The mocking of the Academy Awards nominations continues

The Academy Awards continues to get its lumps for the fact that its membership is skewed heavily white and male and old and this year’s nominees were conspicuous by the lack of actors of color, and that even in films that dealt explicitly with black themes and featured black actors in major roles, it was the white people involved who got nominated.

Saturday Night Live joined in the piling on.


  1. moarscienceplz says

    It was so obviously white-centric that I would think that anybody who did win would have to refuse to accept. Otherwise, they will have a virtual asterisk next to their name in every future Oscar list. Who wants to be known for the next 100 years as the token white Oscar winner?

  2. kyoseki says

    The Academy has rolled out a bunch of rule changes to try to limit the extent to which inactive Academy members can influence the vote -- basically, if you haven’t actually been active in moviemaking for the past 10 years, you get shunted to “Emeritus” status and can no longer vote.

    Of course, they had to do something, if industry people started actively boycotting/ignoring the Oscars, they may start to realize that the entire purpose of the things was to stop them realizing just how awful most labor conditions are in the movie industry.

  3. says

    I think the media is at its most boring when it gets into self-referential self-criticism.

    Are there still people who give a fuck about the oscar? Why?

  4. Dave Huntsman says

    The thing is, guys, there is a problem I have when people use dog-whistle type messages to say one thing, but mean something else. In the case of the Academy Awards, the people making the most stink about it aren’t as concerned about ‘diversity’ , in my view; or rather, when they say ‘diversity’, they really mean ‘black’. And that’s always bothered me.

    Kinda like the problem with ‘diversity’ in Silicon Valley. The last numbers I saw were that over 30% -- way out of proportion of the population -- of VC folks and entrepreneurs there, fell under the category of “Asian”. (Man, do people love their categories) All the talk of lack of “diversity” ignored that fact; because, when you read underneath the lines, what the complainants really meant was “black” only. And that if that >30% had been under the “black” category, there would have been nary a peep.

    I think we need to ensure equal opportunity for everyone -- including, by the way, those of no religion (! Don’t get me started on the Supreme Court there……..). We need in all our institutions to ensure that no one is left out: Not by income, or zip code, or national origin, or religion or lack of same, or skin tone, or anything else that artificially separates individuals. But my concern is the dog-whistleing going on; when lack of ‘diversity’ only means one thing; and if that one thing can be manipulated to satisfy certain interest groups, then all of a sudden the agitation goes away- even if nothing fundamental has really been done.

  5. abear says

    At about 15% of the population, if all else is equal, than black people should win the awards every 7 years or approximately twice if you are counting from 2000.
    According to wikipedo, since 2000 blacks have won:
    best actor- 3 times
    best actress- once
    supporting actor- once
    supporting actress- 4 times
    Is my math out? That seems kind of in line with their percentage of the population. Granted, it was measuring by only the past 15 years and I doubt anyone would argue that African-Americans were unfairly excluded from the industry.

  6. kyoseki says

    Nominees is probably a better metric than actual wins.

    If you consider that a role starring a minority may have to be truly exceptional to warrant a nomination, then it’s more likely to win overall, this year there are very very few minorities nominated in any category.

    Also bear in mind that unlike the final Oscar voting, the nominees are usually chosen by groups specific to that role, while the vote for the final Oscar is conducted by the academy as a whole, this suggests that the individual branches are probably more to blame than the entire academy.

    Lastly, of course, the breakdown also applies only to certain ethnicities. Latino & Asian moviemakers are staggeringly underrepresented both in terms of nominations & wins.

    Now, as for the question of who still cares about the Oscars, they’re still a big deal to the media as a whole and since the media is also responsible for reporting the news, it’s not surprising that they’re obsessing over this. The media reports on what is of interest to the media, and ignores what isn’t, which also explains why they’re more than happy to bash sports subsidies, but conveniently leave the far larger film & tv subsidies completely unreported.

  7. abear says

    kyosecki: The fact that they have fewer nominees than winners I would think show that although they have a smaller pool they are voted winning at a higher rate given pool of candidates.
    Bear in mind that the Academy Awards is mainly American with participation from other English speaking countries. Bollywood and other national/international film groups show diversity according to the tastes of their audience.

  8. kyoseki says

    The fact that they have fewer nominees than winners I would think show that although they have a smaller pool they are voted winning at a higher rate given pool of candidates.

    This illustrates that the problem is with the nomination process.

    If minority roles were getting nominated constantly and failing to win, then that would illustrate a problem with the overall voting process by the entire Academy, but the problem generally is that minorities aren’t getting nominated. Certainly, this year (like last year) there’s a chronic lack of minority nominees which is what’s triggering the backlash.

    For example, Straight Outta Compton only earned Oscar nominees for the (white) writers, not the primarily black cast, nor did the movie get a best picture nomination despite there being 2 free slots (the Academy can nominate up to 10 pictures, it only nominated 8 this year), Creed garnered a nomination for Stallone in a supporting role, but not Michael B Jordan in the title role.

    I don’t know if the Academy’s rule changes will help in this regard, I’m not sure what the make up of the various branches looks like, but it certainly couldn’t hurt.

  9. kyoseki says

    … it is also worth noting that the movie industry has an inherent bias against trying ANYTHING new, so even if the nominees exactly reflected the ethnic make up of all movies made in a given year, it’s highly unlikely that the ethnic make up of those movies would match the nation as a whole.

    Obviously I’m ignoring international movies here, but so does the Academy. The purpose of the Oscars is to keep the domestic movie industry in check, they really don’t care about international movies because those guys joining IATSE isn’t a threat to domestic movie production.

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