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How can The Academy fix the diversity problem?

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  • benutty
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    #197792

    How can The Academy fix the diversity problem? 

    Consider the phrase “diversity” in the loosest of terms. Not only do the Oscars have a problem with the lack of POC among the top fields, but there’s also a lack of female-driven BP films, a lack of female writers, a lack of genre films recognized, harder chance at nom for younger actors, etc.

    Can you think of ways that The Academy can encourage recognition of films, actors and genres that are generally passed up? 

    * * * * * * *

    Personally, I think the creation of a few new categories would help.

    • Best First Film are situations where Dee Rees, Ava DuVernay, Jennifer Kent, Ryan Coogler and many others could have been recognized for their first directorial efforts 
    • Breakthrough Performance is a place where Michael B. Jordan, Bradford Young, Abraham Attah, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Jacob Tremblay could easily have been nominated, while Quvenzhane Wallis and Barkhad Abdi would likely have won an Oscar
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    manakamana
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    #197794

    Make the studios finance more diverse projects and cast more diverse actors in main roles. Take the kind of risks and chances they find very easy to do with white male filmmakers for filmmakers with more interesting/unexplored perspectives. Tell studios and Oscar predicting sites to give more credibility to contenders like Gugu Mbatha-Raw last year or Pariah a few years back, which were as good (if not mostly better) than all the rest of the actual nominees.

    The rest would follow accordingly.

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    benutty
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    #197795

    Make the studios finance more diverse projects and cast more diverse actors in main roles. Take the kind of risks and chances they find very easy to do with white male filmmakers for filmmakers with more interesting/unexplored perspectives. Tell studios and Oscar predicting sites to give more credibility to contenders like Gugu Mbatha-Raw last year or Pariah a few years back, which were as good (if not mostly better) than all the rest of the actual nominees.

    The rest would follow accordingly.

    I do agree that pundits do not put enough faith in the non-traditional fare that tend to encompass films starring and made by POC. I think the trend is to try and be right with predictions rather than trying to do what’s right (which would involve predicting performances and films that are WORTHY of the awards rather than films that in line with traditional Academy tastes). It’s my belief that studios and strategists listen closely to what pundits are predicting early and fashion campaign models that match or meet those expectations. If pundits believed in non-traditional stuff, studios might be more likely to see the value in them, too. One pundit, certainly, does not make a difference in the race, but Pundits (as a collective) do.

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    FilmGuy619
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    #197796

    I agree with the above suggestions, but the bigger diversity problem that I have is their diversity in terms of genre.
    In 2013, they had a melting pot: A female-driven sci-fi blockbuster (Gravity), a sci-fi dramedy (Her), a historical biopic (12 Years A Slave), a toxicomedy (Wolf of Wall Street), a 70’s crime caper (American Hustle), Oscar bait (Dallas Buyers Club, Philomena), a film for the AARP crowd (Nebraska), and another biopic (Captain Phillips). Yet the following year was mostly made up of “men in crisis” movies. 

    Not only that, but even in 2010, whdn they had another melting pot: A horror film (Black Swan), an animated film (Toy Story 3), a sci-fi film (Inception), a lesbian dramedy (The Kids Are All Right), a drama about the founding of Facebook for the younger generation (The Social Network), a western (True Grit), two biopics (The Fighter, 127 Hours), and a female-led indie (Winter’s Bone), they still gnawed on the bait with the most conventional choice, The King’s Speech. Quite disappointing. 

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    DamianWayne
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    #197797

    Stop giving mediocre white men the opportunities that could go to legit anyone else and turn out better, both in front of and behind the camera. Audiences are starting to catch on to these things, hence the giant flops of Pan and Stonewall. There’s no excuse for this stuff anymore.

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    RobertPius
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    #197798

    In the acting categories (despite last year’s shut out) there have been many more POC nominated and winning than ever before. (except in Best Actress) 

    I  think it is more an employment  issue than an academy issue. The academy seems happy to recognize diversity in the acting fields when people actually get to work. I think they’d recognize POC in other categories too if they had a chance to work and do a great job. 

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    awardsdontmatter
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    #197799

    in 2010, whdn they had another melting pot: A horror film (Black Swan), an animated film (Toy Story 3), a sci-fi film (Inception), a lesbian dramedy (The Kids Are All Right), a drama about the founding of Facebook for the younger generation (The Social Network), a western (True Grit), two biopics (The Fighter, 127 Hours), and a female-led indie (Winter’s Bone), they still gnawed on the bait with the most conventional choice, The King’s Speech. Quite disappointing. 

    omg, 2010 pissed me off so bad. I didn’t mind The King’s Speech as a movie, but I absolutely loathed it as a contender and then winner for BP. (Just as much as I loathe Bullock’s simply surreal BA win for Blind Side.) Such a cowardly boring lame and uninspiring choice in a year of some true riveting drama. I am still team Black Swan all the way. It would have been so amazing for a thriller to win after the long genre drought since Silence of the Lambs. 

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    AviChristiaans
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    #197800

    I reiterate what many have said over and over: You can’t win an Oscar for a role that is not there. Black, white, hispanic, Asian, African etc. Giving Gugu Mbatha-Raw (or any minority) nominations just because they are black is preposterous. Selma had its problems last year, and even though Oyelowo and DuVernay were deserving of nominations, they were really not the slam dunks and best of the year, as some were purporting. Great roles, winning performances for all minorities, and we can get there.

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    benutty
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    #197801

    I completely agree that the problem is deeper than who the Oscars recognize–that you can’t give an award to someone who had no work to do that year.

    But the visibility and credibility that is given to nominees and winners can go a long way to helping the problem of future employment. If the Academy wanted to do their part in helping, something like “breakthrough” or “first film” awards would help give visibility to genre- and POC-focused films, filmmakers and actors and studios and producers will see the value in financing their future projects.

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    Mladen Vukcevic
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    #197802

    But isn’t this a sort of vicious circle? You don’t get the recognition for the role that isn’t there, and you don’t get the role because of lack of recognition. And that problem surpasses the problem of diversity.

    In 2013, we had the clash of old winners in Best Actress race, with exception of Adams, who also had a number of nominations. Last year, we had 2 previous winners (Cotillard, Witherspoon) and someone who is well established name (Moore). Every year, we get at least 3 spots for “big names”. In Supporting Actress role, it is easier to get, but still difficult. Last year, we had Streep, woth previous nominees Dern, Kneightley. The two other names – Stone and Arquette were rather popular. And it goes every year like that.

    When it comes to men, it is also the same. I had to go to 2010 nomination list for Best Actor to find some relative newbies in Franco and Eisenberg. The same thing is for Best Supporting Actor category. 

    So, it seems that with each new year, the pool Academy is picking from is getting smaller and smaller. And the side effect of that is that it also affects diversity (not that it isn’t a huge problem on its own). One can hope that this year we will have a bunch of new winners… 

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    Milk Money
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    #197803

    The Academy is definitely feeling the heat. That Spike Lee honor after he lambasted them last year was very telling. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the acting winners this year is a POC who has a halfway decent chance.

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    Marcus Dixon
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    #197804

    I’m paraphrasing here, but Shonda Rhimes once said that writers need to stop denoting characters’ races in the scripts. Don’t mention whether a character is black, white, Hispanic, Asian, etc. The TV role of Annalise Keating was never originally meant for a black woman. If movies followed suit, I wonder what would happen?

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    24Emmy
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    #197805

    The Academy is definitely feeling the heat. That Spike Lee honor after he lambasted them last year was very telling. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the acting winners this year is a POC who has a halfway decent chance.

    Who? Idris Elba seemed like he had a strong chance, but then Beasts of No Nation premiered on Netflix and his winning buzz disappeared.

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    Milk Money
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    #197806

    [quote=”milkmoney”]The Academy is definitely feeling the heat. That Spike Lee honor after he lambasted them last year was very telling. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the acting winners this year is a POC who has a halfway decent chance.

    Who? Idris Elba seemed like he had a strong chance, but then Beasts of No Nation premiered on Netflix and his winning buzz disappeared.

    [/quote]

    Critic wins could put Elba back in the race, but right now my money is on Sam Jackson–a win that few could argue against especially if word is true that he really delivers.

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    24Emmy
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    #197807

    [quote=”24Emmy”]

    [quote=”milkmoney”]The Academy is definitely feeling the heat. That Spike Lee honor after he lambasted them last year was very telling. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the acting winners this year is a POC who has a halfway decent chance.

    Who? Idris Elba seemed like he had a strong chance, but then Beasts of No Nation premiered on Netflix and his winning buzz disappeared.

    [/quote]
    Critic wins could put Elba back in the race, but right now my money is on Sam Jackson–a win that few could argue against especially if word is true that he really delivers.
    [/quote]

    That’s possible, but now that he’s been bumped up to lead he would have to beat overdue Leonardo DiCaprio.
    Strong early word for him as well.

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