talked about these issues rather than just shouting racism and trotting out the same old points about it being institutionalized.

    But it is institutionalised, something you stated yourself:

    then maybe the problem lies deeper, with people who would be deserving not getting roles or not getting into the industry at all.

    Yeah, we’re done here. Please read I primer on racism and it’s history, or hell, maybe even a short definition of racism.

  79. caseyrock says

    Ibis,

    Who the fuck said anything about legislating quotas? There are so many more solutions to all the problems to attempt before calling in the big stick.

    I did and it was a question. So far, no one has given any reasonable answers to anything, all they do is say racism exists and stop questioning it. I’m not questioning it, I’m asking how to address it.

    Your answer seems to be that we should start young by encouraging kids to pursue the creative arts and that we should follow up on that with increased funding for films, parts, etc. for POC. Okay. Now, how do we distribute the limited resources we have? How do we decide how much goes to POC and how much goes to white people? How do we decide that without racism being a factor?

    Also, since you have suggested that the Academy has systemic racism, can you explain what that is in that specific format? How is the Academy systemically racist and how can we address that? So far, you’ve been the only one to give any actual options, so I’d like to keep the discussion going if you will indulge me.

  80. woozy says

    Actually, a lot of white people won’t pay to see a story about black people, just like a lot men won’t pay to see stories about women. Stories about white men are for everyone, of course.

    So caseyrock has a point, it’s just not the one they think they’re making. The point is a lot of unconscious racism piled on top of all the conscious racism.

    Which is still racism. And bears noting and discussion.

    I mean the headline is just an existential statement “Hey, look!” And our discussion in the appropriate response. “Whoa! Something’s wrong!”.

  81. unclefrogy says

    well I remember that the Oscars and the Academy are a trade organization and the awards started in a bar. It is not a critics award or one by historians it is an award from a trade organization.

    The Oscars are in large part a promotion, they promote the nominees and winners and they are a promotion of movies generally. They are about raising the status and profile to a higher art and cultural relevance out of the normal practice that it is as practiced by Hollywood a business first. What sells to what demographic.

    What the awards tell us is what movies get produced and what movies get promoted.

    uncle frogy

  82. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @varady72:

    And I am still waiting for PZ Myers to give a clearer explanation why he chose to do a blogpost on this topic.

    I’m still waiting for your mom to give a clearer explanation why she chose to get pregnant with what became you.

    And I’m still waiting for you to give a clearer explanation why you read this website.

    But then, I don’t get to chose who says what to whom, when, or what other people decide is an important topic of conversation, much less the style with which they say it, clear, obfuscatory, or otherwise.

    Seriously, arrogant much?

  83. caseyrock says

    woozy,

    So your argument seems to be racism exists somewhere else so we have to assume it is normal so we shouldn’t talk about racism here else because it could be the same type of racism as there and that racism was utterly normal and no-one should talk about that racism so we shouldn’t talk about this racism either.

    No, not at all. My argument is that we can see bias in a number of places, but that direct racism isn’t the answer to that bias. Indirect racism is, but uncovering that and dealing with it are much harder. It’s easy to say, for instance, that you can’t choose employees based on skin color, and yet you know it happens. So, how do you address that? More importantly, how to you address the fact that even if employees aren’t being chosen based on skin color, that skin color probably affected their ability to achieve certain grades, go to certain schools, etc.? How do you address the inequality in a way that is appropriate for everyone? These are the questions I’m interested in because they are the ones that need to be addressed and the ones that are much harder to address.

  84. toska says

    For those who seem to think it’s just a coincidence that there happen to be no POC nominated this year and that there is a deficit of female nominations (except in categories that are specifically for actresses), I invite you to read this breakdown from the LA TImes. It gives demographic information on those who vote for Oscar winners as well as the entire history of Oscar winners: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/academy/la-et-unmasking-oscar-academy-project-20120219-story.html#page=1

    Does 2% sound representative of African Americans in this country? And what about women? Are there fewer women than men in this country? Is that why they are so poorly represented in Hollywood (among other industries)? Give me a break . . .

    It’d also be interesting to compare the ages of the female nominees with their male counterparts. From the pictures in the OP, it looks like there are several middle aged or older men, but the women seem to be quite young (with the exception of Streep). It’s not like older actresses are discriminated against in any way, right Russel Crowe? I’m sure it’s all a coincidence, not a pattern or prejudice or anything.

  85. says

    beatrics
    Of course that’s true. The so-called “monomyth”: white man saves the world. From LotR to James Bond. Don’t forget whoever gets played by Basildip Kummerbund.
    But of course that’s not written in stone, though technically it might even be. Things can change, but they won’t change as long as white people start whining whenever somebody notices that they’re not exactly farting rainbows.
    I know you agree with that, I’m just using it to elaborate on it.

  86. says

    caseyrock #76:

    You could, but you’d be ignoring the oft-touted use of sport as a route out of poverty.

    Except that research shows that sports isn’t a great way out of poverty. It works for some, but you’re more likely to make it if you come from an affluent family. [link]

    Okay, so it merely turns out that the sports bodies you mention aren’t as systemically racist as the movie industry. Given that I find the idea of an industry prejudiced toward black people, erm, laughable at best, my only answer to why black people appear to do so well in some sports is ‘I don’t know.’ Is it possible there’s prejudice involved? Sure, but given the direction of the prejudices at large in the surrounding society, I highly bloody doubt it.

    I’m asking where the problem lies. Yes there is racism, yes there is institutionalized racism, but saying those things doesn’t do much to pinpoint specific, actionable issues. I’m asking what people think is going on, specifically going on, to make sense of where the energy needs to be invested.

    Well the non-selection of Selma would seem to point to there being a problem in the nomination process, for starters. If it turns out that fewer non-white actors are achieving the level of excellence required, then I’d want to look at what was stopping them doing so.

    But statements like your ‘The simple fact that there is a difference is strange, I agree, but it doesn’t tell us anything about why there is a difference.’ do not help. The ‘why’ is quite obviously racism. What form that racism takes, where in the system it occurs, whether it’s unconscious or actively malicious, and a host of related issues; those are the questions we need to ask.

    And frankly, given that your first statement of any real content on this thread was to deny, against all common sense, the statistical usefulness of the group ‘actors of excellence,’ I kinda mistrust your intent. I hope I’m wrong: please prove me to be.

  87. says

    varady72 #4

    So every year the academy MUST nominate some minimal quota of films featuring people of color, or films about women, or films about Native Americans, or films about kicked dogs, or any number of countless minorities, regardless of the quality of the films themselves? What if those films and the performances in them are terrible, and not worthy of a nomination? Are you suggesting that it can’t be possible?

    Yes. Absent any discrimination at some point along the chain of event, this consistent result is so unlikely as to be beyond serious consideration.

    Now, to what degree the discrimination occurs at the point of socio-economic status, education priorities, funding opportunities, who-you-know connections, or the actual selection of nominees; that’s up for discussion. It’s also rather irrelevant for the discussion at hand: Discrimination is occurring.

    caseyrock #59

    At any rate, your stats are for general random draws from the population, but acting at the level that would get you an Oscar is hardly a random population of people.

    Are you suggesting that the white population has a statistical advantage for greater acting ability? Or maybe screen play writing? If not, then how do you propose to account to this discrepancy?

  88. caseyrock says

    toska,

    Thanks for the article. It’s a good read with some interesting views from all sides of the argument. It helps to put the Academy into perspective.

  89. caseyrock says

    LykeX,

    Are you suggesting that the white population has a statistical advantage for greater acting ability? Or maybe screen play writing? If not, then how do you propose to account to this discrepancy?

    Nope. I’m suggesting that direct racism may not be to account, but rather that other factors, including the lasting effects of racism that have led to socioeconomic issues, issues in education, and so forth, may be to blame. More importantly, I’m saying that some of these factors are probably more important than others and I’d like to know which because we have only a limited number of resources to throw at this thing and I’d like to get the most effect.

  90. says

    caseyrock @91:

    did and it was a question. So far, no one has given any reasonable answers to anything, all they do is say racism exists and stop questioning it. I’m not questioning it, I’m asking how to address it.

    Here’s a post I wrote: Hope in the face of systemic racism. I discuss a few things that can help shatter unconscious stereotypes.

    Here is an NPR article on How to fight racial bias when its silent and subtle.

    This article discusses (among other things) how both the Cosby Show and Ellen have helped shatter stereotypes of race and sexuality.

    There’s information out there on how to fight racial bias and it’s not hard to locate.

  91. says

    caseyrock @102:

    Nope. I’m suggesting that direct racism may not be to account, but rather that other factors, including the lasting effects of racism that have led to socioeconomic issues, issues in education, and so forth, may be to blame.

    I think I just facepalmed myself nearly to death.
    The lasting effects of racism that have led to the problems you’re referring to? That’s part of the problem of systemic racism that we’re talking about!

  92. David Marjanović says

    That they cannot be lovers and heroes and anti-heroes and nerdy computer specialists and scheming coworkers and restaurant owners and neurotic scientists and all the bazillion other roles for which white people get cast. That the only role for a black person is that of the “black person”.

    Just like The Smurfette Principle, which states that the only role for a woman is that of the “woman”.

  93. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    So far, no one has given any reasonable answers to anything, all the

    Easy peasy, realize you have privileges, like me, being white, male, cis, well educated, and a few others. By acknowledging I have those privileges, and if I want to increase the diversity in my field, there are several ways to help the situation. Say, somebody asks me for award nominations or speaker recommendations. I would give them say five names, and not all will be cis white male. If we need to fill a position at work, again, interview some who aren’t obviously cis white male. No quotas involved, but the door is open, because the talent pool is bigger than many folks believe.
    What you have to do is to make sure you aren’t excluding, either consciously or unconsciously, non cis white males. That is bigotry.

  94. says

    corvidd @74:

    No arguments with regard to racism not being manifest solely in overt expressions of bigotry, I’m just unconvinced thus far that the absence of black nominees can be attributed automatically to racism. There have been plenty of black nominees/winners of Academy Awards in recent years, so to attribute this outlier solely to racism, or to argue that racial bias was the dominant reason for an absence of nominations, is a bit speculative in my opinion.

    This reeks of we have a black President, thus racism is over. That there have been African-American nominees and winner of Academy Awards in years past does not therefore mean that there are no unconscious racial biases in the mind of the people (probably a bunch of white men) choosing the nominees.

  95. toska says

    corvidd @74

    There have been plenty of black nominees/winners of Academy Awards in recent years

    Define “plenty.” Because the number of black nominees of Academy Awards is sure as hell not representative.

  96. caseyrock says

    Tony! The Queer Shoop,

    I don’t think I’d be bringing up the Cosby show at the present moment, but I do appreciate all of the links. I’m reading them now.

  97. corvidd says

    @Tony

    I wasn’t suggesting that racial bias couldn’t have been a factor, I’ve never met any of the current Academy members, let alone done an analysis to confirm that racial bias is inhibiting their ability ( in a minority or en masse ) to conduct a fair nomination process. I just think there was an immediate rush to judgement, and blaming the absence of black nominees on racism was/is premature. It could or could not be as a result of racism. Or perhaps racial bias was only a partial factor, and the voters, primarily, genuinely believed that the nominees selected deserved their nominations ahead of those who weren’t chosen and that’s what accounts for this outlier.

  98. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’m not white.

    Two responses. Who the fuck cares? And why aren’t you getting it? It isn’t hard to be inclusive, you just make sure first you aren’t exclusive.

  99. caseyrock says

    Tony! The Queer Shoop,

    The NPR article is really good. I haven’t gotten to yours yet. Basically it’s saying that we are all more Pavolvian than we like to think and that counter-sterotypical situations are better at diffusing unconscious racial bias than overt methods or even exposure to the plights of other races. Very, very interesting. I’ll be looking up more research on that. Thanks so much for putting it on my radar.

  100. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I just think there was an immediate rush to judgement, and blaming the absence of black nominees on racism was/is premature. It could or could not be as a result of racism. O

    You think? Why not present some third party evidence to back up your claims? Maybe you have some preconceptions that won’t hold up to third party evidence.

  101. says

    corvidd

    I just think there was an immediate rush to judgement, and blaming the absence of black nominees on racism was/is premature.

    By now “racial bias” is the well substantiated null hypothesis. It’s not reasonable to believe that extremely uneven results are all due to factors other than bias. You may want to kid yourself that it ain’t so, but in the end that’s telling yourself a comfortable story.

  102. johnnyboy says

    The academy has awarded Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker, Jamie Foxx, Cuba Gooding Jr., Morgan Freeman, and Sidney Poitier with best actor or supporting actor awards. (Denzel twice) Denzel, Freeman, and Sidney have racked up many other nominations as well. Don Cheadle, James Earl Jones, Paul Winfield, Dexter Gordon, Lawrence Fishburne, Terrance Howard, Will Smith, Rupert Crosse, Howard Rollins, Lous Gossett Jr, Adolph Caesar, Jaye Davidson, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Clarke Duncan, Djimon Hounsou twice, Eddy Murphy, Barkhad Abdi, and Chiwetel Ejiofor from last year’s 12 years a slave have also picked up best actor/supporting actor nominations. And that’s just the guy’s side. Halle Berry won in 2001 for best actress, other black women nominated over the decades are Dorothy Dandridge (1954), Diana Ross and Cicely Tyson both in 1972, Diahann Carroll in 1974, Whoopi Goldberg in 1985, Angela Bassett in 1993, Gabourey Sidibe in 2009, Viola Davis in 2011, and Quvenzhane Wallis in 2012. And that’s just for best actress in a leading roll. Many black women have won and been nominated for supporting actress like Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg won in 1990, Jennifer Hudson won in 2006, and three of the last six winning supporting actresses have been african american. (Mo’Nique in 2009, Octavia Spencer in 2011, and last year’s Lupita Nyong’o in 12 years a slave) Along with many other’s being nominated over the decades.
    African Americans still make up a minority of the population in this country and Hollywood as well. Some years the dice just roll a certain way. The fact that all the acting nominations this year are white isn’t an issue people. Pull the sticks out of your asses.

  103. corvidd says

    @toska

    Well in the past 5 years there have been 10 black nominees for the 4 actor/actress categories. There are 5 slots for each of those categories so overall that’s 100 possible nomination places. So 10 %.

  104. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Johnnyboy, you don’t get to ignore the clear, uncontroversial, not in dispute fact that the Academy has systematically slighted people of color. This is not a matter of opinion. It’s just a dry, statistical fact. It’s not in controversy. You know that throwing out examples of black actors being recognized does not negate this statistical underrepresentation. I know you know it, and you know that we know you know it.

    You don’t get to lie that way.

  105. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The academy has awarded

    Nothing to do with this year. Why don’t you get that?

  106. says

    caseyrock

    How do you address the inequality in a way that is appropriate for everyone?

    Does this mean, how do you address the inequality in a way that maintains the privilege of the classes who are already favoured?
    Does this mean, how do you address the inequality in a way that ignores the disadvantages of and obstacles faced by minority classes on the basis of their minority status alone?
    Does this mean, how do you address the inequality in a way that pretends that the rewards society bestows already go to the most deserving?
    Does this mean, how do you address the inequality in a way that we must waste all of our time and resources having to demonstrate yet again for the deniers that just like every other time the inequality is a real result of systemic social forces and not either chance or nature, even though human beings are not spherical bovines existing in vacuums?

  107. says

    Amazing.
    It’s the 87th Academy Awards and it’s possible to put all the black nominees and winners into a text that is less than one screen long while still adding lots of other text but racism isn’t an issue.
    People. How do they work?

  108. A. Noyd says

    corvidd (#112)

    I’ve never met any of the current Academy members, let alone done an analysis to confirm that racial bias is inhibiting their ability ( in a minority or en masse ) to conduct a fair nomination process. I just think there was an immediate rush to judgement

    For fuck’s sake. If you knew anything at all about how racism actually works, your null hypothesis for why people of color repeatedly get snubbed in the Academy Awards would be “because of racism.” (Heh, I wrote this before seeing Giliell’s #116.)

    Or perhaps racial bias was only a partial factor, and the voters, primarily, genuinely believed that the nominees selected deserved their nominations

    Okay, explain how that kind of genuine belief is not compatible with racial bias.

  109. caseyrock says

    Ibis3,

    Does this mean, how do you address the inequality in a way that maintains the privilege of the classes who are already favoured?
    Does this mean, how do you address the inequality in a way that ignores the disadvantages of and obstacles faced by minority classes on the basis of their minority status alone?
    Does this mean, how do you address the inequality in a way that pretends that the rewards society bestows already go to the most deserving?
    Does this mean, how do you address the inequality in a way that we must waste all of our time and resources having to demonstrate yet again for the deniers that just like every other time the inequality is a real result of systemic social forces and not either chance or nature, even though human beings are not spherical bovines existing in vacuums?

    How do you address the inequality in a way that:
    A. Doesn’t harm one marginalized group at the same time?
    B. Doesn’t worsen race relations and make life harder for minorities who live in more racist areas of the country?
    C. Ensures that resources have the most impact?
    D. Provides a way of assessing impact so that efforts can be made better in the future?
    E. It isn’t seen as charity, but actually opportunity to realize potential in an equal environement?
    F. Addresses the fact that some people are racist and will never change?
    etc., etc.

  110. David Marjanović says

    African Americans still make up a minority of the population in this country and Hollywood as well. Some years the dice just roll a certain way. The fact that all the acting nominations this year are white isn’t an issue[,] people. Pull the sticks out of your asses.

    Scroll up and read the calculation for how often we should expect the dice to roll that particular way.

  111. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Where do these people come from when these threads appear at Pharyngula? I’m serious. Where do they come from? It’s simply not credible to claim you’re unaware of VERY basic, simple facts about unconscious and systemic racial bias if you’re a regular reader here. You can’t be. You have to either be deliberately ignoring everything you’ve read, or you need to be the kind of troll that is attracted to any liberal blog for sport.

  112. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Caseyrock

    How do you address the inequality in a way that:

    Until YOU present some suggestions, shut the fuck up with your questions. YOU tell us what we should do. You are deaf to what we are saying.

  113. says

    Or perhaps … the voters, primarily, genuinely believed that the nominees selected deserved their nominations

    Okay, explain how that kind of genuine belief is not compatible with racial bias.

    THIS. Internalized bias is internal–but it is still bias. Jesus F. Christ on a raft, how hard is this to understand?

  114. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Oh, and Casyrock, JAQing off, like you are doing is a form of concern trolling, type 1.

  115. Grewgills says

    I haven’t gone through all of the comments, so I’m not sure if this has been addressed.
    Several people have made comparisons to ethnic and sex distribution in the US to indicate what the nominations should approach if the nominations were fairly distributed on merit. Thing is, while ~12% of the population is African American that is not the percentage of movies made by African Americans that have the budget and the backing to be in contention. That isn’t to say that racism, sexism, etc don’t play a role here, but to say that the biggest role they play comes much earlier. The movies the studios are willing to green light and support to a level that they could be in contention is skewed. That happens for a variety of reasons. The reason the studio execs think they are basing their decision on is green rather than any other color, but it’s their baked in bias that makes them think that it is white that makes green. That puts blinders on them that mean a lot of good movies don’t ever get made, much less nominated.

  116. caseyrock says

    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls,

    I don’t really care what you have to say. Plenty of people have offered interesting insight and links to great information (Tony!, for instance) without dismissing my race as you have done.

  117. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Plenty of people have offered interesting insight and links to great information (Tony!, for instance) without dismissing my race as you have done.

    Who the fuck cares concern troll.
    Answer the question.
    WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO MAKE A TRUE COLOR/SEXIST BLIND SOCIETY.
    Put up or shut the fuck up loser.

  118. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    If we’re supposed to believe that since whites are a majority, we should expect them to be represented more often, why is it that they are underrepresented in the poverty dimension in the census?

    11.7% of the white population are in poverty, reported in 2007-2011 ACS. 25.8% of the black population were in poverty. The national average was 14.2%.

    Why are we supposed to believe that on one hand that there is a true meritocracy since there is a majority of white folk in the USA whenever good shit ALWAYS happens to them in white owned institutions? And yes, Hollywood is a white-owned institution.

    I mean, hey, instead of moaning about how this article isn’t faaaaaaiiiiiiir, we talk about what really isn’t fair? Just a suggestion. It might make you seem like less of an asshole if you weren’t solely concerned about maintaining the little fabrication that there isn’t an obvious cultural disadvantage to being black.

  119. Terska says

    @dysomniak Yeah that’s me. I need my white heroes. lol.

    I’m not going to take my kids to a movie about one of the most important topics in recent American history that got something so wrong. It promotes the idea that Democrats didn’t support the Civil Rights movement and that Southern Democrats didn’t leave for the GOP. There were people there. The truth in this event is plenty interesting on it’s own. Johnson took a huge risk is supporting the Civil Rights movement. He split the Democratic Party and lost the South to the GOP forever.
    For all his flaws he at least deserves to be credited for his support and the risk he took for it. It is historically factual and makes the events more interesting and complicated than the falsehood presented in the movie.

    From Moyers’ web site….
    “As for how the film portrays Lyndon B. Johnson: There’s one egregious and outrageous portrayal that is the worst kind of creative license because it suggests the very opposite of the truth, in this case, that the president was behind J. Edgar Hoover’s sending the “sex tape” to Coretta King. Some of our most scrupulous historians have denounced that one. And even if you want to think of Lyndon B. Johnson as vile enough to want to do that, he was way too smart to hand Hoover the means of blackmailing him.

    Then, casting the president as opposed to the Selma march, which the film does, is an exaggeration and misleading. He was concerned that coming less than a year after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, there was little political will in Congress to deal with voting rights. As he said to Martin Luther King Jr., “You’re an activist; I’m a politician,” and politicians read the tide of events better than most of us read the hands on our watch. The president knew he needed public sentiment to gather momentum before he could introduce and quickly pass a voting rights bill. So he asked King to give him more time to bring Southern “moderates” and the rest of the country over to the cause, but once King made the case that blacks had waited too long for too little, Johnson told him: “Then go out there and make it possible for me to do the right thing.”

    “I was standing very near him, off to his right, and he was more emotionally and bodily into that speech than I had seen him in months. The nation was electrified. Watching on television, Martin Luther King Jr. wept. This is the moment when the film blows the possibility for true drama — of history happening right before our eyes.To my knowledge he never suggested Selma as the venue for a march but he’s on record as urging King to do something to arouse the sleeping white conscience, and when violence met the marchers on that bridge, he knew the moment had come: He told me to alert the speechwriters to get ready and within days he made his own famous “We Shall Overcome” address that transformed the political environment. Here the film is very disappointing. The director has a limpid president speaking in the Senate chamber to a normal number of senators as if it were a “ho hum” event. In fact, he made that speech where State of the Union addresses are delivered – in a packed House of Representatives. I was standing very near him, off to his right, and he was more emotionally and bodily into that speech than I had seen him in months. The nation was electrified. Watching on television, Martin Luther King Jr. wept. This is the moment when the film blows the possibility for true drama — of history happening right before our eyes.
    So it’s a powerful but flawed film. Go see it, though – it’s good to be reminded of a time when courage on the street is met by a moral response from power.”

  120. Zeppelin says

    Can we start getting annoyed yet when people refer to “white” Americans as “Caucasians” in English? Because that’s a) completely inaccurate, b) kinda racist because it suggests there’s a common origin and biological basis to “whiteness”, and c) erases people who actually are from the Caucasus.

  121. Maureen Brian says

    johnnyboy @ 117,

    That’s a nice list you have there. If you looked only at the winners, though, you’d soon spot that a significant proportion of those who got the Oscars were not from the USA. Start with Sidney Poitier and proceed to Lupita Nyong’o.

    I dunno! Perhaps a Black kid can get a better start in life, develop confidence and ambition, in somewhere that is not America.

    Now, would that be racism?

  122. says

    I was a young adult during Dr. King’s time and I consider him a great man. However, I feel he would be disappointed.

    He would have been particularly disappointed to find out that black people still get shot because of their skin color. I could understand entirely how that might be a hot issue with him.

  123. says

    @16, Anne Fenwick

    Nope, eligibility is solely based on having been released in Los Angeles. Foreign language films are rarely nominated (and never win) but many films that were technically British movies have won. The Artist is a French movie, but it has almost no dialogue so it also doesn’t count.

  124. Grewgills says

    Just read the link on ”Unmasking the Oscar Academy” and saw some of the names. The “best and brightest” in the industry apparently include Jaclyn Smith and Gavin MacLeod. When I think about great acting I always immediately think about “Charlie’s Angels” the “Love Boat”, yup it’s all about meritocracy.

  125. Fern says

    johnnyboy @117: Wow, that’s a nice long list you’ve got there. Just out of curiosity, I made a list of all the White guys who have won Best Actor awards since the first year you cite (1954): Marlon Brando (twice), Ernest Borgnine, Alec Guinness, David Niven, Charlton Heston, Burt Lancaster, Maximilian Schell, Gregory Peck, Rex Harrison, Lee Marvin, Paul Scofield, Rod Steiger, Cliff Robertson, John Wayne, George C. Scott, Gene Hackman, Jack Lemmon, Art Carney, Jack Nicholson (twice), Peter Finch, Richard Dreyfuss, John Voight, Dustin Hoffman (twice), Henry Fonda, Robert Duvall, F. Murray Abraham, William Hurt, Paul Newman, Michael Douglas, Daniel Day-Lewis (three times), Jeremy Irons, Anthony Hopkins, Al Pacino, Tom Hanks, Nicolas Cage, Geoffrey Rush, Roberto Benigni, Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Adrien Brody, Sean Penn (twice), Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeff Bridges, Colin Firth, Jean Dujardin, and Matthew McConaughey. Notice, that list is just for Best Actor winners, and it’s longer than your entire list of African-American winners and nominees for all acting categories. Gosh, making lists is fun!

  126. says

    Black actors frequently complain that they are offered a very narrow range of parts. There are running jokes about the gritty white cop and his steady, serious black partner. The partner dies in the first ten minutes and is replaced by a hot white woman. Once you’re aware of the trope, you’ll see it over and over (and groan a lot). Black actors also get offered a lot of shallow supporting roles, like judges and doctors, which is the film industry’s way of acknowledging that yes, there really are black judges and doctors. But blacks rarely get the sort of highly memorable challenging and complex starring roles that get Oscar attention, unless it’s in a film which specifically addresses race (like Selma), which of course was accused of being “polarizing.”

  127. bryanfeir says

    Just read the link on ”Unmasking the Oscar Academy” and saw some of the names. The “best and brightest” in the industry apparently include Jaclyn Smith and Gavin MacLeod. When I think about great acting I always immediately think about “Charlie’s Angels” the “Love Boat”, yup it’s all about meritocracy.

    Not to mention that Gavin MacLeod has gone full-bore evangelical Christian in the last while, including appearances on the 700 club and starring in a couple of direct-to-church-basement Christian films.

    <snark>When I think of lack of racism I always think of U.S. Evangelical Christians.</snark>

  128. says

    All I can hear is, “But it can’t be racism! No crosses were burnt, and nobody used any slurs! Plus, it’s not like institutional racism could be expected from an overwhelmingly white electorate in an industry which has historically ignored or whitewashed stories by and about people of colour! That’s just unpossible, how can an entire institution’s long history of racist practices mean that there’s institutional racism? Sounds like reverse racism to me!”
     
    Like, seriously, what the hell motivates someone to steadfastly insist that a long-term, statistically significant data set showing bias based on skin colour can’t possibly be racism? Why do people want to defend this indefensible thing?
     
    That’s the part I don’t get. Why is defending this so important?

  129. kappa11 says

    There are a lot of well known and well paid African american media personalities

    It is strange that the debate is about African americans when so many other ethnic groups are almost invisible in American media.

    Is there any correlation between how an ethnic group does at the Oscars and their socioeconomic status ?

    How is this supposed to help ?

  130. scienceavenger says

    @146 There are a lot of well known and well paid African american media personalities

    Define “a lot”. People have shown here repeatedly, with actual data, that the proportion of them is far below what a post-racial society should expect. That’s what “bias” means. It doesn’t mean you won’t see any. That’s why the “we have a black president so we don’t have racism” is such a stupid argument.

    It is strange that the debate is about African americans when so many other ethnic groups are almost invisible in American media.

    Ah, the old “your complaints aren’t valid because other groups have bigger complaints” canard. Denied. Further, since blacks are one of the groups most effected by racism in our society, and the most easily identified, it isn’t strange at all.

    How is this supposed to help ?

    Well, the first step in solving a problem is admitting you have one.

  131. rq says

    I’m still shocked by people’s inability to see consistent systemic racism even as it is being pointed out to them with giant flashing lights.
    Honestly, if the reason no black actors are nominated is because black directors and black writers don’t get the funding to do the same-quality films as white people, this is still racism within the system. Maybe even worse, since it doesn’t even give the black actors and directors and writers a chance to compete for the Oscars. And then, in a truly post-racial society, one would think that the one time an excellent film written, starring and directed by black people is made, people selecting nominations would actually bother to select the film, instead of passing it over (though if the first conditions exist, I’m not particularly confident it is a post=racial society).
    And white people will never have the chance to go and see and try out films about black people (or women or etc.) if those films never get made. So saying that ‘well that film about those black people won’t be interesting to our audiences’ begs the question ‘well, how the fuck do you know if you’ve never tried it before?’ (And by try I mean giving it a good honest shot with all the marketing and funding as would be applied to a similar film about white people.)
    More to the point, though. Subconscious or not, bias is bias, and these blindingly white lists are evidence of some kind of bias in the system – where is stems from, that can be debated, but the fact that it exists? No question.

    Also, re: Selma and historical accuracy
    I hope to see the movie sometime soon (here’s to hoping it’ll even make it to theatres here, as I’d love to throw some money at it). But to argue that one will not see it because it lacks certain historical accuracy in the portrayal of a white character, about whom the movie isn’t even about????? Ho-lee SHIT does that ever speak VOLUMES and VOLUMES and VOLUMES about one’s internal biases. “Good lord those black people made a movie about black people and portrayed a white person badly!!!” What about all those white people movies where black people are still portrayed as caricatures or as set pieces rather than actual characters? Where’s the historical accuracy there? Hey, what about Titanic? Totally historically accurate. Same with Pearl Harbour! Yeah, I went to see those movies for the historical accuracy. Troy? Yah, totally awesome and historically accurate. Gladiator, too. And there were a couple of films about the Kennedy assassination that totally played some of the characters wrong, but it was accurate enough, historically speaking. Sure, they got bits and pieces a little wrong, but no biggie, great movie!
    Except when it comes to Selma, historical accuracy in one supposedly-maligned character is suddenly a reason not to see it, because LBJ was just such a hero and angel and everything else sugar-coated and sweet. Oh wait, he was white, and There Shall Be No Filming Ill of The White People. :P
    So I call bullshit on the ‘it isn’t historically accurate about LBJ’ because if that’s the only reason you can find for not seeing the movie, you’re missing the point that the story is not about LBJ. It’s about MLK and the black people fighting for their civil rights. Thanks, I’ll take some maligned white people to see a pretty darn good movie about that.

  132. scienceavenger says

    @145 Like, seriously, what the hell motivates someone to steadfastly insist that a long-term, statistically significant data set showing bias based on skin colour can’t possibly be racism? …That’s the part I don’t get. Why is defending this so important?

    Several reasons:

    1) Presumed incompetence and bias of all social researchers allows dismissal of all the data you cite.
    2) Emotional attachment to libertarian ideology which insists we are all responsible for our lot in life and thus attributing significance to any externality is just another way of allowing people to evade responsibility for their decisions.
    3) A libertarian resistence to the notion of any kind of collective action to remedy such externalities.
    4) Habit. When one has spent sufficient time defending a position, especially in an emotionally charged way, it becomes too much of a potential jolt to one’s worldview to give fair consideration.
    5) A belief that racism always implies some sort of moral character failing.

  133. David Marjanović says

    Where do these people come from when these threads appear at Pharyngula? I’m serious. Where do they come from? It’s simply not credible to claim you’re unaware of VERY basic, simple facts about unconscious and systemic racial bias if you’re a regular reader here. You can’t be. You have to either be deliberately ignoring everything you’ve read, or you need to be the kind of troll that is attracted to any liberal blog for sport.

    …Has any of them claimed to be a regular reader? I, for what that’s worth, have only seen caseyrock on one other thread that started a few days ago, and can’t remember johnnyboy from any other thread (admittedly, that name is not very memorable).

  134. says

    rq
    What do you mean? Don’t tell me that the Greel weren’t totally lily-white, with Helen being blonde and everything.
    Next thing you’ll be telling me there were no Llamas in that place and time either*

    *My favourite scene, the llamas…

  135. scienceavenger says

    @125 How do you address the inequality in a way that:
    A. Doesn’t harm one marginalized group at the same time?
    B. Doesn’t worsen race relations and make life harder for minorities who live in more racist areas of the country?
    C. Ensures that resources have the most impact?
    D. Provides a way of assessing impact so that efforts can be made better in the future?
    E. It isn’t seen as charity, but actually opportunity to realize potential in an equal environement?
    F. Addresses the fact that some people are racist and will never change?

    A. They key word in your question is “group”, which makes it a low bar to clear, since I can’t think of a single remedy, even hard quotas, that harms marginalized groups. Got an example?
    B. AFAIK, most of the remedies generally proposed tend to improve race relations, mostly through basic exposure. It’s harder to otherize a group when you know some of them personally. I smell unwarranted assumptions in your question.
    C. Why do we need to do that? The perfect should not be the enemy of the good.
    D. As other here have demonstrated, the data is readily available. This is a thin beef.
    E. Well, for starters people like you could stop suggesting it is. It doesn’t make sense to complain about an impression when you are doing everything possible to create it.
    F. If they are never going to change, why does it need to be addressed?

    Generally, I don’t find your questions very well thought-out. The answers seem pretty obvious, and unchallenging. It does appear you are just JAQing off as others have suggested, but perhaps some clarification from you will alleviate that concern.

  136. David Marjanović says

    5) A belief that racism always implies some sort of moral character failing.

    Yup, that’s very common. It seems to go like this: “Racism is evil. Therefore, to be a racist a person has to be evil. X isn’t a mad cackling villain; therefore, X cannot be a racist.” and this: “Mad cackling villains are a very small proportion of the population, therefore it’s laughably improbable that the whole academy is full of such people, therefore the academy can’t contain enough racists to make racist decisions.”

    The basic misunderstandings seem to be that intent is magic and that a person is a monolith.

  137. rq says

    Giliell
    The movie just needed more llamas, that’s all.

    +++

    So the Academy isn’t at all racially unconscious, but damn, those black people sure do all look the same: Oscars: Academy Mistook One ‘Selma’ Actress for Another.

    The photo’s caption identifies the actress in the still as Carmen Ejogo, who played Coretta Scott King. But the actress actually pictured is Tessa Thompson, who played Diane Nash. […]

    This is the first year since 1998 that all of the nominated actors are white, and so the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite has been trending as a result. Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs addressed the criticism Friday, saying that the group is “committed to seeking out diversity of voice and opinion.”

    … Because in a post-racial society (which obviously 2015 is), it’s totally okay to have all-white nominees, since all those black actors and actresses and directors and writers just didn’t deserve any of the nominations, because since 1998 everything has become completely equal.

  138. scienceavenger says

    @154 As Exhibit A, note here John Boehners defense of Steve “I didn’t know who David Duke was” Scalise:

    I know Steve to be a man of high integrity and good character.

    And see, we all know that racists are all lacking in integrity and character, so such a man couldn’t possibly be racist.

  139. says

    I am quite happy that others have already addressed the kind of bullshit “WELL LBJ WASN’T LIKE THAT IN REAL LIFE” argument that people seem to be regurgitating as an excuse to not see/not like/excuse the lack of recognition for this movie.

  140. rq says

    Tashiliciously Shriked
    LBJ was totes an ally, so how could he be portrayed negatively? IF YOU DON’T GIVE ALLIES THE COOKIES THEY DESERVE, I WILL NOT SEE YOUR MOVIE!!!!

  141. hillaryrettig says

    Varady #11 – your post reminds me of the scene in Selma where racist governer George Wallace is bitching to LBJ that no matter what he “gives” black people they always want more. You might want to think about that.

    Along with the things you listed, I’m sure King would also want a film Academy that wasn’t overwhelming white, male, and old. And where the only way to become a member is to be friends with an existing member. And where people of color get public recognition for their good works.

    The Oscars are a big deal and popular culture has a hold on people’s lives and imaginations, so this is an important issue.

    Selma was a terrific movie, and Oyelowo in particular was amazing as King, although there were other good performances. It must have been daunting as hell to portray such a revered icon, especially one that people who are alive today actually knew. It is patently ridiculous that the film was nominated for best picture but no one in it was deemed worthy of nomination for their individual contribution. If their system is that flawed, the Academy should own it and make changes asap.

    #boycottoscar

  142. Fetchez la Vache says

    I teach science, and one of the things I hope to get across to my students is how easy it is to fool ourselves by letting unexamined assumptions guide our thinking and explanations. Nevertheless, this is snortworthy:

    No arguments with regard to racism not being manifest solely in overt expressions of bigotry, I’m just unconvinced thus far that the absence of black nominees can be attributed automatically to racism. There have been plenty of black nominees/winners of Academy Awards in recent years, so to attribute this outlier solely to racism, or to argue that racial bias was the dominant reason for an absence of nominations, is a bit speculative in my opinion.

    Assumptions are dangerous, but it’s not enough to simply point this out as if all assumptions are unconnected to reality. Questioning assumptions is just the first step: you then have to generate alternatives to the default assumption of systemic, endemic racism. Perhaps its my lack of imagination, but I can’t come up with a potential alternative explanation (a conspiracy? climate change? air pollution affecting people’s minds?) that isn’t laughable. Do you have alternatives to suggest, corvidd, or are you simply uncomfortable thinking that racism is on overwhelmingly strong contender for the explanation? Given what we know about the human condition, and the specific history of our country, racism is far from a speculative explanation.

  143. corvidd says

    Fetchez la Vache

    I have no attachment as to whether racism was the primary factor here, but saying that it was the “overwhelmingly strong contender” is a bit too extreme a default position for me. I’m not uncomfortable with suggestions of racial bias in this instance; I am uncomfortable with automatically attributing the absence of black nominees primarily to racial bias, and that’s what I’ve been seeing lately. As for possible alternatives, well the simplest would be that Academy voters felt the nominees who were selected deserved their positions. That internalized, subtle racial bias may have influenced them is a plausible suggestion; that it’s the sole or pre-eminent cause is something that should be viewed with scepticism in my view.

  144. says

    corvidd #160:

    I am uncomfortable with automatically attributing the absence of black nominees primarily to racial bias

    If more of X get picked than Y, then there is a bias in favour of X. When the difference between X and Y is skin colour, that bias is clearly racial in nature.

    You may disagree with the reasons for the existence of that bias, but to claim that the bias doesn’t exist is, well, stupid.

  145. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I am uncomfortable with automatically attributing the absence of black nominees primarily to racial bias,

    Your comfort has nothing to do with the truth about racism rearing its ugly head. Only you care about your comfort, reality doesn’t give a shit.

  146. scienceavenger says

    @160 Your argument would be a lot more reasonable if this event was an outlier instead of the norm.

  147. scienceavenger says

    Here’s a question for those of you casting doubt on the racism explanation: would you be willing to bet on proportional representation of black nominees in next years academy nominations? If not, why not?

  148. HappyNat says

    I’ve seen a lot of hyperskeptics, but being hyperskeptical of systemic racism? Really? “A bit too extreme”, get the fuck out. Play your parsing games somewhere else.

  149. corvidd says

    @scienceavenger

    As I posted above, looking at the past 5 years, black nominees for the 4 actor/actress categories comprised 10% of the total nominations. If you’re referring to proportional representation with regard to the US, that’s not far off, given that African-Americans are about 13% of the population.

  150. scienceavenger says

    @168 So your support for the claim that there isn’t a racial bias against blacks is that the most recent (best?) 5 years’ of data shows blacks only underrepresented by 23%? Really?

  151. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    As I posted above, looking at the past 5 years, black nominees for the 4 actor/actress categories comprised 10% of the total nominations. If you’re referring to proportional representation with regard to the US, that’s not far off, given that African-Americans are about 13% of the population.

    Cherrypicking. Lets go back to the start of the academy, then you show us there is no racism through the years. You don’t have a point, just your own unease. Which is irrelevant.

  152. says

    corvidd #168:

    As I posted above, looking at the past 5 years, black nominees for the 4 actor/actress categories comprised 10% of the total nominations. If you’re referring to proportional representation with regard to the US, that’s not far off, given that African-Americans are about 13% of the population.

    And people of African descent are the only non-white people in existence?

  153. Saad says

    I’m appalled. Steve Carrell is a good actor?

    varady72,

    It’s not so much as the winners that I have an issue with; it’s the nominees.

    Here are the 20 nominees for acting:

    Best Actor
    Steve Carell
    Bradley Cooper
    Benedict Cumberbatch
    Michael Keaton
    Eddie Redmayne

    Best Actress
    Marion Cotillard
    Felicity Jones
    Julianne Moore
    Rosamund Pike
    Reese Witherspoon

    Best Supporting Actor
    Robert Duvall
    Ethan Hawke
    Edward Norton
    Mark Ruffalo
    J.K. Simmons

    Best Supporting Actress
    Patricia Arquette
    Laura Dern
    Keira Knightley
    Emma Stone
    Meryl Streep

    Do you want to tell me last year in all the films made there were no actors of color deserving an Oscar nomination?

  154. corvidd says

    @169

    My claim isn’t that there’s an absence of racial bias against blacks, only that automatically attributing this year’s nomination slots solely or primarily to racism is a premature judgement. The notion of some degree of racial bias is entirely plausible to me, and I don’t reject it.

  155. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    only that automatically attributing this year’s nomination slots solely or primarily to racism is a premature judgement.

    Your claim is rejected by the evidence. What part of that are you having trouble with? And go deal with it on your own.

  156. says

    Hey, maybe the problem is racism plus other things. Sure, fine. It is a defense of the racist status quo to demand that we stop dealing with the racism to focus on identifying and quantifying those mysterious other factors. If you want to spend your time hunting that down, knock yourself out. Otherwise you’re just derailing in support of continued racism.

    We see the same damned pseudo-intellectual bullshit when it comes to sexism, and we’ve all learned to see through it. Applying the same pro-bigotry dodge to racism doesn’t fool anyone here.

  157. says

    Oh, I forgot to talk about the specific racism in Hollywood. Hollywood is so racist that they go out of their way to hire white European, Australian, and New Zealanders to put on bad accents and play Americans in movies and TV shows, rather than hire Americans who aren’t white to play those roles. I guess the claim is that a British actor with a shitty flat fake American accent should play that cop or doctor, because you can’t find anyone who is actually from the character’s hometown to play the role? Hollywood would rather give roles to ANY white person, rather than all of the homegrown talent that isn’t white, and that’s racist as fuck.

  158. A. Noyd says

    corvidd (#173)

    automatically attributing this year’s nomination slots solely or primarily to racism is a premature judgement.

    Yet, your “alternative” explanation to racial bias was the voters felt the chosen nominees really deserved to be chosen. You need to explain what about that is not compatible with racial bias. That is, explain how the lack of black nominees cannot be 100% attributable to racial bias if the voters also truly believe that they are awarding things based on merit.

  159. A. Noyd says

    Another complaint I’ve seen from black people is that it’s hard for them to get major roles that don’t explicitly require a black actor (ie. a historical figure, someone struggling with anti-black racism, etc.). And it’s even harder to get awards for roles that could have been played by an actor of any race. White Americans have a much easier time giving awards to black actors so long as those actors remain pigeon-holed. So raw numbers of how many black people have won awards in so many years doesn’t necessarily indicate progress.

  160. rq says

    corvidd

    As for possible alternatives, well the simplest would be that Academy voters felt the nominees who were selected deserved their positions.

    So maybe one should ask why these specific nominees were more deserving of the positions they have. Considering the wealth of black actors and directors and writers out there, and especially since you mention the fact that, in (the five) previous years, about 10% of the nominees were people of colour, why is there suddenly a dearth of quality potential, in a year when Selma is so critically acclaimed? Did all black people suddenly lose their ability to produce quality work? Why aren’t they deserving of representation this year?

    (And as an aside, it may have been pointed out above, with a potential link to the events starting in Ferguson this year – black people have been making themselves heard, or at least – trying to. And maybe being loud (or trying to raise their voices) is enough for some people to (unconsciously or not) prefer to silence black people everywhere. Including in nominations lists. -> Though that being said, this whitewashing is not a new thing for Hollywood, so the racism that was there may simply have been somewhat increased this year in particular.)

  161. Anri says

    corvidd @ 173:

    My claim isn’t that there’s an absence of racial bias against blacks, only that automatically attributing this year’s nomination slots solely or primarily to racism is a premature judgement. The notion of some degree of racial bias is entirely plausible to me, and I don’t reject it.

    Ok, then, what sort of evidence would you accept as convincing that systemic racism is, in fact, the major factor here?
    I can’t guarantee that myself or anyone else here can provide it, but if you tell us what you’d accept, we can narrow down the search a bit.

  162. rq says

    timgueguen @179
    Xe usually shows up in the first few comments of every new Lounge with philosophical questions about music and living and etc.

  163. corvidd says

    @rq

    The Academy voters would be the only ones capable of providing that answer, I’d be interested to find out their reasons. If the absence of black nominees was a notable trend in recent years then I’d be considerably more inclined to lean towards racial bias as the primary potential cause, but this is an outlier.

    Indeed I saw someone make the point about the possible influence of Ferguson, and I certainly wouldn’t dismiss that notion, but really there’s no way to prove that that was a factor in the Academy Awards voting. That racial bias is present in Hollywood doesn’t surprise me; the Sony leaks back in December gave a pretty decent example of that.

    @ A.Noyd

    I think that’s entirely compatible with racial bias. No disagreements on that point; proving that this was entirely attributable to racial bias is another matter though. As to what could prove the latter, I’m not sure; obviously, to me anyway, a simple cross-sectional study of the Academy voters to determine to what extent racial bias is a factor. Realistically that’s never going to be conducted though.

  164. rq says

    corvidd
    Nobody said entirely, but when the vast majority of the selection committee is composed of older white men who have very strong ideas about what people want to see (and as mentioned above, that certainly doesn’t include movies by and about people of colour), then there shouldn’t be any question at all that unconscious yet so very persistent racism has had a large effect in the selection of these nominations.
    Why are you so resistant to the idea? Nobody has said that racism is the only factor, but a lot of the other factors (such as less exposure for black actors, directors and writers) can also be linked back to racism.
    So what’s your issue? What point are you trying to make?

  165. rq says

    Also, asking the Academy voters wouldn’t do much to help, since most people who hold some form of racial bias do not admit to it – either because they do not want to appear racist, or because they’re not conscious of the racial biases that they do exhibit. It’s not as simple as just asking them. This kind of a selection is exactly the kind of evidence that one looks for when searching for the unconscious racial biases of other people. It’s not proof-perfect, but it’s a damned good indicator.

  166. A. Noyd says

    corvidd (#183)

    I think that’s entirely compatible with racial bias. No disagreements on that point

    Above you said “Or perhaps racial bias was only a partial factor, and the voters, primarily, genuinely believed that the nominees selected deserved their nominations ahead of those who weren’t chosen and that’s what accounts for this outlier.” (Emphasis added.) You were posing genuine belief in merit as something that counteracted or stood apart from racial bias. Have you changed your mind or do you just not understand what the fuck you’re saying?

  167. toska says

    corvidd #183,

    but really there’s no way to prove that that was a factor in the Academy Awards voting.

    This whole “prejudice can’t be proved as a motive unless someone explicitly says it, so let’s just assume black actors/directors/etc. aren’t as good” thing is really, frustrating for people who aren’t a member of the privileged class. I get it all the time as a woman. It goes like this: I get treated like shit in a way that I recognize as sexist behavior that I get quite regularly in my life, tell male friend/acquaintance/family member, said person dismisses it as surely being another cause. You know, I just dreamed up the sexism because that person was just a jerk and I’m reading into it, or perhaps I even did something to deserve it.

    You know what, we can’t prove it’s racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, etc, every single time, but the hyperskepticism of privileged people who want to shut down the conversation and pretend it isn’t happening, completely dismissing our experiences gets really old.

  168. Anri says

    corvidd @ 183:

    The Academy voters would be the only ones capable of providing that answer, I’d be interested to find out their reasons. If the absence of black nominees was a notable trend in recent years then I’d be considerably more inclined to lean towards racial bias as the primary potential cause, but this is an outlier.

    What if we were to assume the hypothetical of systemic racism being a notable feature of pretty much the entire society from its inception up to the present day? Would that make it somewhat more likely?

    Oh, wait, that’s not a hypothetical at all, it’s reality.

  169. rq says

    John Lewis tells his truth about ‘Selma’

    The movie “Selma” is a work of art. It conveys the inner significance of the ongoing struggle for human dignity in America, a cornerstone of our identity as a nation. It breaks through our too-often bored and uninformed perception of our history, and it confronts us with the real human drama our nation struggled to face 50 years ago.
    lRelated ‘Selma’ and why, half a century later, we’re still struggling with the 1960s

    Op-Ed
    ‘Selma’ and why, half a century later, we’re still struggling with the 1960s

    See all related
    8

    And “Selma” does more than bring history to life, it enlightens our understanding of our lives today. It proves the efficacy of nonviolent action and civic engagement, especially when government seems unresponsive. With poignant grace, it demonstrates that Occupy, inconvenient protests and die-ins that disturb our daily routine reflect a legacy of resistance that led many to struggle and die for justice, not centuries ago, but in our lifetimes. It reminds us that the day could be approaching when that price will be required again.

    But now this movie is being weighed down with a responsibility it cannot possibly bear. It’s portrayal of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s role in the Selma marches has been called into question. And yet one two-hour movie cannot tell all the stories encompassed in three years of history — the true scope of the Selma campaign. It does not portray every element of my story, Bloody Sunday, or even the life of Martin Luther King Jr. We do not demand completeness of other historical dramas, so why is it required of this film? […]

    Were any of the Selma marches the brainchild of President Johnson? Absolutely not. If a man is chained to a chair, does anyone need to tell him he should struggle to be free? The truth is the marches occurred mainly due to the extraordinary vision of the ordinary people of Selma, who were determined to win the right to vote, and it is their will that made a way.
    Premiere of Selma
    Actor David Oyelowo, right, greets Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights icon, at the Washington premiere of “Selma” on Dec. 11. (Olivier Douliery / TNS)

    As for Johnson’s taped phone conversation about Selma with King, the president knew he was recording himself, so maybe he was tempted to verbally stack the deck about his role in Selma in his favor. The facts, however, do not bear out the assertion that Selma was his idea. I know. I was there. Don’t get me wrong, in my view, Johnson is one of this country’s great presidents, but he did not direct the civil rights movement.

    This film is a spark that has ignited interest in an era we must not forget if we are to move forward as a nation. It is already serving as a bridge to a long-overdue conversation on race, inequality and injustice in this country today. It may well become a touchstone, a turning point for another generation of activists who will undertake the next evolutionary push for justice in America.

    It would be a tragic error if Hollywood muted its praise for a film because it is too much a story and not enough an academic exercise.

    A film isn’t meant to be an academic exercise. One would think that historical inaccuracies could be forgiven for the sake of the story.
    I mean, as long as the historical inaccuracies don’t portray white people negatively, right?

  170. says

    corvidd @173,

    The notion of some degree of racial bias is entirely plausible to me, and I don’t reject it.

    Let’s break this down, shall we? As pointed out, for example by Nerd @174, the evidence points to a clear and unambiguous racial bias. Good skeptics accord our beliefs to the evidence and not the other way around.

    What you’ve just said, then, is that some degree of truth and reality (racial bias in this case) are plausible to you and you don’t entirely reject them. But you don’t exactly accept them either do you? You don’t accept truth and reality but you want what, a cookie, for not rejecting them entirely?

    Is that about right?

  171. Grewgills says

    corvidd (and whoever else is making this argument)
    Pointing to the number of non-whites winning in the acting categories over the past 5 years doesn’t prove your point. Even if each ethnic group was at near parity to their representation in the population (they aren’t) that ignores every other category. Actors are the closest to achieving parity with population numbers for television, movies, and commercials. They still haven’t reached that point* and often their roles are limited to specific types, but start looking behind the cameras and it gets a lot whiter. Why don’t you try compiling a similar list of directors, cinematographers, screen writers, costumers, set designers, etc etc etc?

    Sure it isn’t all about systemic racism in the last mile (nominations and wins). The majority of the discrimination comes well before that last mile when studio execs are deciding which projects and which people to back. Hell, a lot of it comes even before that with other opportunities being limited. All of that does absolutely nothing to argue that systemic bias isn’t THE reason for the discrepancy.

    * Even in your argument 90% of the awards are given to white actors, when whites make up between 72-78% of the population.

  172. Esteleth, RN's job is to save your ass, not kiss it says

    Grewgills, that’s the 3rd or 4th time you’ve mentioned that whites are 72-78% of the population. As of the 2010 census white non-Hispanics are 62% of the population of the US.

    In any case, given US history, assuming that an observed difference (in this case, a shortage of nominees and winners who are PoC) can be attributed to racism is the null hypothesis. Prove that it isn’t. Prove that that could have “just happened.”

  173. Grewgills says

    @Esteleth 193
    I think you are mistaking me for someone else and are certainly mistaking my argument for someone else’s. This is actually the first time I I’ve mentioned a specific percentage for whites in the population. I accepted the numbers offered by the apologists for the sake of argument. If the number is actually lower, it strengthens my argument.

  174. scienceavenger says

    @ Corvidd 183
    If the absence of black nominees was a notable trend in recent years then I’d be considerably more inclined to lean towards racial bias as the primary potential cause, but this is an outlier.

    No it fucking isn’t. It’s the norm as evidenced by the data many posters here have provided. Even by the information you provided for the best years you’ve got, blacks were still significantly under represented. You’re simply being obtuse pretending to not get what is staring you in the face.

    …proving that this was entirely attributable to racial bias is another matter though. As to what could prove the latter, I’m not sure; obviously, to me anyway, a simple cross-sectional study of the Academy voters to determine to what extent racial bias is a factor. Realistically that’s never going to be conducted though.

    How convenient: any information or test that could prove you wrong is either impossible or never to be gathered. You sound like psychics who mealy mouth around any honest test of their abilities, and I’m now convinced, are no more honest. You simply don’t want to accept racism as the primary cause of the historic bias against blacks in Hollywood awards, the evidence be damned.

  175. carlie says

    It amazes me that people can say “there’s no racial bias here” when the only alternate explanation is then “it must be that black people as an entire group just aren’t as good at doing this thing”. So their justification to try and posit a lack of racism in white people’s opinion is a completely racist argument about abilities. Mm-hm.

  176. edmond says

    I’m not sure I see the issue either. There have been plenty of black nominees in the past, and there will be again in the future. What, did the Academy voters collectively decide that 2015 would be the year that everyone conspires to keep the blacks out? It’s nothing but a statistical anomaly. There are a lot of white people in this country. This is going to happen from time to time.

    So no “Selma” actors were nominated. But there are 8 best picture nominees, and only 5 in a given acting category. Yes, it’s entirely possible that the 5 whites were simply better than anyone in “Selma”. Not everyone from the best picture categories is going to get a shot at the acting categories.

    As a George Lucas fan, I followed his decades-long dream to make “Red Tails”, a tribute to the black Air Force fighter squadrons of WWII. I was excited to see it when it finally came out, and… it kind of tanked. There are simply no guarantees.

    Everyone remember that this is a VOTING process. The members don’t sit around in committee choosing who should be nominated. It would be especially difficult for anyone to rig the result, or conspire to keep a particular group out.

    This is a numeric artifact, nothing more. Just because blacks are 12% of the population, doesn’t mean that they’ll be 12% of the Academy voting pool every time. Some years there’ll be more, and some years there’ll be less. Once in a while there might be none. Who exactly is to blame for that? Why would there BE anyone to blame? Correct me if I’m wrong, but none of these people appear to be openly gay, either, but I don’t hear the gay community making a fuss over it. As a member of that community, I’m certainly not.

  177. Maureen Brian says

    Edmond @ 198,

    As you say, this was a voting process. There is no reason to think that it was in any sense a democratic one. Who are the members of the Academy? People who have done well in the movie industry. You tell me how they are selected – not with short lists or a mass vote certainly. And not all in the past few years, either. Most of them represent the industry of old and different times.

    And how long have some people of colour being doing well in the movie industry? How was Hettie McDaniel treated when she got her Oscar? Not allowed to attend the premiere, she was allowed at the awards ceremony but only if she and her companion sat at a separate table apart from the other guests, certainly not with her fellow actors.

    So it would be perfectly reasonable to say that the Academy has got a little better in recent years. As the figures above show they are not there yet!

    It is not rational and it is not persuasive to take half a dozen years when things were looking more progressive, just because they happen to support your view. No more than it would be reasonable for me to take all the many years when the nominations were also starkly white. Nor can you tell us what you think will happen – you might be wrong – and expect us to treat that as evidence.

    Far more productive would be to take the whole history of these awards, recognise that there has been some improvement but start looking at all of this in the wider context.

    That might also give you space to consider whether the total lack of nominations this year has anything to do with this being a movie about Dr King? Compare this with last year.

    I could make a better case for Americans being more able to cope with their history of slavery than with the unfinished work on civil rights than you can that some of us here are over-reacting.

  178. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’m not sure I see the issue either.

    If you don’t see a problem, you won’t be part of the solution. Thanks for playing.

  179. Ichthyic says

    Yeah, I went to see those movies for the historical accuracy. Troy? Yah, totally awesome and historically accurate. Gladiator, too.

    don’t forget Braveheart!

    ;)

  180. Ichthyic says

    It’s nothing but a statistical anomaly.

    five bucks says you can’t even come close to supporting that.

    go on, look at the voting records for the last 40 years.

    crunch the numbers.

    get back to us when you stop applying your internal biases to things, and claim you’re speaking statistically.

  181. rq says

    I could make a better case for Americans being more able to cope with their history of slavery than with the unfinished work on civil rights than you can that some of us here are over-reacting.

    Ayuh, definitely agreed.

  182. edmond says

    @Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    There’s really nothing I can do to be part of this solution. To vote in the Academy, one must be a member of the Academy. I’m not. My efforts toward a solution involve not having any issues with anyone based on their race. I can’t exactly storm the awards ceremony and DEMAND that “Selma” be given honorary awards.

    @Ichthyic

    Nope, I can’t back up my assessment that this is nothing but a statistical anomaly. No more than anyone else can back up a suspicion that Hollywood and the Academy are engaged in a wide-spread conspiracy to nominate only whites. Statistical anomalies do at least happen. They’re possible.

    But what would the alternative look like? What is really being considered here? Rampant-yet-secret miscegenistic campaigns designed to discourage actors and directors from nominating any deserving performers of color? Campaigns which politely decline to target people like Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Cuba Gooding Jr, Whoopi Goldberg, or Ang Lee? I find that far less likely than a statistical anomaly. I’m simply not in such a rush to accuse thousands of people of working together to foil the presence of racial diversity in one of the most visible industries on the planet. It sounds utterly ridiculous.

    But if George Lucas triggers your ad hominem reaction so easily, then how about Steven Spielberg, and the lack of awards which went to his black-centered film “The Color Purple”? Another conspiracy? Or just Hollywood backlash against a single filmmaker who pissed everyone off by raking in more money than anyone had ever heard of, with nothing more than light-hearted (no pun intended) popcorn-grade sci-fi?

    This “anti-black sentiment” idea simply isn’t the more likely one. If there had been a DOZEN films like Selma, and STILL none had been nominated, then yes, that might illuminate a problem. But Selma stands virtually alone as representative of “black cinema” this year. Of COURSE it’s got a lot of competition with the “white” films.

    @Maureen Brian

    Members of the Academy nominate and vote for people within their particular field. Actors vote for actors, directors vote for directors, costumers vote for costumers, etc. The only exception is that everyone votes for best picture. It’s not just people who have “done well” in the industry.

    It’s simply hard to believe that this is a deliberate, concerted effort by EVERYONE to keep people of color out.

  183. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    My efforts toward a solution involve not having any issues with anyone based on their race.

    Which is why you are part of the problem, not the solution.

    It’s simply hard to believe that this is a deliberate, concerted effort by EVERYONE to keep people of color out.

    Only in your “post racist America” opinion. Except, you can’t/won’t see we aren’t post racist, as the results aren’t the same for whites and blacks, which the voting, like Ferguson, shows with prima facie evidence.

  184. Grewgills says

    @Edmond 208
    I don’t think anyone here is positing some Snidely Whiplash villainhood of the academy members to marginalize non-whites. The academy voters are overwhelmingly white and older. It doesn’t require a grand conspiracy for older white folks to have unrecognized personal biases towards towards the comfortable and familiar. The additive effect of this background is that nominations and wins are overwhelmingly white, especially when all categories are taken into account. That seems the most reasonable explanation to me. Your statistical anomaly explanation only really works in the reverse for the very few years when there is a break out film like “12 Years a Slave.” Why don’t you sit down and look over ALL of the nominations for ALL categories for even the past 5 years and get back to us?

  185. varady72 says

    @ HillaryRettig #159

    All the whining about “lack of diversity” in the Oscars this year misses the fact that two endeavors are immune to “diversity” — SPORTS AND ART.

    Athletes either perform better than others or they don’t. Films merit awards or they don’t.

    Last year saw a wide representation of black talent, because there were several meritorious black-themed films, touching on subjects from slavery to Nelson Mandela. This year, there is just one: “Selma.” The academy has correctly not compromised artistic judgment to make a political point.

    Want to see more black Oscar nominations? Make more meritorious black-themed films.

    Ok? Got it now?

  186. Maureen Brian says

    edmond,

    You misunderstand me. You only get to be a member of the Academy if you have done well in the industry, ergo ……

    vardy72,

    I just want to query one thing. Do you really, hand on heart, believe that the weeks, months, years of training and tuition and the contacts you make and the encouragement (or otherwise) that you get and sheer luck have nothing to do with success in any sport or any art? If you believe that you’ll need to explain why they do it and seek it.

  187. scienceavenger says

    @208 Edmond:

    I can’t back up my assessment that this is nothing but a statistical anomaly. No more than anyone else can back up a suspicion that Hollywood and the Academy are engaged in a wide-spread conspiracy to nominate only whites.

    False equivalence applied to a straw man. Nice job. The primary claim is that there is systemic unconscious bias against blacks, and that claim has a mountain of evidence to back it in the form of years and years of underrepresentation of blacks nominated and winning awards. We have data, and it says Selma isn’t an anomoly, it is the norm.

    This “anti-black sentiment” idea simply isn’t the more likely one. If there had been a DOZEN films like Selma, and STILL none had been nominated, then yes, that might illuminate a problem.

    Might? A dozen? Might? How openminded of you. How about dozens and dozens of years with similar results?

    @211 Varady:

    All the whining about “lack of diversity” in the Oscars this year misses the fact that two endeavors are immune to “diversity” — SPORTS AND ART. Athletes either perform better than others or they don’t. Films merit awards or they don’t.

    You can’t be fucking serious. Both involve a tremendous amount of subjectivity, art arguably primarily so. But even with sports you clearly don’t know the history here in America, which all had anti-black biases at various positions (quarterback, head coach, catcher, etc.) for decades before those indigo ceilings were breeched. Or are you seriously going to claim that no blacks were qualified to be head football coaches until Art Shell became the first in 1989?

  188. scienceavenger says

    @212 Maureen Brian

    Your comment reminds me of battles over the distribution of funds to various public school systems, where the richer districts simultaneously claim all the perks they enjoy don’t really have much effect on academic performance, while fighting tooth and nail to keep them.

  189. edmond says

    @Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    “My efforts toward a solution involve not having any issues with anyone based on their race.
    Which is why you are part of the problem, not the solution.”

    This is a nonsense response. Are you suggesting that I SHOULD have a problem with someone based on their race? And that this will somehow help us reach a solution?

    I model the behavior which I think is best, which does not involve caring much about a person’s race. If I were in that Academy, I would vote based on performance (as I expect most members do). I don’t know what else you think I should do which would solve all the problems in Hollywood.

    @Grewgills

    I did better than that, I went back TEN years. I found instance after instance of wonderful representations of films with non-white focus, like 12 Years a Slave, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, The Help, Precious, Slumdog Millionaire, Crash, Memoirs of a Geisha, Ray, and Hotel Rwanda.

    And I found plenty of non-white actors, directors, musicians and writers among both the nominees and the winners, like Denzel Washington, Quvenzhane Wallis, Lupita Nyong’o, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ang Lee, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, A. R. Rahman, Morgan Freeman, Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Fisher Stevens, Taraji P. Henson, Ruby Dee, Forest Whitaker, Djimon Hounsou, Eddie Murphy, Rinko Kikuchi, Jennifer Hudson, Terrence Howard, Jamie Foxx, Sophie Okonedo, and Don Cheadle.

    And that was just a quick, cursory run through Wikipedia. I have no doubt that if I put more detailed effort into it, I could find many more.

    @Maureen Brian

    “Done well” is a bit of a vague statement. Members are typically invited (by other members) after having made a “significant contribution” to the industry. Honestly, this sounds like the right kinds of people to have as a voting block for an art form. Also, membership does not expire, “even if a member struggles later in his or her career” (per Wikipedia), so continuing to do “well” is not a requirement.

    @scienceavenger

    Please see the “data” I have (hastily) collected above for Grewgills. I think some of you may be victims of reverse confirmation bias, counting the misses but ignoring the hits. Selma does indeed appear to be the anomaly to me.

    And this is just the Academy. Shall we go deeper, and see if the trend continues for the Emmy’s, the Golden Globes, or the SAG awards?

  190. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Are you suggesting that I SHOULD have a problem with someone based on their race? And that this will somehow help us reach a solution?

    When you understand your privilege, and give some up for diversity, you will be solving the problem. If you believe we are a post-racist society, you are the problem as the institutional racism is still prevalent, and you have your head in the sand.

  191. says

    It’s like Edmond hasn’t read the thread or the multiple links provided throughout it. Links that support the idea that even the people making decisions about Oscar nominations are not free of the racial bias that everyone else has that informs their beliefs about people of color.

  192. says

    From my link @218:

    “When it comes to casting, Hollywood pretty much decides to cast a black guy or they don’t,” Rock wrote in his Hollywood Reporter essay, describing how white characters are always viewed as the default. “We’re never on the ‘short list.’ We’re never ‘in the mix.’ When there’s a hot part in town and the guys are reading for it, that’s just what happens. It was never like, ‘Is it going to be Ryan Gosling or Chiwetel Ejiofor for Fifty Shades of Grey?’ ”

    According to the comedian turned director, roles for women of color are even harder to come by.

    “You can go to whole movies and not see one black woman. They’ll throw a black guy a bone…. But is there a single black woman in Interstellar? Or Gone Girl? Birdman? The Purge? Neighbors?” Rock asked, despite knowing the answer. “I go to the movies almost every week, and I can go a month and not see a black woman having an actual speaking part in a movie.”

    For Robertson, the lack of diversity on the big screen is easy to trace to who’s in charge of the studios. “With the exception of Zola Mashariki at Fox Searchlight and James Lopez at Screen Gems, there are really no other black people who have the authority to greenlight a project,” he says. But instead of waiting for Hollywood to realize that communities of color like seeing themselves on the silver screen, Robertson implores filmmakers to think outside of the studio system.

    “It’s time for us to get outside the box and do things that provide a platform for black expression,” he says, highlighting the work Ava DuVernay has done with her film distribution company AFFRM. On Thursday, DuVernay became the first black woman to garner a best director Golden Globe nomination for her film Selma.

    The people who say they don’t understand what the problem is are not trying to understand what the problem is. When you actually listen to, and believe the words of the people experiencing racism, you understand that racism exists in all levels of society, and that includes fucking Hollywood. You racism deniers provide one of the greatest barriers to overcoming racism in this country. By your continued denial, and your refusal to accept the realities faced by People of Color, you allow the status quo to continue unabated. You’re literally Defenders of Racism.
    You should be fucking ashamed of yourselves.

  193. scienceavenger says

    Please see the “data” I have (hastily) collected above for Grewgills. I think some of you may be victims of reverse confirmation bias, counting the misses but ignoring the hits. Selma does indeed appear to be the anomaly to me.

    On the contrary, we are looking at data, while you are collecting “instance after instance” of anecdotes. The proportion of black nominees and winners is far below what a post-racial society should expect. Year after year. That’s what “bias” means. It doesn’t mean you won’t see any. That’s why the “we have a black president so we don’t have racism” arguemnt is so stupid, and why your anecdotes mean nothing.

    Now, are you going to continue spinning straw, or are you going to address the arguments we are actually making?

  194. edmond says

    I don’t need to address the arguments you’re making. At no point have I ever said that we live in a “post-racial” society. Of COURSE there are still racism problems in the country. There probably always will be. It just hardly seems that an extra-white awards year (ACADEMY awards, may I remind, as no one seems to be interested in combining other prominent awards organizations into their statistics) is a “problem”. Has some grave injustice REALLY occurred, just because Selma didn’t get a nomination?

    I don’t hear anyone complaining that WOMEN (of any color) are badly represented in the nominations. And that’s because the Academy gives them two entire categories of their own. Is that what we should do for blacks? Make a Best Black Actor and Best Black Supporting Actor category? That’s the only way to guarantee that they’ll ALWAYS see a nomination. If you mix ALL the actors into one category, disregarding gender, we might have a year here or there without any female nominees. Would that be indicative of a “problem” of male bias? Maybe so. Would it be representative of the social structure at large? Certainly so. Does giving women their own categories solve all of society’s gender disparity problems? Obviously not.

    I don’t hear anyone complaining that POOR people aren’t well represented. And that’s because all these Hollywood A-listers, whether black OR white, have more money falling out of their wallets right now than I’ve put into my last three cars.

    I don’t see any solution arising from demanding “quotas” of non-white nominees.

    @Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls
    “When you understand your privilege, and give some up for diversity, you will be solving the problem.”

    So, I need to do… what? Quit my job? Move to the slums? How do I “give up” my “privilege” exactly? What specific steps do you endorse for me, before I’m actually solving something? I live on the poverty line as it is. I’m gay, so I have some exposure (however minor) to lack of privilege in this country. I really think I’m just going to have to live with the guilt, somehow, that struggling through my life is making everything worse for everyone.

    “If you believe we are a post-racist society”

    I don’t. At all. I’m perfectly aware of the problems of racism which plague our society. I just don’t think we’re going to fix them by bitching about a shallow awards show.

    @Tony! The Queer Shoop

    “It’s like Edmond hasn’t read the thread or the multiple links provided throughout it.”

    You’re right, I haven’t. This isn’t the only article of PZ’s that I’ve given attention to. And PZ’s isn’t the only blog I read. And reading blogs isn’t my only activity on the internet. And playing on the internet isn’t the only thing I do all day.

    I don’t have the damn TIME to make sure I read EVERY blog post and follow EVERY link. Do you?

    “the people making decisions about Oscar nominations are not free of the racial bias that everyone else has”

    Of course they aren’t. They’re human beings. But that doesn’t make a lack of nominations for actors of color this year a “problem”. Maybe they just liked American Sniper better than Selma.

    What the hell is the solution that everyone wants? Should Academy voters be FORCED to nominate blacks, JUST to increase their visibility? I’m not sure that such an award would even be worth winning. We could just give out one: Best Rigged Awards Show.

  195. says

    scienceavenger @220:

    On the contrary, we are looking at data, while you are collecting “instance after instance” of anecdotes. The proportion of black nominees and winners is far below what a post-racial society should expect. Year after year. That’s what “bias” means. It doesn’t mean you won’t see any. That’s why the “we have a black president so we don’t have racism” arguemnt is so stupid, and why your anecdotes mean nothing.

    Exactly.
    This thread shows (once again) that the defenders of the status quo (in this case, those people denying the racism in Hollywood) continue to see racism only in terms of individual acts of bigotry. According to the brave defenders of the way things are, if there’s no one on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences who specifically says something racist, that means the decisions they make are devoid of racism. Racism-power plus prejudice-manifests overtly as individual acts of bigotry, as seen at Fox News or Stormfront. But racism also manifests in more subtle ways, from the depiction of Latinos in movies (which often consists of racist stereotypes)

    To be Latino can be characterized as being many different cultures these days. Latinos can be Cuban Americans, Puerto Ricans, Mexican Americans, and any other peoples that trace their ancestors back to South or Central America. In the United States the word Latino is used to label all these different types of people. Racism and racial stereotyping towards Latinos is highly common in the states. Typical stereotypes are: the Greaser, the Lazy Mexican, the Latin Lover, the Mamacita, maids, drug addicts, gang bangers etc.

    Dating back all the way to the battle for the Mexican land in the Southwest, the unbroken string of images and portrayals of racist stereotyping has not stopped. During the time Latinos were exploited and their land was taken from them much like as what happened to the Native Americans in the east. The Latinos were considered and thought of as lesser humans. When the California Gold Rush happened around 25,000 Mexicans went for the gold. Due to racial violence by the whites between 1848 and 1860, at least 163 Mexicans were lynched in California alone. The Zoot Suit Riots which occurred in Los Angeles in 1943 were a series of incidents of racial violence against Latinos. Due to confrontations, these riots lasted for days straight.

    In the 20th century, Hollywood became the fuel for Latino stereotypes and soon after it spread like wildfire. Hollywood used stereotypes such as the Latin Lover, the domestic Mexican maid and Gardner, The Male Buffoon, the Harlot, the Female Clown, and the Bandito. These days in the movies even Latinos are being labeled as two sided. White Hispanics are considered as sophisticated Latinos, and the non-white or mixed Latinos are generally regarded as drug mules, banditos and gang-bangers.

    to the lack of non-stereotypical roles for African-American actors:

    When our favorite “Living Single” girl Maxine, we mean Erika Alexander, came by the office, we not only asked the actress about the good old days of being on a number one Fox sitcom, we also dove into some of the more serious issues affecting black actors in Hollywood. Last April, Alexander penned her own version of “Mad Men,” which actually included black people, unlike the AMC version on television right now. And with that script, she wrote an accompanying blog post appropriately titled, “Why I Wrote A ‘Mad Men’ Episode With Negroes.” Knowing how invested Alexander is in the advancement of black people on the big and small screen, we decided to ask the seasoned talent why she thinks white executives are afraid to create non-stereotypical roles for black people. To that question she supplied a rather insightful answer:

    “I think you fear what you don’t know. What you don’t understand. I think that African Americans have always been the dark ‘other.’ I think it scares people.
    “I don’t try to just say it’s racism, which, by the way, at its very root it is racist, but I don’t think these people realize they are being racist. I think it’s ingrained within their subconscious mind. It’s also a set of practices and structures that are inherent to the Hollywood system…
    “They say, well because he’s black he won’t sell in Europe. We can’t put him on a poster. That’ll turn people away. So they make it a money thing. Just saying that out loud is racist…
    “That’s not only racist. it’s a lie. Black people helped create the foundations of American culture — rock n’ roll, hip-hop, blues, jazz, all of that. And to be denied, like our image won’t sell, is in fact wrong. We rule in music, we rule in athleticism, in terms of our image. Most of the people who play the big sports — Tiger Woods, Serena Williams — they’re black and they haven’t stopped the audiences from coming. So if you say that about the image, the moving image, that that person will not be able to satisfy the market, you are basically trading on racist undertones and notions and that needs to be examined with them.”

    to Hollywood’s history of whitewashing, a practice that continues today (as seen in the movie Exodus), the more subtler manifestations of racism continue. Yes, there have been African-Americans nominated for an Oscar (and some have even won), but that proves Hollywood’s non-racist credentials about as much as a black man in the Oval Office proves the United States is a post-racist society.
    The defenders of the status quo fail to understand that anecdotes are not evidence.

  196. jefrir says

    varady72, #211,

    Last year saw a wide representation of black talent, because there were several meritorious black-themed films, touching on subjects from slavery to Nelson Mandela. This year, there is just one: “Selma.” The academy has correctly not compromised artistic judgment to make a political point.

    Want to see more black Oscar nominations? Make more meritorious black-themed films.

    Says it all, really, doesn’t it? Black people are only allowed to be in “black-themed” films, about black history. They can’t just be in films, about all sorts of things, like white people. Oh no. Got to have special films for them.

    But of course there’s no racism involved in who gets awards.

  197. chigau (違う) says

    Says it all, really, doesn’t it? Black people are only allowed to be in “black-themed” films, about black history. They can’t just be in films, about all sorts of things, like white people. Oh no. Got to have special films for them.
    But of course there’s no racism involved in who gets awards.

    QFT

  198. says

    varady72 @211:

    Want to see more black Oscar nominations? Make more meritorious black-themed films.

    Oh, it’s that easy, is it?
    http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/12/12/hollywood-america-kinda-racist

    For Robertson, the lack of diversity on the big screen is easy to trace to who’s in charge of the studios. “With the exception of Zola Mashariki at Fox Searchlight and James Lopez at Screen Gems, there are really no other black people who have the authority to greenlight a project,” he says. But instead of waiting for Hollywood to realize that communities of color like seeing themselves on the silver screen, Robertson implores filmmakers to think outside of the studio system.

    Yeah, really easy.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/26/us-oscars-race-idUSBREA1P02520140226

    When Halle Berry and Denzel Washington won the best-acting Oscar categories and Sidney Poitier was honored with a lifetime achievement award in 2002, the night was a watershed for black actors in Hollywood.

    Since then the debate about Hollywood diversity among the African American community has continued to ebb and flow, but one fact remains constant: nearly all black actors are still only being recognized by the Academy Awards for playing specifically black characters in film.

    Four movies from 2013 have served to animate that conversation during Hollywood’s awards season: “12 Years A Slave,” “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “Fruitvale Station” and “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.” Only the first, Steve McQueen’s historical drama, made it to the Oscars.

    This year, three black actors will be vying for Oscars at the March 2 ceremony, and if “12 Years a Slave” wins best picture, it will be the first film by a black director to do so.

    But as black films and actors are being celebrated by Hollywood, there is no clear indication that the industry has turned the corner on increasing roles not based on race.

    That could be partly explained by the underrepresentation of black talent in senior positions in film studios and among the 6,000-plus members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who vote for the Oscars.

    “When roles in otherwise mainstream movies go to black actors that aren’t necessarily written for (them), I think that’s a point when there will have been some profile change,” said Todd Boyd, a professor of critical studies at the University of Southern California and an expert on African American cinema and culture. “We are not there yet.”

    Seven of the nine best-picture nominees in contention for an Oscar this year, including large ensemble casts in “American Hustle” and “The Wolf of Wall Street,” do not have any black actors in leading or supporting roles.

    The two films that do, “Captain Phillips” and “12 Years a Slave,” have landed acting nods for stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, who is up for best actor, and Lupita Nyong’o and Barkhad Abdi in the supporting categories.

    British actor Ejiofor and Kenyan-Mexican actress Nyong’o both play slaves in McQueen’s pre-civil-war drama, while Somali-American newcomer Abdi, in his first acting role, portrays a Somali pirate who seizes command of a cargo ship.

    FROM MAMMY TO ‘THE HELP’

    More than 50 black actors and actresses have been nominated and won Oscars throughout the history of the Academy Awards. Most have done so for playing specifically black characters, either historical or fictional.

    Washington managed to play an alcoholic airplane pilot in “Flight,” a role for which he was nominated for best actor in 2013. But that was one of the rare exceptions.

    “Why couldn’t there be an African American starring in the role that Joaquin Phoenix plays (in ‘Her’)?” said Boyd. “When you see that, then there’s a change.”

    Nearly 75 years ago Hattie McDaniel broke the racial barrier by winning for her supporting performance as the servant Mammy in 1939’s “Gone With the Wind.”

    Twenty-four years later, Sidney Poitier became the first black actor to win best actor for playing an African American worker in 1963’s “Lilies of the Field.” It took another 38 years for Berry to become the first black best-actress winner for her role as an impoverished mother in the racially charged “Monster’s Ball.”

    Since 2002 about 20 black actors have been nominated across the four categories, mostly for black roles. Some of the wins in this group include Jamie Foxx for his portrayal of singer Ray Charles in the biopic “Ray” and Octavia Spencer for her role as a maid in the civil rights story “The Help.”

    The year 2011 was particularly dismal for black actors and filmmakers at the Oscars: not one of the nominees among the nine best-picture contenders or four acting categories featured any black talent.

    Even so, black actors may be faring better than other black employees behind the camera or in studio offices.

    A study of the Academy membership by the Los Angeles Times in 2012 estimated that nearly 94 percent of the 5,765 members at the time were white, while only 2 percent were black. The Academy does not break down its demographic makeup.

    ‘BACK TO SQUARE ONE’

    Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the first African American president of the Academy, said change can only come from the rank and file. “The men and women behind the scenes in every aspect of producing, marketing and distributing motion pictures will help to diversify the entire landscape for the industry,” she said.

    In recent years, a film industry catering to black audiences has taken off with releases from prolific filmmaker Tyler Perry and comedies such as “The Best Man Holiday” and this year’s rom-com “About Last Night.” A-list actors such as Berry, Washington, Viola Davis and Will Smith have also found roles in action and big-budget blockbusters for diverse audiences.

    But black filmmakers, including those with previous Oscar success, often still face challenges with Hollywood studios.

    Daniels, who made 2009’s Oscar-winnning “Precious,” said he was unable to convince studios to finance last year’s historical film “The Butler,” featuring an ensemble cast of respected black actors including Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey.

    “When I did ‘Precious,’ every studio told me that no one wanted to see that film,” said Daniels; he was “back to square one” with “The Butler.”

    The film was eventually distributed by the Weinstein Co and earned Screen Actors Guild nominations, but was shut out of the Golden Globes and Oscars. It did better at the box office, grossing $167 million worldwide.

    “Once (the studios) stop underestimating us, or we find African Americans or blacks in powerful positions that can greenlight (films),” said Daniels, “then there’ll no longer be a problem.”

    ****
    I wonder if any of the brave defenders of racism would like to inform Lucy Liu, Chris Rock, and Shonda Rhimes that the criticisms they’ve leveled at Hollywood are without merit.

  199. varady72 says

    Tony,

    You are being silly again.

    Look, In the midst of all this sobbing and sniffling, perhaps we ought to pause, grab some Kleenex and ask ourselves when we decided that the Academy Awards were so ­important.

    For most of us non-celebrities, Oscar night is simply a time to hang out with friends, maybe gush over some gowns and indulge our curiosity with a glimpse into the glitzy, glam world of celebrity.

    In many ways, Oscar hype and hoopla is similar to that of college or professional sports — it’s an entertaining competition that’s easy to become temporarily absorbed in, but one we know has ultimately no real effect on our lives. Most of the time, we leave it at that — the winners win, the losers lose and we all move on.

    But this year, something feels different.

    This year, the din of Oscar anger is uncomfortably loud and hard to ignore. This year, a mostly harmless, trivial cultural event has been hijacked by identity politics and group-oriented ­demands.

    It’s always disconcerting to see so many people organizing a battle based on race, gender or other single-issue identifiers. But it’s even more disconcerting to see battle lines being drawn over a single, silly, celebrities-only awards ceremony. The hullabaloo over nominations seems especially ridiculous since the film and art industry is more open than ever to anyone who wants to enter it — man, woman, black, white, gay, straight, young, old — it doesn’t matter.

    And really, isn’t that all that matters? Equal opportunity?

    If women or blacks or gays were being somehow prohibited from producing films, well, then we’d all have something legitimate to fuss about. But right this very minute, you can go see a movie directed by a woman starring a black actor, or focused on the life of a gay man. The film industry, on every level, has become about as diverse as it could possibly be.

    Nobody is really concerned that a certain group is being repressed or excluded from film or art, because nobody is. Rather, we’re just throwing a collective fit over who didn’t get invited to a big party. But since when are we so concerned with nominations, awards and little statues? Who put such a premium on the Academy anyway? The Oscars are not the be-all, end-all of the arts. Plenty of great films are totally off the Academy’s radar, and plenty of not-so-great films get heaps of the Academy’s praise. So ultimately, who cares what the Academy thinks? The Oscars are only as important as we decide they are, and there’s really no reason not to shrug the whole thing off entirely.

    Besides, when you really boil it down, the whole concept behind the Oscars is rather absurd. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with recognizing and rewarding great art.

    But attempting to single out one movie or one actor as the “best” and thereby make art into some competition or popularity contest seems contrary to the whole purpose of art and expression.

    Whatever happened to making art for art’s sake? Who needs that little golden man anyway?

    Whining about who didn’t get invited or nominated feels like a flashback to middle-school cliques and high-school drama. Let’s save that whining for that which really warrants it. In the meantime, let’s be grateful for the great strides that have been made to include any and everyone in the arts.

    And really, let’s stop caring what the Academy thinks.

  200. chigau (違う) says

    varady72 #226
    You are so stupid.
    I am limited to one-liners.
    but someone else will be along soon to explain stuff

  201. varady72 says

    Chigau,

    You have displayed zero critical thinking in this whole thread.

    You are the dummy here.

  202. says

    varady72:
    I’m not being fucking silly you assclam.
    I’ve backed my opinions up with evidence. You’ve done fuck all but continue to spread your asinine, racism propagating beliefs. Just fuck off you douchemaggot.

  203. says

    chigau @227:

    I am limited to one-liners.
    but someone else will be along soon to explain stuff

    We’ve tried, but varady72 knows so much more about racism in the U.S. than anyone else in this thread. Hell, xe knows more than the sociologists who have studied systemic racism and how it manifest in all levels of society. Listening to the fucknuggett in this thread is like listening to the Duck Dynasty fuckwit brought on FOX News as an expert.

  204. says

    I’m really baffled that someone could say this:

    Nobody is really concerned that a certain group is being repressed or excluded from film or art, because nobody is.

    In a thread where people *HAVE* been concerned about that, and where people (such as myself) have posted links to people who work in Hollywood who have expressed their concerns over the problem.
    But I’m ever so glad to have a varady72 the Racesplainer here to correct the rest of us and inform us that we’re the ones wrong here, despite the evidence and brought to the table that provides justification for our views. For instance, xe has not acknowledged that implicit racial bias exists and Hollywood is no exception. Denying reality…hmmm, someone has something in common with Republican assholes.

  205. Seven of Mine: Shrieking Feminist Harpy says

    varady72 @ 226

    Look, In the midst of all this sobbing and sniffling, perhaps we ought to pause, grab some Kleenex and ask ourselves when we decided that the Academy Awards were so ­important.

    It’s not that the Acadamy Awards themselves are important. It’s the impression they are giving that only white dudes are doing any work worth praising.

    For most of us non-celebrities, Oscar night is simply a time to hang out with friends, maybe gush over some gowns and indulge our curiosity with a glimpse into the glitzy, glam world of celebrity.

    Define “most” and then describe the process whereby you were voted “most” non-celebrities’ spokesperson.

    In many ways, Oscar hype and hoopla is similar to that of college or professional sports — it’s an entertaining competition that’s easy to become temporarily absorbed in, but one we know has ultimately no real effect on our lives.

    Tell that to the people who bust their asses and do really excellent work only to never be recognized because they don’t fit the cis-het white dude mold.

    Most of the time, we leave it at that — the winners win, the losers lose and we all move on.

    Again, who is this “we” you speak of and who voted you their spokesperson?

    But this year, something feels different.

    Probably the increased air flow around your head resulting from you pulling it far enough out of your ass to notice something occurring beyond the end of your nose.

    This year, the din of Oscar anger is uncomfortably loud and hard to ignore.

    And, as everyone knows, the most important thing in the world is to make sure you never have to be uncomfortable or find yourself unable to ignore something you wish wasn’t happening.

    This year, a mostly harmless, trivial cultural event has been hijacked by identity politics and group-oriented ­demands.

    1) Again, tell the people who are trying to make careers in this field how trivial it is to have your talent recognized.
    2) Why is identity politics and group-oriented demands only bad when it’s coming from groups you don’t personally identify with? I mean, I know the answer: it’s because you see yourself as default and thus not part of any identity or group and so the things you want to happen (or not happen) are just self-evidently the way things ought to be.

    It’s always disconcerting to see so many people organizing a battle based on race, gender or other single-issue identifiers.

    Why?

    But it’s even more disconcerting to see battle lines being drawn over a single, silly, celebrities-only awards ceremony.

    Why are the lives and livelihoods of people who aren’t you silly? Are celebrities not people? How do you think celebrities got to be celebrities? Could it maybe, possibly, have something to do with having their talent recognized by influential people?

    The hullabaloo over nominations seems especially ridiculous since the film and art industry is more open than ever to anyone who wants to enter it — man, woman, black, white, gay, straight, young, old — it doesn’t matter.

    And, as always, what seems to varady72 is the ultimate yardstick by which everyone should judge what’s ridiculous. And also, if something is more open than it used to be then really what’s the point of working to make it even better? At least it’s not as bad as it was in the past right?

    And really, isn’t that all that matters? Equal opportunity?

    And clearly, what could possibly be unequal about completely failing to notice the existence of non-white people making excellent movies?

    If women or blacks or gays were being somehow prohibited from producing films, well, then we’d all have something legitimate to fuss about. But right this very minute, you can go see a movie directed by a woman starring a black actor, or focused on the life of a gay man. The film industry, on every level, has become about as diverse as it could possibly be.

    It never ceases to amaze me how oblivious people can be to what their own fucking words mean. You’ve literally just said that token minority representation in the film industry is about as diverse as it could possibly be.

    Nobody is really concerned that a certain group is being repressed or excluded from film or art, because nobody is.

    Except for the people not having their fucking work recognized by really influential people in their field.

    The Oscars are only as important as we decide they are, and there’s really no reason not to shrug the whole thing off entirely.

    One wonders what the fuck you’re doing here, if that’s the case.

    And really, let’s stop caring what the Academy thinks.

    I’m sorry, why exactly should we care what you think?

  206. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    And really, let’s stop caring what the Academy [Vardy72] thinks.

    Fixed that for you. I don’t care what you think, if you can’t think and recognize the systematic racism still present in society. You have nothing cogent to say until you do recognize the systematic racism in society.

  207. Saad says

    varady72,

    Want to see more black Oscar nominations? Make more meritorious black-themed films.

    Wow.

  208. says

    Varady72

    Make more meritorious black-themed films.

    Wait; it’s a rule that actors only get a part in movies wherein their skin-colour is a theme?

    I can’t wait for this concept to be applied across the board. Just imagine all the great movies about issues people have to deal with due to their ownership of white skin!

    I mean, I’m sure you would want this hiring policy applied to all actors, on a non-biased basis, Varady72, wouldn’t you? ’cause it’d be well, kinda fuckin’ racist not to, wouldn’t it?

  209. says

    I don’t need to address the arguments you’re making.

    Must be nice to be so special.

    At no point have I ever said that we live in a “post-racial” society. Of COURSE there are still racism problems in the country.

    You didn’t explicitly say that we live in a post-racial society. You merely repeated the exact same arguments that those who do believe in that fiction always make.

    There probably always will be.

    Fatalism about a totally non-inevitable societal problem is easy when it’s only a problem for other people and indeed may even provide benefits for you.

    It just hardly seems that an extra-white awards year (ACADEMY awards, may I remind, as no one seems to be interested in combining other prominent awards organizations into their statistics) is a “problem”.

    How arrogant. Just because YOU are not aware of the research being done into why Sundance, for example, seems much more prone to honoring a diverse slate of directors, writers, and actors doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

    Has some grave injustice REALLY occurred, just because Selma didn’t get a nomination?

    A mild injustice. But hey, why not call it a grave injustice, that makes it easier to mock those who do feel some measure of concern about it.

    I don’t hear anyone complaining that WOMEN (of any color) are badly represented in the nominations.

    How odd. I heard exactly that complaint. This is the second time you’ve made the childish mistake of assuming that your media consumption is identical to everyone else’s. Assuming that you’re the default, in other words–which is precisely the affliction that leads members of the Oscar academy to overlook non-white non-male narratives.

    And that’s because the Academy gives them two entire categories of their own.

    Only for acting. Not so for the many other categories such as screenwriting, directing, music composition, editing, etc. And, yes, women of all colors are severely underrepresented in those categories and, yes, people do notice and talk about it. Fun fact! Things happen even though you’re not aware of them.

    Is that what we should do for blacks? Make a Best Black Actor and Best Black Supporting Actor category? That’s the only way to guarantee that they’ll ALWAYS see a nomination.

    We could just exclude white people from nominations for the next 70 years or so. That would be fair, right? So, no, your proposal isn’t the ONLY way to ensure that nominations ALWAYS include black people.

    If you mix ALL the actors into one category, disregarding gender, we might have a year here or there without any female nominees.

    Funny how you don’t offer the possibility of there being years here and there without any male nominees. Hey, your bias is showing.

    Would that be indicative of a “problem” of male bias? Maybe so.

    Definitely so.

    Would it be representative of the social structure at large? Certainly so. Does giving women their own categories solve all of society’s gender disparity problems? Obviously not.

    Again, pretending that anyone thinks that equal representation in pop culture is useful to you, because it allows you to act like your interlocutors are so very very unreasonable and silly. But this is a fiction and you know it. Your attempt at passive-aggressive insult is noted.

    I don’t hear anyone complaining that POOR people aren’t well represented.

    Ooooh, a brocialist! Fun fact: poor people are disproportionately black and disproportionately female. If you’re concerned about representation of poor people in pop culture then making sure women and people of color get an equal chance to tell their stories is an excellent way to do that.

    And that’s because all these Hollywood A-listers, whether black OR white, have more money falling out of their wallets right now than I’ve put into my last three cars.
    I don’t see any solution arising from demanding “quotas” of non-white nominees.

    God I fucking hate liars. Point to where anyone demanded a quota, you lying fuckstick. Do it. The only people in this thread who have brought up quotas are the fools who want to argue that nobody should pay an iota of attention to racism in the Oscars.

    @Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls
    “When you understand your privilege, and give some up for diversity, you will be solving the problem.”

    So, I need to do… what? Quit my job? Move to the slums?

    Charming. From “you should understand racism better” to “Oh so I need to move to the slums.” No comment except, Wow, look how dishonest this person is. And racist. White people also live in slums, haven’t you heard?

    How do I “give up” my “privilege” exactly?

    You can’t really give up all of your privilege; that was poor phrasing on Nerd’s part. But I can tell you from experience that speaking up, as a white person, against racism, to other white people, definitely has the effect of removing SOME privileges.

    What specific steps do you endorse for me, before I’m actually solving something? I live on the poverty line as it is. I’m gay, so I have some exposure (however minor) to lack of privilege in this country.

    Step 1 would be to stop trying to tell people to stop caring about the things that they care about, and stop lying about what they are actually caring about. That makes you ready for step 2, which is to listen to people of color talk about these things without saying anything to challenge them, for a long long time. Just listen. When you feel the urge to say, “But what if there’s an alternate explanation? How do you know it’s racism?” stifle it. Do this for a couple of years at least. Then you might be ready to be a help, rather than a hindrance, in the fight to end racism.

    I really think I’m just going to have to live with the guilt,

    Lying again. Nobody mentioned guilt. That’s your own invention. You have a real problem listening in general.

    somehow, that struggling through my life is making everything worse for everyone.

    Another dishonest representation of what your interlocutors have been saying. I think that makes 4 deliberate, obvious lies in one post so far?

    “If you believe we are a post-racist society”

    I don’t. At all. I’m perfectly aware of the problems of racism which plague our society. I just don’t think we’re going to fix them by bitching about a shallow awards show.

    Again, there’s that dishonesty. You invented the part where anyone suggested that better media representation for minorities would fix ALL of society’s problems with race. It would help, though. Why are you against helping to fix racism, even if it’s just a little bit of help? Also, “bitching” is a gendered slur, not that you fucking care, as a gay white man, you seem pretty typical of the species, mired in your own self-interest and utterly blind to anything beyond the confines of your narrow little mind.

    @Tony! The Queer Shoop
    “It’s like Edmond hasn’t read the thread or the multiple links provided throughout it.”

    You’re right, I haven’t.

    And you aren’t embarrassed? Amazing. White privilege really does cause white people to become mediocre.

    This isn’t the only article of PZ’s that I’ve given attention to. And PZ’s isn’t the only blog I read. And reading blogs isn’t my only activity on the internet. And playing on the internet isn’t the only thing I do all day.
    I don’t have the damn TIME to make sure I read EVERY blog post and follow EVERY link.

    If you had the time to write this half-assed, lying, illogical post, you had the time to read at least one of those links instead. That would have helped you. Instead you decided that, no, you’d like to insult black people and people who care about racism by blatantly lying about their positions instead.

    Do you?

    Tony seems well-informed on the subject. You do not. If you were prioritizing correctly, you’d have read those links first and only then returned to comment further, if at all.

    “the people making decisions about Oscar nominations are not free of the racial bias that everyone else has”

    Of course they aren’t. They’re human beings.

    They’re old, white, male human beings. It is a lie to say that their racial biases are everyone’s racial biases. A specifically racist sort of lie, since it rests on the premise that old, white, and male is the default setting for “human being.”

    But that doesn’t make a lack of nominations for actors of color this year a “problem”.

    Just because a bunch of people whom I admit are racist did a racist thing doesn’t mean that their racism is a problem! Uh huh.

    Maybe they just liked American Sniper better than Selma.

    Obviously they did, and what does that say about them? That they prefer racist, jingoistic propaganda based on lies to anti-racist critical thinking that depicts America in a less than flattering light. Perfect example of how racism helps determine the outcome of the Oscars, thanks.

    What the hell is the solution that everyone wants?

    Various things, many of which have already been mentioned, making the premise of this question (that no practical solutions have been offered) a lie. Another lie embedded here is that merely talking about it does nothing. Talking about it is a precursor to action. People who object to discussing a problem because they claim to prefer concrete solutions are really saying that they don’t want to have concrete solutions. It is humanly impossible to arrive at a workable solution without first discussing the nature of it first.

    Should Academy voters be FORCED to nominate blacks, JUST to increase their visibility?

    You persist in dishonestly arguing against positions that precisely nobody here have claimed to hold.

    I’m not sure that such an award would even be worth winning.

    Indeed, it wouldn’t, which is probably why nobody suggested it, which again makes you a liar.

    We could just give out one: Best Rigged Awards Show.

    We have that. It’s called the Oscars. It’s rigged in favor of white men. Maybe when white men like you start caring that things are rigged in their favor, we’ll see some serious change.

    And this is the post that varady72 pointed to as being great. Yup.

    Arguing that racism isn’t really a big problem is a losing proposition from start to finish, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by the extent of the lying from people who try to make that argument.

  210. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Varady72 being stupid:

    If women or blacks or gays were being somehow prohibited from producing films, well, then we’d all have something legitimate to fuss about.

    What makes movies is financing, which is determined by old white men who have institutional bigotry they don’t deal with. You and reality are not congruent.

  211. A. Noyd says

    edmond (#222)

    I don’t hear anyone complaining that WOMEN (of any color) are badly represented in the nominations.

    Ibis3 (#2)

    All the best director nominees were men? [checks Wikipedia]

    Yep. All men. So are all the writers of screenplays, both original and adapted. Oh, and all the foreign language nominees too. And cinematographers and composers of original scores. Lovely.

    See that, edmond? Comment number TWO, you stupid fuck. Surely you had the damn TIME to read at least the FIRST few comments in THIS thread. Or maybe you could have used ctrl/command + F to CHECK if anyone was complaining about WOMEN’s representation.

    And if you didn’t, then you sure as shit shouldn’t have mouthed off about what you do and don’t hear. What you “don’t hear” has a lot to do with how willing you are to listen. (See my links in #235 if you think there are never any complaints about representation of women and minorities in other media.)

  212. A. Noyd says

    Daz (#242)

    Just imagine all the great movies about issues people have to deal with due to their ownership of white skin!

    I can only imagine everything would turn out like Save the Pearls.

  213. says

    SallyStrange @241:
    While I look forward to your upcoming comment, varady72’s comments in this thread make it pretty easy to see their bigotry and arrogance. Also, their inability to deal in facts to justify their opinion on this subject.

  214. says

    edmond @222:

    I don’t hear anyone complaining that WOMEN (of any color) are badly represented in the nominations.

    http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-oscar-nominations-20150116-story.html

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/18/oscars-2015-all-about-eve-all-about-adam

    http://www.wmm.com/resources/film_facts.shtml

    http://www.citynews.ca/2015/01/15/infographic-women-minorities-underrepresented-in-hollywood/

    You must have very limited access to the Internet, because people have been very critical of the Oscar nomination process for ignoring both people of color *and* women.

  215. Saad says

    edmond, #222

    Has some grave injustice REALLY occurred, just because Selma didn’t get a nomination?

    I don’t hear anyone complaining that WOMEN (of any color) are badly represented in the nominations.

    I just don’t think we’re going to fix them by bitching about a shallow awards show.

    Now where did I put that darn Bingo card?

  216. Saad says

    **Oops, filter didn’t seem to like a word I quoted**

    edmond, #222

    Has some grave injustice REALLY occurred, just because Selma didn’t get a nomination?

    I don’t hear anyone complaining that WOMEN (of any color) are badly represented in the nominations.

    I just don’t think we’re going to fix them by [sexist term for unjustified complaining] about a shallow awards show.

    Now where did I put that darn Bingo card?

  217. says

    Saad @248:
    I love that the Defenders of the Status Quo in this thread believe that one can only criticize racism or racial bias when it reaches a certain threshold and a lack of People of Color being nominated doesn’t reach that arbitrary high bar they’ve set.

    ****

    From my 4th link @247:

    Oscar nominations came out Thursday, but neither female directors, screenwriters and cinematographers nor actors of colour got a nod from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

    That’s a disconnect when you consider women represent more than half of the U.S. population and minorities represent more than one-third of the population.

    One reason that they are underrepresented on awards night may be that 93 per cent of the more than 6,000 Oscar voters from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are white, 76 per cent are male and the average age is 63, according to the Los Angeles Times.

    TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey said “it’s a very limited demographic.”

    “We have to remember movies are a very personal experience for people,” he said. “We respond emotionally, we respond based on our own background, our own history. So it maybe that that very limited demographic of the Academy voters just have a particular interest in what they want to nominate. It doesn’t reflect North America fortunately.”

    The diversity issue was examined by the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA last year.

    According to its 2014 Hollywood Diversity Report, no minorities won an Oscar for director in 2011 when the survey was conducted. That same year only nine per cent of winning directors were women, while the lead actors who won Oscars that year were all white.

    Below are the gender and race breakdowns for actors, directors and screenwriters for 172 theatrical films that debuted in 2011, according to the diversity report.

    Lead actors by gender

    Male: 74.4 per cent
    Female: 25.6 per cent

    Lead actors by race

    White: 89.5 per cent
    Minority: 10.5 per cent

    Directors by gender

    Male: 95.9 per cent
    Female: 4.1 per cent

    Directors by race

    White: 87.8 per cent
    Minority: 12.2 per cent

    Writers by gender

    Male: 85.9 per cent
    Female: 14.1 per cent

    Writers by race

    White: 92.4 per cent
    Minority: 7.6 per cent

    “White men are the best and brightest. Everyone else, like those uppity black people, latino’s, and women…just be happy when we throw you table scraps every few years.”

  218. scienceavenger says

    Varady’s 227 comment has quite possibly the greatest words/content ratio of any post I’ve ever seen on this blog, if not the entire internet. No attempt to address any of the arguments made, no evidence cited to support his claims, just one bald assertion after another. You could almost see his hands over his ears, and hear the “LA LA LA LA LA LA LA I can’t hear you!” as you read it. Willful ignorance has its champion.

  219. scienceavenger says

    @Edmond 222

    It just hardly seems that an extra-white awards year (ACADEMY awards, may I remind, as no one seems to be interested in combining other prominent awards organizations into their statistics) is a “problem”.

    [sigh] It’s not about the one year, its about a long term bias. And combining other awards, as others have documented ad nauseum, makes your case worse, not better.

    Face it dude, you are just JAQing off because admitting there is an issue for some reason blows up your naive worldview.

  220. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Face it dude, you are just JAQing off because admitting there is an issue for some reason blows up your naive worldview.

    QFT.
    Until Edmond produces some real world evidence to show that there is equality in practice, rather than just the illusion of equality which is reality, Edmond is wrong. I don’t expect Edmond knows how to search for such evidence, or would recognize it if Edmond found it.

  221. Grewgills says

    @Tony 249
    That listing for 2011 is the heart of it. The listings for any other year will not be much different unless you go back further, in which case they’re probably even worse. Not so coincidentally when you go back further it is the people that made it through that filter that are the academy voters now.
    Opportunity is missing at every level from the bottom to the top. At each level the (usually unconscious) filter is applied. This determines what projects are financed and backed, how those projects are cast and staffed, etc. Then varady and like minded folks spout that women and minorities should just make more movies worthy of consideration ignoring not only the final filter the original post referenced (Oscar voters) but all of the filters before it.

  222. rq says

    I certainly hope that some activists, along with many of the black actors/actresses, directors, screenwriters, musicians, etc. do show up to ‘ruin’ the Oscars, right on the red carpet and then some more on the stage.
    That would be awesome and I would totally watch that.

  223. corvidd says

    @Sally Strange #243

    “Obviously they did, and what does that say about them? That they prefer racist, jingoistic propaganda based on lies to anti-racist critical thinking that depicts America in a less than flattering light. Perfect example of how racism helps determine the outcome of the Oscars, thanks.”

    I think that’s a tenuous argument. There are many, many factors on which to judge a film, so to suggest/imply that there’s some revelation about the Academy voters selection of American Sniper over Selma based on the former’s perceived racism/jingoism/propaganda etc…is quite unfair in my opinion. There’s no obligation to punish or reward a film based on those criteria, and concluding in this instance that favouring something like American Sniper over Selma is evidence indicative of racism, well that’s dubious . Some of the most critically acclaimed films of all time have been riddled with jingoism, unfair/inaccurate/insulting portrayals, whitewashing, inaccuracies, propaganda and racism/racist overtones. Battleship Potemkin, Triumph of the Will, Gone With The Wind, Zulu and more recently, Braveheart, were ( and still are ) all extremely well received productions despite having some of the aforementioned factors. That didn’t and doesn’t make them any less worthy of praise and pre-eminence as great pieces of cinema ( although how much Braveheart deserves such a label is debatable!)

  224. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I think that’s a tenuous argument.

    Gee, why are you so invested in defending institutional bigotry? You haven’t and can’t prove with solid and conclusive third party evidence this is a colorblind society with equal results for PoC and women. There is a massive amount of data that says otherwise. Your belief, which means your idea without evidence, doesn’t jibe with the facts found in places like this, which demonstrates the inequality of results.

  225. rq says

    No obvious punishment or reward, yet this isn’t about a reward or about punishment – it’s about subtle, unconscious biases that influence decisions – we all have them, and considering the demographic of the Academy judges, it shouldn’t be difficult to accept that unacknowledged racism can play a role in the decisions they make when determining whether a movie is worthy or not. When an all-American film about American favourite topics (like shooting other people with guns) gets more respect and acknowledgement than a drama about black people fighting for their rights, well…
    This isn’t a conspiracy – it’s just a fact of growing up in a racist society that has never demanded that one face one’s internal biases.