UNITED STATES—I’ve been wanting to write about this, since news surfaced about 2 weeks ago about the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences inducting a bevy of new members. There was so much uproar at the 2016 Academy Awards because of the lack of diversity in the acting categories. This new membership has a TON of minorities who have been included to join AMPAS in hopes of increasing diversity. It’s a great tactic, but it still has drawbacks. You can’t just implement a bunch of minorities into the organization and expect there to be instantaneous changes. Hearing about the lack of diversity in the acting races last year was disheartening, but my biggest fear now is that people suspect with more minorities in the Academy, that there will be an instant burst of minorities in the acting races.
I suspect there will be some minorities in the acting races this year, because of the possible backlash from last year. What is more troublesome is the fact that it raises the question of rather merit is being honored or people being nominated to please the masses. People need to understand when it comes to awards season it is a game of POLITICS! It has always been about politics; those who play politics will win the game or the award, those who don’t dabble in the game may not have the same success.
AMPAS is about an elite group of people who mingle and chat amongst themselves. Those who are nominated have ‘friends’ in the industry who will of course vote for them regardless if their performance is the ‘BEST’ as so many people deem it during the year. That’s an entirely new debate, if we go into the parameters of actors and actresses taking Oscar gold for performances that were mediocre or subpar at most, especially when we factor in the ‘they are long overdue’ reasoning. Politics in play people, politics in play people.
My biggest concern is this move will create a ripple effect in AMPAS where the integrity of the Oscar as we call it will be diminished because people will not vote the way they would like to vote. I honestly perceive that this move will have a negative effect and members of the Academy will choose to stick their nose at the membership and vote how they want to vote regardless of how the public perceives things.
We can expect diversity at the 2017 Academy Awards, but I think it will not be as diverse as people suspect it to be. For all those members who voiced the lack of diversity last year, there were plenty who were in uproar about the public perception that the AMPAS is racist or not opening to change. I mean AMPAS was able to recognize great acting in 1939 when Hattie McDaniel took home the award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in “Gone With the Wind.” Yes, it’s taken quite a bit of time to truly showcase the eclectic nature of all the acting accolades that truly exist in the acting arena.
I think I was so upset so many people were invited to the Academy whose bevy of work is so miniscule to some greats who worked like hell to join the ranks of the Academy. It seemed like a free-for-all; we have to get diversity, we have to have diversity right now, get as many minorities and women as possible who has a bit of a presence in the industry and let’s invite them to the big dance.
Remember, in AMPAS, actors determine who are nominated in the acting races, directors decide who are nominated in the directing race and so on. Yes, a massive number of diverse members joined, but guess what, that is not going to significantly impact the contenders in my opinion, well not overnight people.