Thursday, September 22, 2011

Affirmative Action Oscars

From The LA Times:

When Oscar nominations were announced earlier this year, it was impossible to avoid this unsubtle fact: All of the major nominees were white. And when the presenters had all taken their turn on the Kodak Theatre stage, not a single black man was among them, a fact that Samuel Jackson noted tartly in an email to a Times reporter.
It was a sharp turn from the 2009-10 season, when “Precious” and "The Blind Side" drew numerous accolades, and there were black nominees for best director, best picture and best actress (and black winners for best supporting actress and best adapted screenplay).

For anyone concerned about which way the Oscars could go this year, there's reason to take heart.

When I was in high school we were told that each homeroom had to nominate two girls to run for homecoming queen and that one of them had to be black.

Perhaps the Oscars could adopt a similar policy and create a rule that at least one black actor, actress, writer and director must be nominated in each appropriate category.  If no blacks win on the basis of votes then a computer can randomly select one of the black nominees to receive an Oscar by decree.

Then every year we would have a diverse and inclusive award ceremony regardless of the quality of the work that they had done the previous year and the Oscars would "look like America".  That is they would become a racial spoils system in which members of favored groups would receive handouts and set asides without any regard to merit.

Of course this system would have to be extended to other favored groups beyond blacks.  There would have to be Oscars set aside for Latinos and Asians.  Then there is the fact of the massive under-representation of trans-gendered actors in leading roles in action movies.  For example the studios should be required to produce a remake of Dirty Harry with Chaz Bono in the role of Inspector Callahan.

Or Hollywood could continue letting the Oscars be a merit based award system.  But then they gave Oscars to Al Gore and Michael Moore, so I guess the ship has sailed on that.