Chris Rock, a very funny man, is being pressured to withdraw as host of the Oscars this year in protest of a lack of nominations for African American actors.
In a gross trend of reverse discrimination it seems as though many are suggesting that race, colour, or gender should factor into choices made by Hollywood about what films they make, and how they make them.
The Oscars were created to honour the greatest and strongest achievements. It’s really not about being fair or kind.
Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Science members get to vote each year. Their average age is over 60 and its members, not surprising of that group, are more men, and more Caucasian’s that make up the general public.
The only member of the board of governors of AMPAS is its President, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who also is listed as the governor for PR. If you’re going to be a “token”, being President is as high as it gets. Actually if you look at a list of past President of AMPAS it looks like her very Presidency is an act of reverse racism.
In 2003, when this writer’s creation was nominated for an Oscar for Best Feature Documentary we knew that Academy members usually don’t reward two Holocaust films in the same year. Michael Moore won the Oscar in our category, and The Pianist instead won big including Best Director for Roman Polanski which was probably a sentimental pick more than anything. It happens. It’s not about being fair. It’s Hollywood, a land of make believe where a good story goes a lot further than faux outrage at injustices.
For Black filmmakers to play the race card they are only hurting their own cause. Filmmaking has long been an industry that had barriers that people had to overcome. People forget that Jews were blocked from the early days of film making when under the auspices of “The Trust” and people like Thomas Edison.
You can’t force people to like product or performances. You can spend a lot of money on promotion, but at the end of the day it comes down to the product and performance. Is it perfect? No, but in these days of digital production there is no excuse for any actor or filmmaker to not go out and make their movie one way or another.
Whether African American, Asian, Hispanic, or any other race, lifestyle, or ism of your choice, it always comes down to what people like.
Some, like Jada Pinkett Smith, might give that pause for consideration. Her husband’s )Will Smith) skin colour certainly hasn’t hurt his ability to earn money or get starring roles in films.
The Oscars are a time to celebrate a year of work by some very talented and hard working people. It should not be a time to focus on issues that there are 364 other days to fight over.
From the AMPAS President via Twitter:
A statement from Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs pic.twitter.com/Nqhgc7sbqG
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) January 19, 2016
If you look at television, and film, there are more roles for visible minorities. Again, membership to AMPAS and of course voting should not be based on Gender or Colour. To do so would consciously embrace what people like Spike Lee are boycotting this years Oscars about.
When you start handing out awards because of someone’s gender, age, or colour they stop being awards.
What we choose to watch is always a personal choice. I don’t watch bad Denzell Washington movies because he’s black. I watched Flight because I enjoy Denzell Washington’s work. I also don’t see a lot of people campaigning for an award because someone’s an old white man.
Spike Lee has had some success as a filmmaker. He probably has benefited more because of his race than been hurt by it in his career.
It’s time for people like him to stop whining about what’s fair and focus more on making product that will earn nominations.
What do you think dear CFN viewers? You can post your comments below.
Jamie Gilcig created what was the 2003 Best Feature Documentary, Prisoner of Paradise. He took a pause from active film making after Jodie Foster’s Production Company Egg Pictures ended up trying to make a film titled Flora Plum, which bore a very very strong resemblance to his script of Bingo the Monkey Girl. Her head of production was married to the Prisoner of Paradise producer Stuart Sender. Stephen Spielberg removed his name from Prisoner of Paradise after donating heavily to its creation after elements of Mr. Gilcig’s treatment for a third Indiana Jones film ended up in the finished film. Mr. Gilcig’s second credit was nominated for an Irish IFTA award.