The Oscars


It doesn’t look as if this subject is going to cool down until the Oscars are over – or could that be the beginning of another chapter?

You know the scenario, The Oscars’ Actor/Actress category has no actor of colour nominated in either lead or supporting role this year, and the same occurred last year.  The outcry has now stepped up and has become an international debate.  Jada Pinkett-Smith uploaded the following film on her Facebook page:

I think she spoke with humility and grace and put her points across with love.  Janet Hubert who used to work with Jada’s husband, Will Smith, was a little more vocal about the situation and spoke out quite vehemently against Jada.

I wish Janet hadn’t done that to be honest because she ended up drawing attention to an on-going feud she has with The Smiths and an obvious “closure” she has been seeking since her departure from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, but that discussion is for another time.

I have kept very quiet until now.  My thoughts are two-fold.  Firstly, the voting academy members have probably held their positions for decades and maybe aren’t too comfortable or even knowledgeable with the modern multi-cultural entertainment world as it is today.  If an institution is run by white anglo saxon men (for example), then that’s the image they are going to feel comfortable connecting with, portraying and rewarding.   Do you get my drift?

Secondly, it’s no secret so let’s not tiptoe, magazine covers very rarely use images of people of colour because it’s believed that the magazine won’t sell as many copies with a black image on the front.   It’s almost headline news when a black model makes it on the front of Vogue or Cosmopolitan!  Could this rule also be applied to the film industry when lead roles are being offered?

We have been programmed into believing that the definition of beauty isn’t housed in a black body, and that programming has extended into an additional belief that people of colour represent something “less than” or are unable to meet certain standards.  Attitudes as a result over a period of time from both black and white people “cushion” this belief.   We laugh and mock the white guy who can cut shapes and dance moves as well as a black guy.  We stare in amazement at black ballet dancers…….. can you see the point I’m trying to make?

There is a third arm to this debate:  Is it important to receive awards?

Ice Cube made a very interesting point on the Graham Norton Show on Friday 22nd January when asked if he was going to the Oscars.  He said he’s never been and can’t boycott something he’s never been to. “I look at it  as a horse race” he says, “once your horse loses the race you tear the ticket and back on out.  It’s nothing really to put that much energy into.  I don’t do movies for the industry I do movies for the fans and for the people, and if the industry gives you a trophy or not, or whether they pat you on the back or not, it’s nice, but it’s not something you should dwell on”.

I don’t think the debate will end the day after the Oscars.  I am looking forward to Chris Rock’s hosting skills, if he’s on form he’ll probably be as risqué as Ricky Gervais was at the Golden Globes!  What will be interesting is how the film industry chooses the nominations and winners next year.

The debate goes on.