Pre-existing diversification standards are nothing but hokum, eyes glued at the Academy for recognizing the diversity at Oscars
Did the massive online catharsis, including trending #OscarsSoWhite and many more, managed to change the oral history of Oscars? Has the white domination come to an end in these noted award ceremonies? And has the purpose of these ferocious movements been achieved? Maybe yes, maybe no. If viewed from the kaleidoscope of hope, the data suggests that black nominees have significantly improved from 26 nominees in the past 63 years to 39 nominees in the past 25 years.
However, keeping in mind the surge and deglobalization of ethnicity, this empirical evidence in itself isn’t impressive enough. Interestingly, the marred ethnicity is not only visible in the nominations but also in voting. The sources claim that, as of 2013, 93% of the Academy Award voters are white, and a mere 7% are non-white. Giving us all the more reason to push this back-to-back bout of #OscarsSoWhite.
What Changed in 2021?
Nonetheless, unlike previous academy award nominations, the year 2020 did witness some exceptional yet minor switches. Nine actors of color bagged the Academy Award nominations. These include Chadwick Boseman (Posthumous) for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom in the category Best Actor in the Leading Role; Voila Davis for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Andra Day for The United States Vs. Billie Holiday in the category Best Actress in a Leading Role.
Such meagre numbers suggest that the tremors of the #OscarsSoWhite incepted five years ago haven’t by and large reached the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which oversees the Oscar, in the reasonable magnitude yet. Ironically, the famed global Academy Awards, which garners a vast audience, should be the one to bridge the ethnic gap. On the face of it, it requires monolithic restructuring.
To crunch it up, the 93rd Oscar awards reflect more of a charitable vision than a conscious effort to nudge inclusion.
This is proved furthermore by this year’s Best Actor win. While Anthony Hopkins deserved recognition for his performance for the father. Many believed Boseman not receiving an Oscar was an unnecessary diversity snub on the Academy’s part. The dip in Oscars ratings this is year is just a sign that Academy Awards might lose all the relevance if they don’t reinvent themselves soon.
Of Diversity and Racism
Amidst the misleading diversified standards of ongoing awards, thankfully, the future Oscars will bring forth a new ray of hope. Beginning from the year 2022, a diversity component will also be added to Oscar’s race. In adherence to this, a confidential “inclusion standard form” is needed to turn in. And as of the year 2024, the films aspiring to qualify for the best picture category have to strictly ensure to meet two of the four inclusion standards. The 96th Oscars will onlook a more inclusive awarding criterion both on camera and behind the scenes.
The proposed onscreen standard sets the seal on including at least one of the lead actors or the significant supporting actor pertaining to the underrepresented racial group, namely, Hispanic, Black, Asian, North African, Middle Eastern, native Hawaiian, or Other Pacific Islander.
As an impetus to inclusion, the move also honors L.G.B.T.Q, women, and people with a cognitive or physical disability. Therefore, an alternative to the above mentioned on screen diversified standards; as good as thirty percent of all actors in secondary or minor roles should include this category.
Undoubtedly, if the implementation aligns the way standards are chalked out, then only people of color have the prospect to represent these universal platforms in eminent numbers. Conclusively, the hope only lies in the uncharted future.