Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Oscar Pickers (U.S. Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences) - Mostly old, mostly male, definitely mostly white

Those who've been regular followers of my blog will know of my concern for diversity in the movie business.  I've written about this in my annual reviews of the U.S. Academy Awards programs.  I've noted the surprisingly largely unchallenged racism present in many contemporary Hollywood films (New Year's Eve [2011], Casa de Mi Padre [2012] and most recently Anchorman 2 [2013]. Okay none of these films are/were exactly "Oscar material" but one is surprised that they were made at all and then largely left largely unchallenged by movie critics) and the often stunning racism present in contemporary American children's films (the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Hoodwinked Too [2011], and most recently Despicable Me II [2013]).  And it is not by accident that I've given a great deal of space on my blog to reviews to both independent and foreign films especially those playing at various generally well organized film festivals here in Chicago.

In this regard, I'd like to call attention to a remarkable article by John Horn and Doug Smith that appeared recently in the Los Angeles Times (12/21/2013) and was reprinted Chicago Tribune (12/24/2013), both papers are owned by the Tribune Company, entitled Efforts to Diversify Oscar Voters in Slow Motion (the Chicago Tribune title), this following a 2012 L.A. Times study (graphics, full article), referred to in the article which found most of the Academy's voters "old" (54% over 60), mostly male (77%) and overwhelmingly white (94%).

So if one wonders why, after all is said and done, the voting of the Academy is always quite conservative [2011, 2012, 2013] this gives a pretty good explanation as to why, and why Hollywood in general often seems to have trouble seeing any color other than white (except when it is in need of villains ...).

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