Could you sense it? You could sense it, right? There was an unspoken discomfort agitating underneath the Critics’ Choice Awards last night. Jessica Chastain, when accepting the first ever MVP Award, was the one who came closest to addressing it. She encouraged her peers to speak up about the lack of diversity…
But it’s not like she came out and openly criticised what was missing from the Oscar nominations that morning, Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday. And it’s not just Selma. But, you know, a lot of it is Selma. Click here to read a good piece about why the Selma snub is alarming. Sure, it was nominated for Best Picture. But without acknowledgement in any other categories besides music, it goes in unsupported. It’s unsupported because, well, Academy voters aren’t interested in stories they can’t relate to. Which is why almost all the films nominated for Best Picture are about dudes.
Spike Lee’s response to all of this is to say “F-ck ‘em”. In an interview with The Daily Beast right after the nominations were announced, he said:
“Let’s be honest. I know they’re trying to become more diverse, but when you look at the Academy and Do the Right Thing or Driving Miss Daisy, are they going to choose a film where you have the relatively passive black servant, or are they going to choose a film with a menacing ‘Radio Raheem’? A lot of times, people are going to vote for what they’re comfortable with, and anything that’s threatening to them they won’t.
The Academy is trying to be more diverse. Cheryl (Boone Isaacs) is trying to open it up and have more diversity amongst the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. But with Selma, it’s not the first time it’s happened, and every time it does I say, ‘You can’t go to awards like the Oscars or the Grammys for validation. The validation is if your work still stands 25 years later.’”
Here are Oprah and David Oyelowo at Critics’ Choice last night. I can’t find any shots of Ava DuVernay which is another sad reflection of the situation so I’m attaching photos of her from earlier this week at the LA Film Critics Association awards.