ll-white and all-male are not just the ‘unsaid’ criteria for the US Presidential elections but also Oscars, if the nominations, announced early Monday, are anything to go by. While Barack Obama and Oscar 2019 showed a ray of hope, 2020 began on rather a regressive note!
It was after nomination announcements in 2015 #OscarsSoWhite was coined as inclusivity, diversity were shown the door rather unceremoniously. This year, more than surprises, the snubs got more attention.
‘Congratulations to those men’
For the uninitiated – giving a slip to Greta Gerwig for Little Women, Lulu Wang for The Farewell, Lorene Scafaria for Hustlers, Melina Matsoukas for Queen & Slim and Marielle Heller for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood for the Best Director did not go down well. “Congratulations to all those men,’ as poignantly pointed out by actress Issa Rae was embraced by social media and became talk of the town as the much coveted category had all mennominations. Natalie Portman’s jibe for 2018 ‘And here are the all-male nominees’ stayed true for 2020!
Colour me not
If gender is one, colour is still ‘touch me not’ in spite of all the hullaballoo for an inclusive world. The 92nd Academy Awards failed to acknowledge formidable performances of Awkwafina in The Farewell, Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers, Eddie Murphy in Dolemite Is My Name, Lupita Nyong’o in Us and Jamie Foxx in Just Mercy. Critically acclaimed Queen & Slim director failed to fetch Melina Matsoukas a berth on nomination – her colour or gender, well, you can blame any.
Parasite brought some diversity on an otherwise monotonous norm, with Bong Joon Ho reserving a spot on Best Director category. The first South Korean film to win Palme d’Or at Cannes year last, Parasite got nominated for six categories in total for Oscars 2020 that include Best Picture, Original Screenplay, International Feature Film, Production Design and Film Editing. Cynthia Erivo is the only non-white winning the nomination for her titular role in Harriet. Twiteratti was quick to jump the colour gun. “Lupita Nyong / Jennifer Lopez/ Awkwafina - I saw more conversations about how good these three performances were than all of the Oscar nominees combined. The Academy is dooming itself to irrelevancy,” wrote a user . J Lo’s ouster from nominations made much noise, Beyonce not getting her due for best song for Spirit had her fans dismayed too. Frozen, that won two Oscars for its first outing was left out from the Best Animation for sequel, Frozen 2. It though made it to Best Song for Into the Unknown.
Joker’s been enjoying an unprecedented run in the awards season and has bagged 11 nominations at Oscars. The Irishman and Once Upon A Time In Hollywood follow closely with 10 nominations each. Margot Robbie has double the chance of winning Best Supporting Actress as she’s nominated both for Bombshell and Once Upon... Scarlett Johansson gets two nominations for two categories - Leading Actress for Marriage Story and Supporting Actress for Jojo Rabbit. Joaquin Phoenix is the favourite to win the Best Actor Oscar for Joker; Quentin Tarantino for Best Picture for Once Upon...
First things first
While Mark Bennington, actor-photographer, has seen Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and he was impressed. While he is yet to scan the nominations thoroughly, that contenders are largely ‘white, male’ isn’t something that humours him much. “Though I haven’t kept a tab on cinema this year, I am certain there are performances by actors from diverse backgrounds that ought to have made it to Oscars. He believes that awards are the last rung, “Before that, performers from all backgrounds, ethnicities should get to play lead roles in the films, raising different voices that matter and are reflective of the times we are living in.”
It’s uncalled for
Academy Award winner Resul Pookutty, who is also on the diversity committee of the Academy Awards, sees no truth in #OscarsSoWhite. “There is no organisation in the world as diverse as the Academy Awards. Look at last four-five years, the Academy has made an effort to include members from all over the world, Amitabh Bachchan, Deepika Padukone to name a few,” he says. People behind #OscarsSoWhite have no idea about the nomination process, Pookutty deems. “It’s the very diverse jury that has selected the films that have made it to final nominations, so such criticism is totally uncalled for.”
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