The Controversial boycott over the Academy awards. THIS IS MY OPINION!
Trending this week via social media and on every major news networks is the boycott over the "lack of Diversity of Academy Awards Nominees." Last week, for the second consecutive year, the Oscars nominated 20 white actors as the best performances of the year. I'm sorry, but everyone in Hollywood knows it has always been the good ole' boys club... in every aspect. I may not be person of color or ethnic background, but I am a woman, and with that comes its own challenges in life and in the industry... but I don't pout, boycott or cry about it. I speak at conferences and seminars and teach other young ladies that working harder, smarter and being the very best at something can get you just as far. The road may be longer, harder and you will probably have to work twice as hard as the guy next to you, but anything can be achieved.
The academy awards are no different. I don't think people really understand the dynamics of the AMPAS, which oversees the Academy Awards (Oscars.) They were started in 1929 and they weren't even televised till 1953! It is the OLDEST awards entertainment ceremony in the world and arguably the most respected. This weeks boycott lead by Jada Pinkett Smith because hubby Will Smith wasn't nominated kinda feels like another "Kayne West pout fest." Don't get me wrong, out of the roughly 6000+ voting members, something like 93% are caucasian and 70% are male age 60+. Actors constitute the largest voting bloc. Membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is by invitation only. The Academy sends out invitations to a very limited number of qualified members of the film community once a year. Membership in the Academy normally fluctuates between 6,000 and 6,500 voting members.
Candidates for membership are proposed by current Academy members and then voted on by committees consisting of prominent representatives of the Academy's 14 branches - directors, screenwriters, documentary filmmakers, etc. A candidate normally has the backing of at least two members of the branch for which he/she may qualify. Candidates must receive an endorsement by the appropriate branch executive committee before their name is given to the Board of Governors for its approval.... (complicated, and boring eh?)
So even though I do NOT agree with this years boycott and Jada Pinkett Smith whining rant, I do agree that there is a lack of diversity (women included) in the Academy. George Clooney said something very interesting in an interview. ".......I would also make the argument, I don’t think it’s a problem of who you’re picking as much as it is: How many options are available to minorities in film, particularly in quality films?"
In my opinion, although Brain Drain (now officially called Concussion) was not nomination material. (Sorry Jada!) Will is great.... a better nomination (again IMO) would have been Benicio Del Toro in Sicario. None of the movies that people are talking about for being racially snubbed (Creed, Beasts of no Nation, Concussion, Straight outta Compton) were amazing performances. I suggest you view ALL the Oscar SNUBS, not just the ones involving diversity.
Whoopi Goldberg made a great statement saying "You wanna boycott something? Don't go see the movies that don't have your representation. That's the boycott you want," she said. "To me, we have this conversation every year. It pisses me off." And Charlotte Rampling who is a member of the Academy and thus eligible to vote and is up for and Oscar this year said she disagreed with quotas. “We live now in countries where anyway people are more or less accepted,” she said. “There are always problems: ‘He’s less handsome’ or ‘He’s too black’ or ‘He’s too white.’ There will always, always be someone who will say, ‘Oh, you’re too ….’ What are we going to do? We’re going to classify all that to create thousands of little minorities everywhere?” Her statement is very Hollywood. When casting directors look at actors they often do say she's too this... or that, too tall, thin, fat.... too aged...
My very favorite stand against this boycott was Stacey Dash. She is as beautiful and diverse as you can get. She stood up and said "I think it's ludicrous, because we have to make up our minds. Either we want segregation or integration. If we don't want segregation, then we need to get rid of channels like BET, and the BET Awards and the Image Awards, where you're only awarded if you're black," she explained. "If it were the other way around, we would be up in arms. It's a double standard." "The good news is, there's attention brought to it now. But, like I said, over the past eight years, we've had a president who's black, who gets his funding mainly from Hollywood. 'The elite liberals.' So, it's odd to me that this has now become such an issue." YOU GO GIRL!
Lionel Chetwynd, film director/producer/ screenwriter, wrote that “enforced ‘diversity’ will undermine the very mission” of the Academy. “The face of the Academy will change as it should, to the meter of its time, the pace of its art."
I do think the Academy will become more diverse..... but over a long period of time. Slow and steady wins the race!
Life isn't fair. Never has been, never will be for ANYONE. Just look at Leonardo Dicaprio. This is his sixth Oscar nomination....and although I think he was amazing in The Revenant, I think Matt Damon in The Martian will take it. (I am going for Leo though!!) Things aren't always going to be easy or go your way and there are so many things out of our control. But that truly is life... unfair and disappointing. So put on your big girl panties and suck it up! That's life! Take a lemon and make a really good lemonade!