The row about the Oscars looked like the perfect spectator spat: it was about something real. Why was there not a single actor of colour represented in the nominations? Was there a problem of under-representation at the judging level? What did it say to society that such a toweringly high-profile, public-facing institution could fail in such an obvious way? What might it say if, through simple and consistent argumentation, the situation could be resolved? Add in the global reach, the beauty quotient, and a couple of villains – Michael Caine telling black actors to “be patient”; Charlotte Rampling worrying that the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite was “racist to whites” – and you have a storm that is structurally perfect.#OscarsSoWhite: Black Filmmakers Call Out Hollywood Racism, Exclusion as Calls for Boycott Grow | Democracy Now!
Just about the only thing wrong with it is that the Academy responded so fast, promising to double its female and minority membership by 2020. Ideally, it would have held out for longer to soak up more of the anger, which instead was scattered like after-fires at ill-judged remarks from the likes of Julie Delpy, who said at the weekend that she’d rather be African-American than a woman in Hollywood. The politics of competitive discrimination are fascinating – the elaborate respect that the discriminated-against are required to pay to one another has the effect of muting their solidarity and, of course, takes the heat off the people doing the discriminating. But arriving on the heels of the all-white Oscars, the actor’s remarks started no such conversation, and instead left her exposed like the slowest antelope, apologising through her “people”, as Rampling had done before her.
A growing number of actors and filmmakers are pushing for a boycott of the Oscars after no actors of color were nominated for a second year in a row. The largely white male Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences responded by pledging to overhaul its voting requirements and to double membership of women and people of color by 2020. We discuss the boycott calls with two African-American filmmakers: Stanley Nelson, whose latest film is "The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution," and Dawn Porter, director of "Trapped," which just had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. "This reminds me of when baseball was segregated—the Negro Leagues," Porter says. "Does anyone really think that all of the talent that was in the sport was being recognized?"10 Actors Who Openly Called Out Hollywood's Racism - Atlanta Black Star