There was a movement a few weeks ago that complained about an “all-white Oscars,” and tried to make out that the Oscars were racist. I didn’t believe them then and I don’t believe them now, but, more than that, I don’t care. I don’t care about the movement because I don’t care about the Oscars themselves and the reasons for this should be fairly obvious.
The Academy Awards have always been a sham. Some of the richest, most famous people in cinema all get together on one night of the year to collectively pat themselves on the back for making another load of bloated, dull films. They haven’t tried to challenge the status quo with their work, they haven’t changed anyone’s lives and, while I can certainly enjoy the films, I don’t hold many in very high regard. I loved Mad Max: Fury Road but that doesn’t mean I want a statue of Furiosa placed in the middle of Time’s Square. It’s a film about a post-apocalyptic world which can be unfairly summarised as a 2-hour car chase and more fairly summarised as a 2-hour car chase with the best writing and characters to come from a blockbuster in a long time. It’s not exactly Fight Club.
I also don’t care that DiCaprio won his first Oscar at last. I enjoy his films and I think he is a fantastic actor but is him having an Oscar, or not having one and deserving one, really that Earth shattering? There’s a reason why, in his acceptance speech, he talked about global warming and how it is a threat to our entire species and planet, because he knows that it is far more important than the golden statue he finally has his hands on.
Of course, I am also going to talk about how an all-white Oscars doesn’t matter. If we look at things from Hollywood’s eyes, which is really the worst way to view the Oscars because suddenly they become more than just an awards ceremony at a private school’s sport’s day, then we can see that people want there to be an all-white Oscars. Why, for instance, was Mad Max nominated for best film and not Selma? Because millions more people saw it.
Celebrities have talked about how there is a lack of opportunity for minority actors and, while I agree this is true, the only reason this is the case is because people want to go and watch films where the protagonist is like them, and when at least three quarters of the audience for Hollywood films is white you start to understand why white protagonists are the norm. If people wanted this to change then I suggest they take the tumblr route and avoiding anything with straight, white men as the main characters, or just watch the films with black protagonists as much as you watch the films with white protagonists.
The strange thing is that I am not saying there is not a problem. I would like to see more films with black leads (though I would just like to see more good films being made. The last few years have seen a drought of creativity in Hollywood) but sitting around complaining about it while endlessly consuming the trash that Hollywood sends your way is ridiculous. You are complaining about a problem that you are a part of. Moreover, if we are forced to talk about racism then we shouldn’t even be considering the Oscars in our list of victims, we should be talking about America as a whole, and probably worrying an awful lot more about Donald Trump and people like him at a grass-roots level.