Tuesday, January 19, 2016

"#OscarsSoWhite, in Part Because #EverythingsAProblem"

A classic case of damn if you do, damn if you don't

WFB: For the second year in a row, no actors of color have been nominated for an Academy Award. As a result of this travesty, the Academy Awards—an organization that has awarded the following men

(From l. to r.) Alfonso Cuaron, Alejandro G. Inarritu, and Ang Lee
the last three Oscars for best directing, by the way—has again been slammed with the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag. People are very upset! There are so many strong movies with heavily black* casts, films like Chi-Raq and Beasts of No Nation. Why weren’t they rewarded?

Of course, we haven’t considered the fact that many of these films were also deemed extremely problematic, both before and after their release. Can you solve one problem (lack of Oscar diversity) by appealing to problematic art?

Let’s go through some of the snubbed pictures and see how socially conscious types addressed them during their release:

Chi-Raq

Chi-Raq is the latest Spike Lee joint; I reviewed it here. It’s a modern retelling of Lysistrata set on the streets of Chicago, where the gal pals of gang leaders refuse to give it up for their men whilst bodies are still dropping. Many people are rallying to Spike Lee’s side after he called out the Academy for its problematic lack of “flava” (his word, not mine). Of course, Chi-Raq itself was deeply problematic, as was a song tied to the film’s release:
Titled “WGDB”—We Gotta Do Better—it’s an ode to black pathology, anchored by two opinions. The first is that black-on-black gun violence is something that occurs because blacks widely approve of or ignore it, which means it still needs repudiating. The second is that maybe if black people just had more self-respect, the cops whose salaries black people pay would treat them nicer, shoot and/or jail them less, and so on. These are both bad and dumb opinions.
So let’s say Spike Lee’s film gets a bunch of nominations in the acting categories. What do the think pieces look like then? “Oh, sure, the Academy loves rewarding films that blame black people for all their own problems! #smdh #outrage” (read the whole thing)

23 comments:

Methadras said...

If you cut off the welfare recipients wholesale, they will retaliate like a drug user denied their fix. Since government created this mess that has led to the levels of black on black crime and murder in the leftist enclaves they set up, then people expect that government should also fix the problem. However, we all know that this is a total farce since government fixes nothing and only exacerbates everything it touches. It fouls it. It corrupts it. So listening to Spike Lee talking about the Oscars being to white, light, bright, and uptight makes me laugh, since he basically created another exploitation film that is a retelling of an even older story, then gets mad at whitey for not appreciating his knock-off work. Spike Lee always looking for a bone from whitey and never getting it. Man, talk about creating dependency.

bagoh20 said...

I blame Black artists, because in the last 30 years every NBA Most Valuable Player award has gone to a Black man except 3 White guys in there - zero Asians, zero Hispanics, zero dwarfs, zero women, etc. How do they do it?

rhhardin said...

The Intern, Anne Hathaway, is nice.

Methadras said...

What's funny is that the chocolates are mad that other minorities are getting the limelight and they aren't. There is a joke in there somewhere.

edutcher said...

You really want to destroy the Oscars (actually that happened 40 years ago, but I digress...)?

Put in an Affirmative Action requirement.

PS Yes, it does seem to be only one group of minorities, doesn't it, Meth?

bagoh20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bagoh20 said...

I heard a guy complaining on the radio today because his dad taught him how to act in public as a black man. He was taught to: not be aggressive, not be loud, not be threatening.

The problem is that black people think every difficulty or challenge is because of their skin color. Which race is it that assumes you can be aggressive, loud, and threatening, and that's OK? From what I see in popular culture, you might come to think that there is one race that actually thinks that.

bagoh20 said...

I guarantee this "snubbing" won't happen again, somehow. What might that somehow be that a winner would not be chosen on the basis of merit, but rather by skin color? Isn't there a word for that?

Amartel said...

From now on, the black nominee will always be assumed to be a token, regardless of merit.
Because Spike Lee wants attention and relevancy and he wants it RIGHT NOW.

bagoh20 said...

There should just be a special "Barack Obama Oscar" from now on.

Lem said...

Wouldn't a black Oscar, a Barack Oscar be considered less than somehow?

Like putting an asterisk on a Hall of Famer?

ricpic said...

Blacks seem to want to insure that they'll be seen as black and nothing but black. Every advance made by a Ben Carson or a Clarence Thomas is nullified by these spurious protests.

ricpic said...

Inarritu is a helluva director. Political idiot but great director. You gotta see Revenant. That's an order!

Leland said...

Sorry ricpic, but I heard the same about Birdman. While I agree that I liked the style in which Birdman was filmed, the fact that it was a literal flipping of the bird to the audience convinced me to pass on anything else he directed.

ampersand said...

Well the oscars used to have separate categories for black and white film, they can always revive that, minus the white of course.

From now on look for at least 1 black & white - white film to be included every year, even if it's only Godzilla vs Martin Luther King Kong jr.

BTW how was Spike gonna boycott the oscars? He wasn't nominated, was he a seat filler?

bagoh20 said...

I saw Revenant, and it was beautiful and the epic kind of film I love, and I would recommend it to everyone, because what bothered me about it may be trivial to others. Although it had a lot of incredible realism about the environment and the characters, I just could not get over how unlikely it was that DiCaprio's character really could have survived what he did. The bear was a bad day, but people do survive such things. What seemed wholly impossible to me was that in that extreme cold and wind that a man could survive multiple drenching in ice filled water, then climb out and just go on with his business with no shelter, sometimes lighting a fire with incredible ease in heavy wind, and somehow getting his clothes dry fast enough to not be fatal - all while seriously injured. Then, the lone Indian fighting off a pack of hungry wolves single-handedly and then building and maintaining three huge bonfires all by himself just for the hell of it. It seemed highly unlikely to me. That kind of thing bothers me more than it should I guess, since it IS a movie. In that genre, I liked "Dances with Wolves" much more. More story, more drama, more epic, more believable. I know Hugh Glass was a real person, and some of his legend is even more fantastic than the movie, so with such a legendary life , it's hard to bitch about a movie based on it, and yet I did. What a dick!

rcocean said...

What's wrong with an AA requirement for the Oscars? Hollywood loves AA and diversity. Let them practice what they preach.

Its not like anyone really cares.

Leland said...

Bags and ricpic, since you seen it; I have a question. In every movie, save "Catch me if you can", with DiCaprio; all I can see is DiCaprio pretending to be something he could never be. It's like watching a kid in a HS drama class pretending to be an adult. The irony is that in "Catch me if you can", that was what the role called for, so he was perfect. So in Revenant, do you see DiCaprio's character, or do you see him trying to play the part?

Amartel said...

All the huge movie stars are just playing variations on a theme, themselves. That is what's supposed to sell the movie. Their brand - Tom Cruise, Jukia Roberts - is what put butts in seats, not the acting ability which in many cases is marginal at best. The brand is the face + some easily recognizable personality tics (the Roberts' grin, Cruise intensity stare, Will Smith's laugh, Tom Hanks' voice) = proven bank. Most of the time. Well, some of the time.

bagoh20 said...

I think he's believable in the part. He certainly is not a pretty boy in this one. He is absolutely filthy the entire film and never cleans up much. He is a grown man now and looks it. The substantial beard is his and I read he took a year and a half to grow it. I could see him as that guy. Although, from what I've read about the real Hugh Glass, I doubt he was a soft spoken type guy. I would expect him to be an outspoken irrepressible type, but who knows. Wouldn't you love to talk to someone from then. They must have been entirely different people from us pussies today.

William said...

I would sooner see Brokeback Mountain than Chiraq. There are some black oriented films that just aren't going to sell a lot of tickets. That said, a movie with Will Smith or Denzel Washington has a high probability of being worth seeing.......I would guess that Italan and Jewish film directors are over represented among the Oscar winners. Who cares? It'd be a hell of a thing if all talents and skills were distributed absolutely evenly among all classes, races, religions, and ethnicities, and that only our prejudices keep us from appreciating that obvious fact.......Blacks are over represented in sports and music. White people will never see a white man ever again win an Olympic sprinting event, nor, for that matter, even compete in a qualifying event. That's just the way the mop flops.

Leland said...

Thanks for the response Bags. You points are influential. I don't see many movies in theater, but I might pick this up for the home.

ricpic said...

Leland - I thought DeCaprio did a journeyman job in Revenant. By that I mean he doesn't "emote" in this film. Early in the film he suffers a bear attack which reduces him to endurance level existence. Which precludes emoting. Anyway, I found his relatively passive performance believable. There is a superb performance (which doesn't come across as a performance) in the film by Tom Hardy who plays a devious whiner...very believable.