#OscarsSoWhite: It’s Not About the Oscars!

By Mark Boyer
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OscarsSoWhiteThere are things I like about the Oscars, and things I don’t. What I like most about the Oscars is that it is a celebration of movies. What I don’t like is that the competitiveness for nominations and awards is really about “politics” and marketing. It’s a kind of forceful “king of the mountain” moment in an unfair system of privilege.

When there are so many critical problems in the world, it is easy for masses of people to become cynical about a few millionaire stars clamouring for more attention.

Another kind of cynicism emerges when there is shouting for African Americans and NOT also for Hispanics, Asian Americans, Native Americans, or others. And what about the lack of recognition for the cultural diversity struggle related to ageism, disability, sexism, or sexual preference?

Has the agenda of cultural diversity become competitive for attention within its own diverse constituencies? And why should we care about any of this?

For me it is about the stories that get told (or not). How we know and understand each other is through stories, images, and sometimes sound bites. Cultural diversity does matter, and it is important to our humanity that we have access to different perspectives. I could care less whether Spike Lee goes to a Knicks game. What I care about is experiencing the full, complex, comic, and tragic tapestry that is all of us.

Maybe the “king or queen of the mountain” controversy isn’t what is important. Maybe the mountain is a distraction perpetuated by those who feel they need to be at the top. Maybe the entire idea of promoting a revered art form at the Oscars and voting on “winners” is an absurd contradiction. 

What matters is that we find the ways to break through stereotypes and ensure that important stories profoundly and eloquently represent ALL of us. If we genuinely care about diversity and inclusiveness, we know the REAL STRUGGLE is about telling the stories that deserve to be told and not about the accolades.


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#1 Alec Maidan 2016-02-09 05:14
My solution to the Hollywood dilemma is not to watch their 'talkies'... ever. It mightily clears the mind (I believe) and leaves me free to see what other nations are saying about themselves. The only requirement is that one be literate and learn the little trick of reading the subtitles and watching at the same time.
Kind of like walking and chewing gum.
Of course Hollywood as an extension of the State has spread like a cancer over the planet. It has often destroyed local national and regional cinema. Mexico is a good example of this. Just take a look at what is on at the local movie houses.
And no it is not a 'choice' Mexicans have made. Generally US interests/busin essmen buy up distribution and the movie theaters themselves and give preference to US 'talkies'. Local film-making withers and dies. So it is the same kind of 'choice' as US elections.
This has happened in Germany and the UK as well as (for all I know) Outer Mongolia too. Books have been written about it.
But with some searching and clever downloading there are thousands if not tens of thousands of treasures out there.
Only a few of them make it into the tiny 'foreign film' section of festivals and maybe even the Oscars.

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