It’s been six days since the Oscar nominations were announced and every day criticism of the Academy’s pattern of exclusion continues to grow as more and more actors are speaking up and out against the lack of diversity represented on the supposed list of what was the best in film over the last year.
Earlier this week it was Spike Lee joining Jada Pinkett Smith in a boycott of the Oscars. Yesterday David Oyelowo made headlines for his remarks at an MLK event honouring Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs when he called out the Academy for its resistance to change and challenging the Academy to adjust, not next year, not in six months, but by the time the Oscars happen on February 28th. You’ll recall, David was not nominated for an Oscar last year after playing Martin Luther King Jr in Selma while Ava DuVernay was passed over for a Best Director nomination. As many others have already suggested, the performances and accomplishments by culturally diverse artists that do get recognised are often for roles in which the white establishment is most comfortable seeing them – maids, slaves, crooked cops, drug addicts – and not for parts that reflect a more broad perspective, a point Idris Elba highlighted in his remarks while addressing British Parliament on Monday. You can read the transcript of Idris’s speech here and the full text of David’s comments here. Idris was out last night in London at an art show. Those photos are attached.
The Oscars are five weeks from Sunday. No doubt, the Academy is hoping that all this noise will subside by then – they probably thought it would have subsided by now. As I mentioned the other day in my post about Tracee Ellis Ross (click here for a refresher), I’m not sure a boycott is the answer. Instead of a boycott, maintaining the volume of the protest we’ve seen so far, a consistent blast highlighting the Academy’s shortcomings, effectively dominating the discussion and thereby detracting from the self-congratulatory messaging that the Academy would obviously prefer, culminating in whatever it is Chris Rock will do on stage that night, might have more impact. What do you think? Let me know your thoughts.
Yours in gossip,