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Academy Awards Blackout 2.0

Don-At-WorkAcademy Awards Blackout 2.0

By Don Valentine

Wow, the Academy can’t even nominate the Latino janitor for his work. Let’s assume this humble scribe is a member of the prestigious cinematic committee for the Academy Awards.  That would require a prodigious a-mount of imagination since that body is 90 percent white.  Then consider for the last two years my committee could not find any actors of color worthy of any nominations. Would you scratch your head and ask how could that be possible? Would you say, “Academy committee do you watch these movies?”

We know they are provided free copies of all the films. Since racial bias is not involved in their voting, then what happened? Even their Black president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, could not sway the members.

This year, acclaimed actor Will Smith could have arguably got a nomination for his role in Concussion. He did get recognized by the Golden Globe awards. In addition, Idris Elba got a nomination by the Golden Globes for Beast of No Nation. That lists two easy candidates. They had several choices from the historical pic Straight Out Of Compton. No one of color got acknowledged for their role in this production. However, there were two white people that received nominations.

Take this paradigm, then rinse and repeat for last year.  Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee are boycotting the show this year in protest. Until there is more diversity on the committee it will absolutely garner these kind of results.  Do we really want a “Black Out” every year? There are good quality performances by people of color produced every year. The Academy just chooses not to recognize them.

Don Valentine is a freelance writer.

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