A Problematic collage of people who pretend to be other people.
Year after year people get insanely worked up over a television event that has repeatedly proven to be financially and culturally irrelevant, decrying one or another person’s exemption from an award that rarely goes to the recipient who most deserves it. The Academy Awards are ultimately just a popularity contest for the most celebrated or trumped-up non-genre film of the year, almost invariably excluding science-fiction, fantasy, action, war, foreign, indie, arthouse, and other experimental films. Movies that haven’t been nominated for the Best Picture prize or much anything else include Memento, Fight Club, Apocalypto, Blade Runner, The Jerk, The Shining, Dancer In The Dark or Dogville, Risky Business, Edwards Scissorhands, The Fly, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, The Road Warrior, The Matrix, and Leon, and those are only somewhat popular examples. Significant, mostly respected directors who’ve never received a major Oscar include Stanley Kubrick, Lars Von Trier, Terrence Malick, Darren Aronofsky, David Fincher, Terry Gilliam, Paul Thomas Anderson, Tim Burton, Ridley Scott, Denis Villeneuve, Ingmar Bergman, Sergio Leone, Christopher Nolan, Bong Joon-ho, David Lynch, Zhang Yimou, and the heat goes on. The list of acting “snubs” might be twenty times that length.
Movie not nominated for an Academy Award
Movie not nominated for an Academy Award
2. Diversity is Racist.
Beasts of No Nation stood a better chance in theory with Cary Joji Fukunaga directing and Idris Elba in the lead, but it had several things going against it. 1) It was one of the first films to be released originally on Netflix, having a truly pitiful theatrical run. The Academy don’t like new production or distribution methods, which is why it took them (and many critics) so long to warm up to digital technology. 2) It’s a real downer of a movie, filled with graphic violence, child soldiers, pedophilia, and other things that might have turned them off. 3) It’s not a true story. 4) It wasn’t produced by Fox, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Columbia, or Weinstein. 5) It’s possible that nobody even saw it. 6) Maybe they just didn’t want to give the award to Idris Elba. It’s their dumb award, and they can give it to whomever they want. 7) Idris Elba lost his final chance at winning an Oscar when they ignored him in Prometheus. Vickers, are you a robot?
I believe it goes without saying that those who’ve greeted the all-white news with such visceral anger have never had to deal with actual racism a day of their lives. On the same note, notable actors who were “slighted” by exemption from the awards have lost nothing from the oversight. Take Will Smith, a multi-millionaire who rose to fame on the backs of white directors like Roland Emmerich and Barry Sonnenfield and is now rolling in so much dough that he can fund nepotistic pet projects for his own children. Has the Academy socially disadvantaged Smith in any way by excluding him for Concussion, which looks terrible and was marketed as a gay, anti-sports agenda movie? Will Smith is as much of a victim of white privilege as University of Missouri student Jonathan Butler, son of a railroad marketing executive who literally ran into a car that was backing up to lie about being injured by an uncaring, out-of-touch white man.
- The atrocious and critically applauded Tangerine, which the directors shot for $100k on iPhones using first-time actors and actual locations in Hollywood.
- On an infinitesimally higher level, Fruitvale Station was made for a paltry $800k and extorted $16 million over its theatrical run.
- In 2003, Jared Hess got together a bunch of his Mormon friends and shot a high-school comedy set in an ambiguous period for some $400,000. The movie was called Napoleon Dynamite.
- Christopher Nolan managed to shoot his first film Following on black-and-white 16mm film for $6000 total; six years later he was rebooting Batman.
- Many of the most insanely profitable horror movies start as minimally funded experiments by limited but driven individuals that later get acquired by a major studio and rocket their way to fame. But the Academy doesn’t care about horror films, so we’ll discount that fact for the sake of argument.
- Red Letter Media just released the long-awaited “science-fiction shlock film” Space Cop on Blu-ray, made essentially by three or four friends over the course of many years with no studio backing or professional VFX artists. I’ve yet to see it myself because I do not own a blu-ray player, but my intuition tells me 2016 already has a strong contender for the movie of the year.
C) Why does white entertainment threaten you?
To say the Oscars have gotten pound sign too white is to blankly claim that a vapid establishment like an awards show can attain an excessive level of whiteness, which is to insinuate that there’s something inherently wrong with whiteness. In this sense, the rancor brought to bear against the Oscars’ whiteness is just as intolerant and closeminded as the disdain social conservatives have (sometimes rightfully, sometimes wrongly) directed at rap music, heavy metal, R-rated movies, or “violent” video games they don’t even play, but because rich white people are now on the receiving end of all this vitriol, white apologists in the media decline to censure this new bigotry as the divisive thoughtcrime that it is. Quite to the contrary, they coalesce behind it as yet another trivial symbol of high-school clique-based oppression, wailing about the inability of one person or another to infiltrate the ranks of the cool kids. What is it about stories starring white people that makes Jada Pinkett Smith, Spike Lee, and ethnic traitor Michael Moore so appalled they have to avert their eyes from the hideous whiteness? What discriminating fan of high art, regardless of his color, would flippantly dismiss a piece just because the people involved don’t speak his first language or look like him or come from a similar background? Considering they can’t divorce a story and its artistry from their own life experience or identity politics, do the Pound Sign Oscars So White sheeple even care about the Oscars, let alone movies in general, or are they just bored, illiterate left-wing crusaders meandering from the Ice Bucket Challenge to the blue-and-purple dress to Donald Trump’s daughters to saving the migrants to concerning poop swastikas to Phony Racism and back again? This is a much more valid question than why Leonardo Dicaprio hasn’t won an Oscar yet (spoiler: he doesn’t deserve one).
Most of the time, black-helmed movies are distinctively American or, shall we say, Anglocentric in nature, utilizing western plot structures, filmmaking techniques, and stock ’Murican themes of liberation, seeking justice, or settling new frontiers in science, art, or politics. The Wayans Brothers shoot a movie in much the same way Adam Sandler would, and their comedic styles or maturity of tone would make them indistinguishable if not for the color of their skin. Not only does Asian cinema prominently feature entirely different languages, coaxing numerous groans from people who don’t like “having to read” their movies, but they also have jarringly different approaches to editing, direction, and thematic storytelling that you simply don’t see very often in the West; Tony Zhou’s Every Frame A Painting has several breakdowns of these differences if you don’t believe me. If diversity and inclusion are truly the highest aspirations of the Oscars’ critics, then why have they so long neglected the invaluable cinematic contributions of Korean, Japanese, and other filmmakers who hail from another continent and have reaped a totally different set of religious practices, philosophies, folklore, and influences?
* Update: Straight Outta Compton is the sort of film where you can go through scene by scene, even line by line, and extract hundreds of individual problems in scripting and filmmaking technique. Somehow it got nominated for four Oscars, and even that is not enough for something that’s basically propaganda. It’ll take me a while to review it, but National Review critic Armond White has a pretty good deconstruction of its odious, childish anarchism if you just can’t wait.