Oscars Controversy

Julian Basena, Writer

“Oscars so White” is the motto many African Americans have been exclaiming as of late. For years, the Oscars have been known for excluding diversity from their nominations. Because of this, a handful of African American and White entertainers have opted out of the 2016 Oscars, such as Will Smith and Mark Ruffalo. Even President Barack Obama has pointed out that the Oscars have failed to provide all A-list celebrities with a fair shot.

“I think this is a very appropriate time for the boycott. The Oscars bring attention to the film field,” said U.S. History teacher Mr.  Bond. For Hollywood entertainers who are participating in the boycott, it is not for the entertainment industry, but for the nation, as discrimination has been an issue the nation has been dealing with for a very long time.  

Within the past two years in a row, the Oscar’s leading and supporting actor nominations have been completely White. This could be attributed to the fact that the committee who determines nominees and winners are also mostly White, or it could be attributed to discrimination in casting roles to begin with–way before nominating candidates for Oscars even becomes a factor.

Surprisingly, the African American host Chris Rock did not commit to the boycott, but he has changed the script to his liking to entertain the audience through humor and wit. Critics also thought he focused only on African Americans when other ethnicities are not represented either.

Media is the main method of communication in today’s world. If African American, Hispanic, and Asian youth do not see themselves represented in not only the awards ceremonies, but also in the industry in general, they receive a negative message from the media.

Long Reach teacher and head of the Alpha Achievers program Mr. Bond explained, “The overall goal is to get minority movies respect.”

Mrs. Covington agreed by pointing out, “Minorities work just as hard as others.” She continued, “Sometimes you have to do something drastic for someone to hear you and to make a change.”

Indeed, due to all of the outrage, there has been talk of bringing back the Tree of Life Awards, otherwise known informally as the Black Oscars. The Black Oscars was founded in 1981 when the Oscar nominees were in a similar position to today’s. However, it was discontinued in 2007 when eight African Americans were finally nominated at the Oscars.   

Mark Stephen a Long Reach freshman said, “The black Oscars should be considered if White people control the industry.”

The Oscars controversy has obtained such a presence that President of the Oscars, Cheryl Boone Isaac, commented on this subject matter. She addressed how this rejection is what requires minorities to work even harder to get an Oscar. Isaac stated powerfully, “While change is difficult, it is necessary.”

President Isaac went on to point out one of the key changes necessary of the Oscars: “Our audiences are global and rich in diversity, and every facet of our industry should be as well.” Certainly, if minorities are given an opportunity, they will have the chance to win more often as well.

Most of President Isaacs comments are completely correct; minorities need an opportunity to succeed and without it, what happened this year will once again come back and become a continuous problem in Hollywood’s acting community.