Racism in the Oscars: Why Certain Celebrities are Boycotting This Event
The Oscars, otherwise known as the Academy of Motion Picture and Arts and Sciences, is a well known and popular event that has an approaching anniversary on Feb. 28, 2016. This event began in 1929 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, and was first viewed on television in 1953. It now airs in over 200 countries. The 2016 Oscars was hosted by Chris Rock, comedian and actor, and addressed the controversial topic of racial preference in the Oscars. Chris Rock briefly stated that the Oscars had little diversity throughout most of history, and that he considered quitting after he was nominated to be the host. He went through with being host, realizing that the Oscars would carry on with or without him.
Throughout the history of the Oscars, the winners of the Academy Awards have been mainly white males. This has caused quite a bit of controversy among African-Americans, and other racial groups. Many people of color [POC] have been nominated, yet only a few have won.
“There’s going to be less role models to advocate for diversity in acting, and in media, and social media, and things like that. There are still great role models that are white, but at the same time kids who are growing up who are a different race than white are going to have less people to look up to,” Shelby Krugar ‘18 said.
Since 1958 to 2013, for The Best Actor in Leading Role award, 20 black actors were nominated, yet only four have won. Two of those actors who were nominated include Will Smith, who was nominated twice, and Morgan Freeman, who was nominated three times, and neither of them won. This has prompted certain actors to make the decision to boycott the Oscars, including Will Smith himself.
“They are a lot of African-American actors who have been in really great films this year that aren’t being represented accurately with the Oscars,” Krugar said. “I feel that it’s unfair of the screenwriters to not have included more diversity when they were picking the nominees.”
Around 2000, colored actors were progressing in winning awards, and many of them thought they saw a turnaround in black cinematic achievement. The past few years, however, have seemed to go in the opposite direction of what they hoped.
There have also been cases of movies having a very diverse cast, yet only the white actors are nominated or win awards. One of these is the new movie named “Creed.” This movie was written and directed by Ryan Coogler and starred Michael B. Jordan as the main character, yet the only nominee for an Oscar was Sylvester Stallone. He was nominated for screenplay, which was also written by two caucasians.
“California is an example of the incredible diversity of this country. That’s a strength. I think that when everyone’s story is told, then that makes for better art. It makes for better entertainment. It makes everybody feel part of one American family,” Barack Obama, President of the United States said, said in the Los Angeles Times.“So I think, as a whole, the industry should do what every other industry should do — which is to look for talent, provide opportunity to everybody. And I think the Oscar debate is really just an expression of this broader issue. Are we making sure that everybody is getting a fair shot?”