#OscarsSoWhite: What’s the Big Deal?

#OscarsSoWhite: What’s the Big Deal?

Hello Rebels, and welcome back to my life.

Before we get started, I want to say that my voice is not the most important one in this conversation. At all.

I believe that being a good ally against injustice means amplifying the voices of those who suffer that injustice, and not speaking for them.

I’ve put links in the description to people I think you should be following on Twitter who talk about this stuff all the time. I learn from them every day. Please follow them and just, please, LISTEN to them. All right? Okay.

That being said, I know from making previous videos like this and tracking my links that a large number of people—especially people who disagree with the message—will not click through and follow those people, so I’m going to say MY piece on it.

#OscarsSoWhite. What’s the big deal?

So for the second year in a row, no people of color have been nominated for Oscars in the acting, writing or directing categories.

This despite several notable achievements in film by people of color this year that you could easily argue were WORTHY of nomination.

Idris Elba is one that everyone’s talking about, and if you catch any of his work in Beasts of No Nation, you might agree that, yeah, he could easily be nominated for it.

And in some films which you could say were LED by people of color, there have been nominations…for white people.

Like the two WHITE screenwriters of Straight Outta Compton were nominated, and Sylvester Stallone got a supporting actor nomination for the movie Creed.

Okay. Maybe you think Idris Elba or Michael B. Jordan could have been nominated, but there’s only five acting slots, so there just wasn’t enough space.

I mean I’d have to disagree, I think either one of them could have taken it over Matt Damon. I mean, I love the guy, I just don’t think The Martian was that challenging of a film. But, you know, that’s opinion.

But the “best film” category is a bit of a red flag, and we’ve got to break this one down, because it’s bizarre to even explain.

There’s ten slots in the best film category, more than any other category, okay?

But this year, only eight films were nominated. There were two slots that just weren’t filled.

Now if a film was nominated for best screenplay, like Straight Outta Compton, or if it was nominated for best supporting actor, like Creed, or cinematography, like Sicario, isn’t there something good and worthy about that film that means maybe, JUST maybe, it could fill one of those gaping holes phrasing?

Okay but what does any of this matter? They’re just the Oscars, right? They’re just an awards show. Who really cares, other than the people who like watching awards shows?

Yeah, it turns out that some of the people who like watching awards shows are the people with huge bank accounts who pay for movies.

So if a film wins an Oscar, or is even nominated, it immediately makes more money, and people are willing to pay more to distribute it or show it.

Academy Award nominees and winners have more opportunities to make more and better films. They have more impact in the industry. They really do influence the future of AT LEAST Hollywood filmmaking.

So people who say this is “trivial” are either ignorant of the film industry, or they’re intentionally downplaying the importance of it.

And interestingly, those same people have gotten SUPER MEGA DOOPER pissed at the Academy’s reaction to the controversy.

The Academy observed, correctly, in my opinion, that a major source of their problem recognizing diversity is the fact that the Academy is dominated by a bunch of old white dudes.

And so they changed the rules for admission to the Academy—link in the description—in a way that will basically kick out anybody who hasn’t been an active filmmaker in more than ten years.

The same people who were trying very hard to convince us the Oscars’ lack of diversity wasn’t a big deal got SUPER UPSET that old, inactive filmmakers were being removed from the Academy.

My viewpoint is: if you’re not currently, actively making films in today’s industry, then no, you do not get to vote on which films in today’s industry were the best ones.

So in the end, what’s the big deal about #OscarsSoWhite? To be honest, it’s probably a bigger deal than it should be.

But saying “it shouldn’t be this big a deal” doesn’t negate the fact that for tons of people working in this industry, it IS a big deal.

A lot of people think diversity isn’t a problem in the film and TV industry…and those people are just demonstrably wrong, with, like, facts.

Either they’re wrong because they’re not IN the film industry, in which case, like, oh my god, why are you trying to talk about this issue like you know something? I just…

Or they’re wrong because they’re in the industry, but they don’t suffer from discrimination and exclusion themselves.

Trust me—if you suffer from it, you KNOW it happens. And if you don’t suffer from it, you honestly don’t have to look very hard to see it.

Film will probably continue to get more diverse and more inclusive. But that will ONLY happen if people in the industry keep working at it.

If you just leave it to its own devices, it DOES not change. And we know that because we’ve seen what’s been happening for the last one hundred years.

That’s it for today. I want to give a shoutout to my supporters on Patreon who make my YouTube channel possible. If you want to be one of them, or if you want signed copies of my books, there are links to both of those things in the description below.

Thanks so much for watching, and I will see you tomorrow. Byyye.

Garrett Robinson

Over 100,000 readers have read and loved Garrett's books, like the fantasy hits Nightblade and Midrealm. He's also a film festival favorite with movies like Unsaid, and a tech guru who posts lots of helpful how-tos for writers and filmmakers over at garrettbrobinson.com.

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