However as someone who sees the Academy Awards as having always been a vehicle for an insular, largely affluent, largely white, small group, to define for the mass of the world, what films are worth not just recognizing in one year, but immortalizing for future years; boycotting seems an insufficient response.
As someone who puts no value in the Academy awards, and finds its selections politically motivated at best, and bigoted and demeaning at worst I have had for decades no interest in watching or caring about these Awards.
They have always been, while paying lip-service to liberalism, a very pointedly bigoted organization, with an end goal to reinforce the status quo. Particularly notable is that when the Academy “recognizes” Black Artists or Themed films, is how they are really recognizing stereotypes they enjoy or are comfortable with.
Examples? MONSTERS BALL wins an Academy Award?? Really? In what effing world? DRIVING MISS DAISY, GONE WITH THE WIND, TRAINING DAY, PRECIOUS are not bad movies, but I don’t think they are great movies, or the performances are particularly memorable. But they are roles that reinforce stereotypes that make some people comfortable.
Black women as the White Man’s maid or the White Man’s whore or having debilitating image issues. Black Men as Butlers or violent sociopaths. These are the Black performances the Academy sees fit to not just recognize, but immortalize, and by so doing move out of the limelight films that show Black Actors or Black themes that transcend stereotypes.
COURAGE UNDER FIRE, GLORY, LILIES OF THE FIELD, MAN ON FIRE, CREED, arguably any of these performances are award worthy for Best Actor, but they don’t get nominated by an Academy filled with non-Black decision makers, who seek to recognize only the demeaning when it comes to characters and creators of color.
The answer to me, is not to try to seek concessions from a biased and historically bigoted organization, but rather realizing this, invest your time and energy into creating your own awards show, wherein diversity can be more than lip-service or a weapon. Or supporting Awards shows that already do that.
Boycott The Academy Awards? That is given them more thought, and more concern then they merit. I don’t notice them enough to care. Create instead the Muni Awards, or the Vanguard Awards, and staff it with judges whose acting you admire.
The Academy Awards is an outdated vehicle, for an outdated Minstrel Show type Hollywood. Those calling for a Boycott that’s their right, but personally I think that energy would be better served by building something new and proactive, than pleading concessions from the stagnating old.
“Never forget that once upon a time, in an unguarded moment, you recognized yourself as a friend.” - E. Gilbert
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