Author: Meredith Bay
Representation is a very important aspect of the media that we consume, be it online, on TV, or in movies. People of color are all too often underrepresented in Hollywood, with creates a huge divide in the film industry. This racial divide is showcased and highlight by the Academy Awards show.
In years previous, the Oscars have been highly criticized for being two white. Complaints of the lack of diversity among the award show nominees and winners rose drastically in 2015, and 2016 received many of the same complaints, leaving both fans and people in the industry frustrated.
This year at the 90th Academy Awards, presenters of the award for Best Documentary Short Subject, Maya Rudolph and Tiffany Haddish. The two jokingly assured the audience that if they thought the oscars were getting too black, there were plenty more white people to come, including those who were backstage and walking around with clipboards. Their presentation was a clear attempt at making the award show seem equal and diverse, but a look at who won over the course of the evening shows a different story, as most of the winners were still white men.
While the two made the issue humorous, it is a serious problem. While in recent years, more black, latino, and asian people have gotten nominations, the vast majority of the winners are still white. Some of this may undoubtedly be due to favoritism from the academy members who vote on the winners, as the majority of them are white as well.
However, this issue is also reflective on a larger problem prevalent throughout Hollywood, which is the lack of representation of black, latino, and asian people in the film industry. Fewer people of color are given roles in movies and even fewer of those are given significant speaking roles. In addition, directors and filmmakers who are black, latino, or asian are often overlooked in favor of white people who may be able to make more connections in the industry.
Many are impressed with the progress the awards show has made, but others are dismayed at their attempts to be diverse. Twitter and other social media networks were ablaze with comments, both good and bad, about Haddish and Rudolph’s presentation, along with it’s implications. While this year’s Oscars made a clear effort to include minorities in response to the criticism, is it too little too late? Things are undoubtedly improving, but the Academy Awards and Hollywood in general have a long way to go. As Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph’s banter at the 90th Academy Awards playfully pointed out – no, the Oscars are definitely not too black, nor will they ever be.