There is a frenzy regarding the Oscars. For the second consecutive year, no black actor/actresses are being nominated for the award. The question becomes, should there be? Should the Oscars set aside a certain percentage of nominees who are African-America, Hispanic, Asian, etc.? Is this attempt at parity even workable or fair? The academy has the average age of 63 and the vast majority of the persons deciding who gets what nomination are white. Is this representative?
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Just as the country fought over affirmative action over the past decades, has the fight now shifted to this new venue? Are the arts free of racial tension? Should the arts be free? If not, why not? Is this a case of the more things change, the more they remain the same? How and should the system be changed? Does it need to be changed? Should art be judged for its impact on the public and nothing more regardless of the race of the actor? Should art be looked at through the lens of the various members of the audience? If so, how is this look done?
If art is done for the purity of the performance, does race matter? Is this a situation where race does matters? Some black actors have suggested a boycott of the Oscars. A black host of the awards has spoken out against this, citing this as a “teaching moment”. What is the thing that is being taught? Is it that blacks need to be included regardless of the quality of performances? Is it that a certain percentage of blacks must be included in the nominations because they represent a large portion of the viewing audience? Should more minorities be included as nominators? How the nominators chose? Should there be a term limit on the nominators to involve younger people in the selection process? What are the qualifications of the nominators?
Race has always been and will continue to be a major issue in this country. How we deal with allocation of resources is often determined by racial involvement. The Oscars may not give us a teaching moment, but it does provide us with a moment for reflection and review of the Oscars and wider societal issues. The major question is where do we go from here? Hollywood has been branded as a bastion of liberalism by conservatives. Is this indeed true in light of the nominations?
What say you?