It is award season for the film industry and the big one, the coveted Academy Awards has recently announced their nominations. And like every year, upon the announcement, there are people who cry foul and because of the internet and social media, the outcry seems louder. For both this year’s and last year’s, the main issue was the lack of diversity in its list of nominees. Or as twitter tells us, #oscarsorwhite. Critically acclaimed Straight Outta Compton, Will Smith of Concussion, Michael B. Jordan of Creed, and probably more were claimed by many to be snubbed in the twitter-verse.
First off, I’m going to say as of this writing I have not seen Straight Outta Compton nor Concussion, so I can’t really add weight to my thoughts on if they are really worthy of the Oscar nomination. However, I did see Creed and I loved it. The performances resonated very well, and left me in tears at the end. Man tears, mind you. The movie itself could have been nominated for best picture.
Why it wasn’t? I’m not sure but I know that you can only nominate so many movies. I am confused on why they change the number of movies nominated every year since they bumped from the normal 5 flicks to 5 to 10 flicks. This year we have 8. From what I’ve seen of the 8 films, which are The Revenant, The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Mad Max: Fury Road, and The Martian. Which leaves me with Room, Spotlight, and Brooklyn. And I’ll get to them before the Award Ceremony on February 28th. Considering the 5 that I’ve seen, I can greatly appreciate and understand why they chose them for being worthy of the gold statue. As for the other categories, best actor, actress, animated, cinematography, etc., there has always been a maximum of 5.
Back to Michael B. Jordan, why was he snubbed and Stallone nominated. Considering the 5 actor leads that were nominated and the other handful of potentials, it’s very hard to narrow it down to 5. Who was the most impactful, who gave it the most, more than the others? Acting is about the ability to tell a story through a person and the award is given to who did it the best. Regardless, of who was nominated, Dicaprio will win it. I would be shocked if anyone else’s name was called out. Then knowing the other 4, whether I saw their films or not, I can see why they would leave out Jordan’s name. Again considering the 5 nominees for best supporting, and the handful of greats. Stallone, in my humble opinion, earned his nomination, but I feel Steve Carrell has been snubbed. I would have chosen him over Christian Bale, but I can see why they chose Bale.
As far as #oscarsowhite goes, I really don’t believe the folks choosing the nominees were being racist. It’s not about “well, this year we are going to recognize 4 white actors, and 1 black. Or 2 white, 2 black, and a hispanic. Maybe we should throw in an Asian just for kicks.” It’s about just recognizing the actors period. When I see Denzel, my first inclination isn’t, “I think he’s the best black actor on-screen.” I just think he’s a phenomenal actor regardless of skin color, who has won an Academy Awards for his role in Training Day. Same goes for directors, cinematographers, and every crew and group that is named. Just recognize the films and the actors for what they are worth and choose the best 5, or 8, or 9. Whatever, if it happens to be an all “white” group, who cares? And I’ll note that it isn’t because Alejandro González Iñárritu, the director of The Revenant is mexican.
Now, when I see Straight Outta Compton, I may feel it got snubbed but not because of the movie about blacks but because it’s an all around great movie. In fact, I can say that I feel it got snubbed from the Golden Globe awards for best picture comedy/musical, especially over Trainwreck and Spy.
Can we not be so worried about diversity so much that it creates the very thing we don’t want happen which is division? And give honor to whom honor is due? I also want to consider the accolades that one receive when they aren’t nominated and the mass public says they should have been. The fact that Will Smith has been known to give worthy performances and have two academy nominations under his belt, both for Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness, gives testament to Will Smith’s abilities to garner public attention and admiration.
The Academy isn’t perfect, and we shouldn’t treat it as so. Last year, I was bummed out that The Lego Movie wasn’t honored for a nomination of best animated feature, instead they chose Boxtrolls? But, at the end of the day, the gold statue is just a gold statue. The fans of Lego Movie gave it honor by buying the film and seeing the movie.
If you really feel Will Smith, Michael B. Jordan, Straight Outta Compton, or any other films or actors/actress that deserve attention, then give them a shout out yourself. Go see their movie, buy their movie, give them a shout out on Twitter. Believe it or not, sometimes the actors see your comments and reply or retweet. I see Kevin Hart do it all the time, and most of his movies are, in my opinion, not very good. But people love him and pay money that keeps him coming back for more.
Ricky Gervais made a crack at the Golden Globe about the awards are really nothing. There’s a bit of truth in that joke. It really is just a golden statue, a golden popcorn, a trophy, etc. What is of worth is seeing the response of those who enjoyed what you were able to produce. Now, If we see Adam Sandler being nominated for Pixels, then I see a valid reason to raise our pitchforks