Full disclosure: I think the Oscars are a farce. Even before #OscarsSoWhite became a thing, I could not take them seriously. Sure, they will occasionally get things right as was most recently the case with Parasite. But more often than not you will see decisions like the mediocre Forrest Gump beating out a revolutionary film like Pulp Fiction. Put it this way: when Dick Tracy has won the same number of accolades as Black Panther, your awards show is flawed.
The obvious question is, if I think so little of them, why do I keep watching? For starters, there is the name value. They are the preeminent awards when it comes to movies. The Oscars are a common thread everyone will understand. There is also the car wreck aspect to the show that makes them can’t miss television. There is a good chance something will go horribly wrong every segment. It is a horrible reason, but it draws me to the show every year. I also do not discount that like most people, I like to complain about the rich and famous. The Academy Awards provide plenty of fodder.
So going into the Academy’s decision to include more inclusivity, I already did not think much of the Oscars. They had already proven to me that their awards were at best a joke. I will admit, when they announced their plans to make the award more diverse, I took notice. For some, it was a step in the right direction. For others, it was too little too late.
I think it is a shame.
Anyone who does not think Hollywood is run by racist, misogynistic, money loving vultures is being willfully ignorant. It does not take lack of inclusivity at an awards show to see that. Apparently, they have finally realized it and want to make some changes. In short, they have decided in order for a movie to be considered for Best Picture it will need to meet certain criteria. All nominated films will have to meet standards pertaining to the inclusivity of the cast or subject matter of the movie. In theory, it is supposed to promote diversity.
Predictably, some people applaud the decision while others think it is the death of creativity. Whatever side you are on, there is no doubting this is an indictment against the Academy. The intention may be a good one, but they are basically saying that left to their own devices, they would have continued to barely recognize underrepresented people.
For years, the Academy have mocked themselves about the lack of female and people of color to win awards. They sing cheeky songs and have long winded monologues that address a very serious problem. The message comes across loud and clear. “We are so confident we will correct this obvious issue we can joke about it.”
Now, the Academy Awards have put themselves in A Clockwork Orange type situation. They have now released a plan to be more inclusive. But how much does being inclusive matter when it has been mandated? It is a nice gesture, but there will always be the question of whether any of it is genuine. And if there is even a shadow of a doubt, the whole endeavor is pointless.
In a perfect world, the Academy Awards would honor the best movies and actors. By announcing a plan for inclusion, they have all but admitted this would never happen on its own. More inclusivity in movies is one of the smallest and most insignificant things in the grand scheme of things. It would have very little bearing on fixing the larger problem at hand. Yet, people have fought it every step of the way. Hollywood has needed more diversity for years. It is a shame they had to force themselves to make progress.