Why You Should Be Mad About The Academy Awards

Okay guys, I’m going to level with you. I had no clue what I was going to write about this week. This break was less than restful for me, because we moved to Jersey and I sprained my ankle and I had a hella rad internship at Bustle.com wherein I wrote a whole bunch of published articles (you can read them here, here, here, and here because I’m a shameless self-promoter).

But with all of these crazy happenings, I didn’t have time to really watch anything. I was seriously planning on writing 600 words about the new Lord of the Rings extended editions my mom bought for me. (The DVDs are so shiny, they are my precious, I am basically Gollum with these babies, etc.) But fortunately for you and me, the Oscar nominations came out on the day I am writing this post, which is Thursday, January 15. So I’m going to write about those instead. (Be warned, this post will be even more informal and snarky than usual, as I’m tired and my ankle hurts because Tufts is possibly the least accessible college campus in the universe.)

I’m more than a little pissed at the Academy right now. It’s like the members collectively thought, “Hey, we voted 12 Years a Slave as the top movie last year, so we’re totally diverse. Let’s congratulate ourselves by nominating mostly white films by mostly white male directors about mostly white men succeeding despite the odds.”

But hey, why be bitter about this when we can make it fun! Let’s play a game called “Which Best Picture nominee am I talking about?” Here we go: A talented white man must overcome his own limitations and the obstacles of his era to figure out his place in the world. Which movie am I describing? Trick question! I’m basically describing the plots of six, debatably seven, out of the eight Best Picture nominees! (The debatable seventh one is American Sniper, which is about a white man who’s really good at shooting people overcoming his own limitations the obstacles of his era to figure out his place in the world.)

The guys nominated for best actor seem great. I love Steve Carell, and I quite enjoy Blinkydoo Cuttlefish as Sherlock in the BBC show of the same name. Hell, when I was sixteen my best friend and I watched Eddie Redmayne in a miniseries and we fell madly in love with him. But let’s talk about how all of these nominees are—you guessed it—white. Come on, Academy, would it have killed you to at least have shown David Oyelowo some love for his brilliant performance as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma? And speaking of Selma, Ava DuVernay was completely snubbed for a Best Director nomination. Never mind that she’s a brilliant filmmaker, because we need to show some more white men how much we appreciate their groundbreaking hard work.

Bartleby Crunkleblimp is a great actor, don't get me wrong, but he's basically whiter than mayonnaise on rye bread. Image courtesy of Sam via Flickr Creative Commons
Bartleby Crunkleblimp is a great actor, don’t get me wrong, but he’s basically whiter than mayonnaise on rye bread. Image courtesy of Sam via Flickr Creative Commons.

I love the Oscars. I adore awards season. This is literally my favorite time of year; you can ask my mom for confirmation. But I’m not even looking forward to February 22 anymore, even with Neil Patrick Harris as the host. The Academy has just reinforced the idea that the only stories which matter are the ones about white men that white men tell. And if there aren’t any men in the category by definition, make sure all the nominees are still white. Diverse narratives aren’t considered important by the most prestigious film awards ceremony in this country. We are foolish for thinking that they could be.

Also, The Lego Movie wasn’t nominated for Best Animated Film. What’s up with that?


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