Tuesday, February 1, 2011

On Oscar and diversity

"There are lots of reasons at both the individual level as well as the industry level that converge to suppress diversity both on the screen and behind the scenes... The film industry does not exist in a vacuum; it is part of a larger culture, and our attitudes about gender and race are extremely deeply held. Those attitudes don't change overnight or with an Oscar win."
There were several articles like this one around the web last week when the Oscar nominations were announced. It's to the writers' credit that the issue of diversity in Hollywood in general and the Oscars in specific was at the forefront of their minds. I did not expect any people of color to be nominated, at least not in the major categories. The women of For Colored Girls might have had an outside shot if they had had a bigger campaign, but since the film got mediocre reviews, that probably wasn't gonna happen. I was rooting for Winter's Bone director Debra Granik, and if I had had a ballot I would've voted for her for Best Director, but if Christopher Nolan couldn't get in, what chance did she have? Ditto Lisa Cholodenko for The Kids are All Right.

All I have to say about the matter is that perhaps the emphasis shouldn't be on demanding change from the establishment. Maybe it should be more about finding and cultivating new talent from women and minority filmmakers, to the point where the establishment realizes that money can be made off of them just as easily as anyone else. The more voices there are out there in the wilderness, the greater the chances are that they'll eventually be heard. Though let it be known that I am against rewarding talent strictly because they're women or minorities. They've also gotta be good.

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