Oscars lack diversity, try to correct it

March 4, 2016

After the Academy Award nominations were announced on Jan. 14, the famous hashtag #OscarsSoWhite appeared all over social media, causing everyone to wonder: where is the representation of other races and ethnicities?

When the SAG (Screen Actors Guild Awards) nominations came out, plenty of people thought that Idris Elba was going to earn a nomination for his supporting work in “Beast of No Nation.” While he won the SAG, “Beast of No Nation” did not receive any love from the Academy members. In fact, there were varied films centering racial minority characters that were deserving of recognition, but were all shut down.

As a result of two consecutive years in which the nominations have lacked diversity, the Academy changed their rules to attempt to solve this critical and egregious situation. Now, only members who have won or been nominated at least once, get to remain as permanent members of the Academy. The rest, as long as they have produced relevant work in the field in the last ten years, get to remain Academy members. However, those who have not been very prolific during a decade, will have their membership revoked.

The night began with several technical awards going to the blockbuster “Mad Max: Fury Road.” There was a point when everybody thought that the film might have had a chance at winning Best Picture, or at least Best Director. Many thought that Alejandro G. Iñárritu did not deserve a consecutive Oscar for Best Director for his work in “The Revenant.” The main reason why “The Revenant” captivated so many people was its use of natural light, which allowed many of the people that participated in the production to claim the arduous amount of effort the film demanded. On the other hand, “Mad Max” took more than a decade to be made, which caused George Miller, the director, at one point to refer to the project’s progress as “development hell.”

The sole difference is that “The Revenant” was very outspoken about how difficult it was to be made, while “Mad Max: Fury Road” barely mentioned the many obstacles, mishaps and headaches it caused to the people behind Miller’s creation. The truth is that Academy voters will never recognize big blockbusters because they consider them inferior art. Yet this does not make any sense because almost seven years ago, they expanded the slots in the Best Picture category so other films could have the chance to be considered; this happened after many people thought that another blockbuster, “The Dark Knight,” deserved a Best Picture nomination—which, of course, did not happen.

A big surprise during the evening happened in the Best Supporting Actor category. There was no predictable winner because Sylvester Stallone took the Golden Globe and the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, Idris Elba took the SAG without getting a nomination for the Oscars, and Mark Rylance took the BAFTA. All four awards in the past have predicted the winner, but this award season was incredibly baffling and more than one were scratching their craniums. In the end, the award went to Mark Rylance for “Bridges of Spies.” A lot of people thought the award would go to Stallone for his work in “Creed,” but after he failed to thank the director and co-star Michael B. Jordan soon after he earn the Golden Globe, sources claim his chances were ruined. Others think that Academy voters just do not see Stallone as a serious actor, mostly because his entire career has been defined as an action movie star.

Other than that, the rest of the show was unsurprising. Brie Larson won Best Actress for her work in “Room.” Leonardo DiCaprio won for his raw performance in “The Revenant.” Pixar took another shiny man with “Inside Out,” and “Spotlight” and “The Big Short” took home the award for Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay, respectively.

“Spotlight” walked home with Best Picture, proving that the Academy were capable of recognizing an important matter, such as exposing child abuse by numerous Roman Catholic priests and the odyssey of a man towards redemption. A Best Picture winner must be more than stunning visuals and DiCaprio eating raw meat.