As you may have heard there is a boycott movement to protest the lack of representation of black entertainment professionals at the current Academy Awards. There is also pressure for the host Chris Rock to step down.
I will suggest that he does not do so. There is no better platform to complain about the Oscars, than to host the Oscars. Chris Rock may have already written his material, and I am sure it will be fantastic. He is a very talented comedian, and has hosted this very well in the past. For the sake of that obvious platform for him to use, do not make him step away. We will all regret what he could have accomplished if that happens.
In the remote liklihood that he does step down under pressure of peers. Who is the likely backup? Ricky Gervais? Tina Fey? It has to be somebody planning to attend that is also willing to be the sacraficial lamb to the slaughter. I doubt very highly that any well known comedian/actor will opt into that frypan, knowing the fire is next.
You will need an unknown. Somebody that the majority of the entertainment industry does not know, but perhaps some social media followers may. Youtube stars are too popular. Instagram same thing. Twitter has a mass of highly comedic people, including myself, that have followers anywhere from 100 to 100,000, (one of my accounts is close to 2,500) that would love to make that step into the limelight regardless of the cost and say yes I will host the Academy Awards. I would not say no, but I doubt they would ask me. I have a passport, and do need the money.
Let’s bring up the issue at hand. Lack of representation of persons of colour. No actor nominations, and no film nominations. The obvious movie snubs are the highly critically acclaimed Straight Outta Compton, Creed, and Concussion. Clearly those films were considered contenders. The Academy Awards had changed the Best Picture category to up to 10 a few years ago, but it has rarely offered 10, this year it was 8. Clearly two of those three films had a shot to make that list if ten films were honoured. Were they next in line? Why is there a line at 8? It clearly suggests a snub.
The Academy Awards have often gotten it wrong. Not just in nominee selection, but movie winners as well. I doubt very many people will even know about Oliver from 1968. The most notable movie of 1968 was clearly 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick (RIP) based on the novel by my favourite author, Arthur C. Clarke (RIP). It wasn’t even nominated in the category. In 2008 it was great for Kathryn Bigelow to win against her former husband James Cameron who arguably to this day created the most stunning visual masterpiece ever put to film called Avatar. Avatar for many reasons will have a much higher remembrance factor than Hurt Locker. 1991 has several fantastic films including an animated one called Beauty and the Beast. When I first saw that film, I knew instantly it was destined to be a stage production, (which it did) because it was an aboslute masterpiece of film, regardless of being animated. Thelma & Louise was beautifully written, incredibly well acted, cinemetography of epic proportions, masterfully directed by the great Ridley Scott, has more well remembered movie quotes than you may even be aware of, and a soundtrack that was perfectly chosen. Little moments of people’s faces at certain pause points on the movie were so poignant, they were thought provoking. Instead of awarding either of those two brilliant films, the Academy picked Silence of the Lambs. No disrespect to Anthony Hopkins or Jodie Foster or Jonathan Demme, but that film was entirely picked on hype, regardless of how well acted, or directed, should not have held a candle against the other two films I mentioned. For both Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis to lose to Jodie was in my opinion, criminal. Thelma & Louise was also the last film I enjoyed Michael Madsen and Harvey Keitel performing in. A certain brutally graphic director did most of their next films. I only respect that director for his soundtrack selection skills, he knows music well, and I can never listen to Steeler’s Wheel again.
The recent Golden Globes couldn’t decide on a best picture drama so they put The Martian under Musical and Comedy, of which it is neither, unless a 70’s disco soundtrack counts as musical, or Matt Damon’s performance counts as a stand-up monologue, which in truth it wasn’t far from, but the film was a drama. All dramas have comedy, and all comedies have drama, they just do. The Martian, again brilliantly directed by the amazing Ridley Scott, is the only nominated film I have seen in those categories, so I am biased toward it. Scott was not nominated here, but won the Golden Globe in the entirely inappropriate category. A director who is nominated, is George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road, another film Tom Hardy acted in, though his nomination is for The Revenant in the supporting role. By many people’s opinion and Rotten Tomatoes, this was also a brilliant film. I would be shocked if it swept the awards, as some people feel it could, but I do feel the Academy has made a decision to award Leonardo DiCaprio finally for his latest performance in The Revenant, despite many past performances of greatness like The Departed, and Who’s Eating Gilbert Grape. I think the past history of the awards, most of the winners are the most nominated, which The Revenant was this year, though this is not written in stone tablets on the mount.
If you go by People’s Choice, another film left off the nominations is Furious 7, which won at People’s Choice. The song by The Weekend was also left out of the song category, though The Weekend still made the cut with a song in the horribly overhyped 50 Shades of Grey. It mainly depends which award show you wish to celebrate. If you won a Golden Globe, that more often than not translates to an Oscar. Critics Choice and People’s Choice rarely represent what Will Smith mentioned was a 96% ratio of white anglo saxon men on the Academy voting panel. I know somebody who has claimed to be part of that panel, though I cannot confirm it, but pushed Happy Feet over CARS for Animated Feature award in 2006 and I will dislike that decision, if it indeed was his doing. If my years seem out of date I may be going by release date of the films, over the actual air date of the Oscars telecast.
If you want to add Oscar categories, I feel that an Animated Voice Actor and Actress should be added. Larry The Cable Guy deserved to win for CARS, had the category ever existed. There are several recent animated movies that could have been nominated as Best Picture as well as Animated Feature. Toy Story 3 and Big Hero 6 were incredibly brilliant films. Wreck It Ralph should also have beaten Brave in 2012 for Animated Feature it was a better story and brilliantly voiced.
I doubt very much that the Academy will read this post, nor anybody in particular, but I felt a need to put my opinions out there. We need to push past the black vs. white stereotypes, we need to recognize all races, creeds, religions, persuasions etc. to not offend anyone, but history suggests that it will continue to divide and conquer us, instead of bringing us together in peace and harmony. If Chris Rock can prove me wrong, I will be a bigger fan of him than I am now. He made a great animated Zebra. Another possible Oscar winner for the category that I want added. Don’t make the boycott and protest turn the event into a blame game. A public apology would perhaps satisfy the participants of the boycott, but I think they will instead reflect on what they were accused of, and work towards preventing those claims in the future. As Spike Lee says, it is up to the studios to fix the issue. I hope so. There are many great actors and actresses and other professionals of colour, as they may wish to be known, but I prefer they be known simply as actors, actresses, and other professionals, regardless of colour. There should not be a token representation to satsify the masses, but a mutual agreement that they deserve to be there. I agree that they do deserve to be there. All labelled minorities deserve to be there, on their own merits, so they are no longer labelled as minorities.