News & Politics

Black Actors Matter: Hollywood Braces for a White Oscars

Check your privilege, Oscar voters. Hollywood is very worried about the issue of our times.

No, it’s not global warming, or wealth inequality (that was a joke: ed.), or even sexual assaults on campus (or on the casting couch). The issue on everyone’s mind as voting begins for this year’s Oscars is that few or no blacks will be nominated.

L.A. Times:

The academy found itself on the defensive last year when white actors earned all 20 of the nominations in the lead and supporting categories. The topic came to define the Academy Awards so much that host Neil Patrick Harris opened the ceremony by quipping: “Tonight we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest. Sorry, brightest.”

Yet there’s a strong chance this year’s acting awards will once again be heavily, perhaps exclusively, white, despite the efforts of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to diversify the organization.

In the four acting categories, only Idris Elba (“Beasts of No Nation”) sits among the forecasted nominees at Gold Derby, a website compiling the predictions of two dozen Oscar pundits.

That could change by the time nomination balloting closes Friday, with some close observers saying that the prospect of another #OscarsSoWhite controversy could even influence the voting.

“If it’s all-white again, nobody’s going to be happy and there might be a growing perception that the academy is out of touch,” said USC history professor Steve Ross, author of several books about Hollywood politics. “It has to be a good performance, but, for some, if they’re deciding between Will Smith and somebody else, they might just go for Will Smith because of what happened last year.”

Some academy members worry privately that another backlash could damage the institution’s reputation, particularly as award shows such as the Emmys and Grammys feature prominent winners of color.

Oscar voters, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the subject’s sensitive nature, seem split between going with their instincts and casting a ballot with an eye toward maintaining the group’s relevancy.

“I don’t see how you can nominate another group that doesn’t include any actor of color and think you’ll be taken seriously,” one actors branch member said.

Casting a vote based on the race of an actor is not “diversity,” it’s racist. But it’s an accepted form of racism because, you know, white people and history. In fact, I can see a scenario in the near future where some awards are reserved exclusively for people of color and a quota is employed limiting the number of whites who can be nominated.

I find it amusing that the very people complaining about the lack of “diversity” leading to the academy’s “irrelevance ” are either too stupid or too besotted with racialist thinking to realize the quickest way to make the awards meaningless is to base votes on the color of an artist’s skin. But don’t try to correct them or you’ll be branded a racist.

Of course, the voting is subjective, which leads the racialists to conclude that white solidarity is the reason for the lack of black nominees. It’s impossible to prove but would be a good soundbite on awards night when questions are raised about so many white people winning the Oscar.