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Wow, the Oscar is white by Netflix/Brett Nielsen

Wow, the Oscar is white
by Netflix/Brett Nielsen

Leo finally won and the Oscars are still racist. Who’da thunk it?

So, the Academy Awards were on Sunday and people, as always, were pumped about it… no one more so than me around the Carillon office. My excitement, like the entire Internets, was surrounding the anticipation of Leonardo DiCaprio’s subsequent win (even though I really wanted him to lose because the loss of the meme just wasn’t worth it.) But at the end of the day, it’s a white male millionaire winning a gold statue. Who really cares?

Everyone is aware of the fact that the Oscars are disingenuous and pandering. But this year, the Oscars were shrouded with controversy themselves as the newest batch of would-be-winners marks one of the most racially unvaried group of nominees, prompting the creation of the hashtag, #OscarsSoWhite. Everyone was talking about it and the members of the Academy could no longer ignore it. The elephant in the room needed to be addressed and the Academy got right to it by hiring a rich black comedian to host/be the voice of reason in a room full of blissfully ignorant white celebrities.

Chris Rock hosted last night and his opening monologue was pretty fantastic. It mentioned the need for not just nominations, but strictly opportunity, for black people. There will always be an Oscar for actors like DiCaprio, because people are comfortable seeing white people on screen. However, that’s not what represents society. White people don’t even make up the majority of the population. But as the world’s most privileged race, Hollywood sure makes it seem that way.

Rock cracked out jokes geared towards recognizing the inequalities that black people face as a minority in the U.S. He drew attention to the Black Lives Matter movement and the racial violence towards Black people as it has unfolded throughout history. While the majority of his commentary was centered on racial violence and exclusion of Black people in America, there was little said about Asian people. There were a few racist and cringe-worthy jokes thrown during a ceremony, which is shitty and embarrassing because the Academy is still wearing its “we’re not racist, we swear!” hat. I understand that it’s incredibly important for the world to be made aware of the Black Lives Matter movement, but the whole world was watching and the exclusion of other minorities needed to be addressed as well.

In fact, what amused me the most was fact that the entirety of the show was the Academy scrambling to rejuvenate their image and cover up their misogynistic, racist, and xenophobic asses while the whole world watched, rolling their eyes. Some of the world’s most powerful people were in that room, which sounds ridiculous because it’s a bunch of actors. Actors. It was pretty surreal to see the camera pan to the audience only to see a bunch of white celebrities nodding and chuckling uncomfortably at Rock’s jokes to give the appearance of sympathy and support. It made their uproarious laughter at Jared Leto, Tina Fey, and Sarah Silverman’s jokes stand out as well, as if they were saying, “Thank God, someone we can relate to. Chris’ jokes were sooooo inaccessible.”

I don’t want to discredit the power of art. Movies can and do change lives. But when the aim of a film is to convey stories intended to move the world and portray current issues, when every single one of the nominations for Hollywood’s Biggest Night™ are white people, that’s not okay. Oh well, at least Leo won, right?

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