IV. Denials of Oscar Racism

In my previous post, I wrote about how a few POC were mentioning how the Oscars are racist. Even though looking through several articles about the Oscars and the industry being this way there is always the other end of the argument in almost everything. Everything on the Oscars online is about them being not diverse enough but what about the articles that say that they aren’t and there is enough inclusiveness and diversity so the question comes around, are the Oscars really racist?

Courtesy of Shuttershock through Variety “Oscar Ballot 2020”

In an article by the Los Angeles Times called, Steven Spielberg’s weighs in on #OscarsSoWhite. Here 3-time award-winning director Steven Spielberg with The Hollywood Reporter when he first says, “You have to look back a couple of years where Lupita [Nyong’o] was recognized for ’12 Years a Slave’ [and] ’12 Years a Slave’ won best picture, you know? I don’t believe that there is inherent or dormant racism because of the amount of white academy members”. So here he is claiming that the Academy is not racist because they have nominated POC before and they have won which is correct that has happened before and that is a valid reason. But for a POC to be nominated for a film about slavery isn’t going to fix racism within itself. He then goes on and says, “…I think we have to stop pointing fingers and blaming the academy. It’s people that hire, it’s people at the main gate of studios and independents…” and he is saying that people need to stop blaming the academy for being racist because it’s not their fault that there isn’t enough films with POC, to begin with, it technically starts in pre-production when they are casting actors for films. They are the ones to choose the diverse cast and if there is no diverse cast then there is not diverse film and therefore there will be no nomination for a non-existent diverse film. That is why Speilberg thinks that people should stop arguing about the Academy being racist. Both of these men are hitting at a larger topic that we are only focusing on the Oscars so much that outside of it in the Industry there are so many more acts of racism than the Awards show that happens once a year, but they are going around the main point and not addressing the racism within the Oscars every year.

In another article by Mark Gollom; a CDC News Reporter, called Why #OscarsSoWhite may have it wrong about racism and the academy a majority of the article talked about how it wasn’t the Academy’s fault for having all-white nominee’s in 2015’s Oscars, “It’s a tough pill to swallow, but it was just a terrific year for actors, lead and supporting.” saying that they had to go through a lot of films and go through their procedures of seeing what is Oscar-worthy and not and that there was just too many great performances to nominate them all. It also mentions that if the Oscars were racist then why did they nominate 12 Years a Slave and Lupita Nyong for awards, doesn’t that go to show that they aren’t racist. He also had the same idea as Speilberg when they said, “…the Academy is the wrong target in this boycott campaign, and that blame should fall on the studios who hire relatively few African-Americans to direct or star in major U.S. movies.” by boycott they are referring to the #OscarsSoWhite campaign and saying that it shouldn’t be targeted towards the Academy but to the major studios in Hollywood for not hiring enough POC in the first place. So without even knowing he is agreeing with Spielberg that the Academy isn’t racist and it isn’t their fault that there aren’t enough POC nominations because they looked at all the contenders for each category and it was way too competitive to nominate them all and that Hollywood should be hiring more of a diverse cast and crew but they aren’t they are the racist ones.

In the end, what I have learned after reading these two articles is that there are a lot of people that think that the Oscars aren’t racist because of the “many” awards they have given to BIPOC/POC already. Also that the #OscarsSoWhite campaign should be targeted towards the big studios instead because they are the ones that are hiring less POC in the production process to begin with and that they aren’t the ones to blame for not nominating enough POC.

A second-year Cinema Major at San Francisco State University. I love movies but honestly don’t have one specific favorite movie.