I used to enjoy watching the Oscars every year.
When I lived in San Francisco, I could walk to the theater for a quick matinee or go on a date to a movie followed by a drink or dinner afterwards. It was still affordable and didn’t break my budget. I remember seeing Titanic, Sense and Sensibility, Shakespeare in Love, and Four Weddings and a Funeral multiple times at the theater on Union Street. All of them went on to win an Oscar and it was fun to watch. I remember feeling giddy when I would see a celebrity around town or when I was in LA and I still have a couple celebrity crushes I would probably make a fool of myself in front of if I were to actually meet them.
However, as I’ve grown older, I’ve started to see how awful and self centered Hollywood really is. Its an industry that thinks it owns just about everything. Money flows everywhere and the entitlement is unbelievable. Now, with the 2016 Oscars around the corner, there has been talk about boycotting the ceremony because there is no diversity with the nominations. Will and Jada Smith, two of the richest actors in Hollywood, are leading the boycott. My first thought is, “Really?!!” You need to see people get nominations simply because they’re African American? Were there any movies last year that stood out? Maybe Straight Outta Compton? But I never saw the movie so I couldn’t tell you if it was well written or acted. I love Aldis Hodge, but from what I read of the reviews and heard from friends, the movie wasn’t that great. Why should it be nominated for anything if it wasn’t that good? Just because the actors are black?
Sometimes I feel this kind of boycott over race does the idea a disservice. Aren’t we supposed to see race as equal? How does a boycott help? I’ve watched and enjoyed many of of Tyler Perry’s movies however none of them are Oscar worthy. Many are actually horrible. However, Tyler Perry has become a powerhouse with movies and TV shows. Will and Jada Smith have great careers as does Halle Berry, Denzel Washington, Gabourey Sibide, Gabrielle Union, and many others. To see the Smiths, along with Spike Lee, all of whom are 100 times richer and more successful than I will ever hope to be, boycott because some horrible movies didn’t get nominated, really irks me. Its an entitlement mentality disguised as an affront. There have been many times I feel some of my favorite movies and TV shows got skipped over but whatever. I also don’t hear the Asian Americans boycotting because not enough Chinese or Japanese people are nominated. I admired Gillian Anderson for standing up for herself when she took on the powers that be with the Xfiles and negotiated the same salary as David Duchovny. She had to battle for equal pay and got it. That I can admire. Instead of whining about it and feeling entitled, she battled for it and won. Even though she is not that great of an actress, her role does deserve as much as Duchovny’s because without Scully, there would be no Mulder.
My point is not that I don’t feel the African American culture should be ignored. I’m saying that boycotting this instead of making better movies is not the right way. It comes across as whiny and entitled. I would rather see the Smiths work with Spike Lee to make an awesome movie deserving of an Oscar. Prove there should be nominations. If they put out a great movie with great roles that rise to the top because they are that good and THEN they get ignored by the Academy, by all means…whine about it. Boycott. But don’t just boycott because nothing was nominated. Honestly, I look forward to John Boyega’s post Star Wars roles. I like him and his charisma. I also love Anthony Mackie and will see him in anything. But they have yet to have an Oscar winning role.
Is the Academy political? Absolutely. Did Gwyneth Paltrow deserve the Oscar for Shakespeare in Love? Probably not. But because of the Weinstein’s power, they got her nominated. This is partially why I don’t bother watching anymore. Its like watching the ultra wealthy one percent patting themselves on the back, partying and getting even richer. I’m usually not a jealous person, but I am sick of the entitlement. Race doesn’t matter in my opinion. If you’ve made it in Hollywood, you’re part of the one percent no matter what color or gender. The best movies seem to be the indie movies that don’t cost a lot to make. While I loved Star Wars and The Martian, I truly feel the talent comes through in the smaller movies. Take note, Academy.