The Oscar nominations
are in, and award watchers have pinpointed a troublesome detail: except for Spanish-born Javier Bardem, all of the
nominees are white. This would seem to be a step backwards,
particularly since last year's Best Actress nominees included Gabourey Sidibe and
Mo'Nique for Precious. This was the same year, ColorLines' Jorge Rivas
notes, that "Geoffrey Fletcher became the first black winner of a screenplay Oscar. And
Lee Daniels was the second black director ever to earn a directing nom.
Morgan Freeman also picked up his fifth nomination for playing Nelson
Mandela in 'Invictus.'"
Street Journal's Christopher John Farley
calls the year "something
of a breakdown when it comes to honoring black actors": what happened?
Farley says some critics say it's a matter of actors of
colors not being given roles, but notes that other critics blame it on the fact that
Hollywood's making fewer serious, a.k.a. Oscar-worthy films. That alone,
he writes, would mean "it's hard for any actors, regardless of their
race, to find rich parts." Some evidence to support this thesis: The NAACP
struggled to find award-winning films for 2010 and ended up with "Tyler
Perry's Why Did I Get Married Too?" among its list of contenders.
Hollywood Reporter's Film Editor Gregg Kilday
, who wrote the article
"Whitest Oscar in Ten Years" back in September agrees, telling PopEater
"this year there wasn't a real small, serious-themed movie about
African American subjects that the Academy could turn to for
Movieline's S.T. VanAirsdale, however, lays
some of the blame directly on the Academy. In an interview with
Popeater's Jo Piazza
he says the voting members were "a historically
lazy group of viewers who aren't going to discover or nominate anything
independently," meaning if a movie isn't backed by a money-fueled PR
campaign, it won't have a shot at being considered.
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