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Why is "Best Actress" so hard for women of Color?

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  • JROCK1772
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    #1202702939

    There is also something to be said about the fact that several nominations occur due to the actress having established herself as a prominent name in the business. Those “filler” nominees are often women who have performed well in other works and are reliable to be nominated over and over again. Hence why Streep sneaks into years where her performances are evidently inferior to others. With roles already being typecast and limited as they are, women of color have more difficult establishing themselves as capable of earning multiple nominations. The only modern black actress who have consistently broken into the Oscar conversation are Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, Taraji P. Henson, Alfre Woodard, Halle Berry, Oprah Winfrey and now Regina King. Kerry Washington, Gabrielle Union, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and Zoe Saldana all have a decent amount of fame, but have yet to be pushed anywhere near that Oscar trophy. Thandie Newton and Gugu Mbatha-Raw seem a little closer, but that’s not saying much. Mo’Nique and Gabourey Sidibe have been dropped from studio attention altogether, Jennifer Hudson barely snuck in in the first place, and so many talented women (Ruth Negga, Carmen Ejogo, Sophie Okonedo, Adepero Oduye, Quvenzhane Wallis, etc.) don’t get the support they deserve to continue to nab crucial career-making roles. Beyonce and Queen Latifah are considered more recognizable actresses than some of the women I mentioned before, namely because they have the fame that some of these women will never properly receive.

    Beyond the black demographic of women of color, Asian women have never paralleled their contemporaries in American cinemas, such as Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan, besides maybe Lucy Liu. Michelle Yeoh has done pretty well for herself, along with Ming-Na Wen, Maggie Q, and now Constance Wu, but Yeoh is legitimately the only Asian woman who has seen any Oscar buzz that would actually impact voters. Nevertheless, an Asian woman in Best Actress is almost unimaginable at the moment, as Asian women rarely are given the opportunity to lead films in American studio productions. Crazy Rich Asians is an anomaly and we need hundreds of more films like it to allow Asian women to actually be taken seriously as protagonists and capable of driving the plot of a film.

    Women of Latina/Hispanic descent likewise have nearly no consistent representation in the Lead Actress category, besides Penelope Cruz. Salma Hayek was a one and done. Sofia Vergara makes a crazy amount of money, but is essentially designated for tv roles that don’t reflect on her Oscar potential. Anyone wanna argue that Catalina Sandino Moreno has been prominent since 2004? Rosario Dawson, Jessica Alba, Jennifer Lopez, and the Evas (Longoria and Mendes) are too commercialized to be given any room to transition to critically respectable performances. Yalitza Aparacio is a blip on Oscar’s radar and she might not even get in.

    Oscar winning roles are more often written for white women, but the roles that reaped nominations also reflect a generally white-dominated facet of a combined popularity and critical notice that is crucial in obtaining a nomination in the first place. Hollywood is geared entirely towards white stories, but the voting bodies consistently awarding white actors only perpetuates the obstacles that non-white actors face with getting Oscar buzz to begin with.

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    Emmyfan
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    #1202702975

    Angela Bassett would have won hands down if she were nominated for Lead Actress in 1995.

    Whoopi Goldberg deserved to win for The Color Purple in 1986. My guess is that she was second in the votes.

    I really think that Diana Ross would have had a stronger chance in 1973 for Lady Sings the Blues if the push/marketing for her was not perceived to be pushed in the voter’s faces. Also, Cicely Tyson should have been nominated in Supporting because she truly was Supporting and she would have won hands down. I am sure that Diana and Cicely took away votes from each other.

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    Dan Jo
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    #1202703088

    I think not only in Hollywood but in other parts of the world. They have prejudice against colored people because being colored is unacceptable in their norm.

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    jjjmoss
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    #1202703101

    zhang ziyi came close but then that keira knightley person

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    Anonymous
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    #1202703122
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    M: The Original
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    #1202703129

    Don’t bash me but most of these people wants to be ” Movie Stars ” not actual actors who works hard, studies method, they want to be in big blockbuster movies, and millions of Social Network followers and some of them does not want indie and low budget films. Look at Sofia Vergara or Priyanka Chopra! They made millions by starring in biggest selling movies, television shows and million dollar endorsement deals.

    What the fuck are you talking about? White actresses accept endorsement deals all the time.

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    BICTH
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    #1202703137

    zhang ziyi came close but then that keira knightley person

    the one in the lineup that I think should’ve been replaced by zhang was dench, but I’d rather not start that conversation, if there’s any justice she would have had three oscar noms by now

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    Mukund
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    #1202703164

    Don’t bash me but most of these people wants to be ” Movie Stars ” not actual actors who works hard, studies method, they want to be in big blockbuster movies, and millions of Social Network followers and some of them does not want indie and low budget films. Look at Sofia Vergara or Priyanka Chopra! They made millions by starring in biggest selling movies, television shows and million dollar endorsement deals.

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    Anonymous
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    #1202703189
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    Anonymous
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    JayDF
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    #1202703216

    Both major points right on the head here. These are the reasons. First reason about lack of good roles we all know. 2nd reason I’m sure everyone knows but rarely ever mentions. The academy voters need to be told who to vote for, if the great performances by women of color are in films that are not soliciting the voters than what? No nominations. The voters are old and white or very busy professionals. None of whom are going to out (or stay in with screeners) and watch these films unless they are told to do so.

    Angela Bassett would have won any other year but of course her movie had to be released the same year The Piano was too. There was nothing stopping juggernaut that was Holly Hunter that year.
    Whoopi Goldberg in The Color Purple was also screwed over. If it wasn’t for Geraldine Page being massively overdue she could have been the first black female double golden dildo winner.
    Women of color are given worthy roles but they are in indies and to campaign for awards you have to have lots of money which indie producers unfortunately don’t have.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by  JayDF.
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    M
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    #1202703236

    I think it has to do with the fact not enough good roles are assigned to actors/actresses of color. It’s the same problem for both men and women.

    I read that 80% of Hollywood Actors are white, and that lead to this misconception in the U.S that being white is more attractive (some dumb terms like “all-american” are even still used in the industry to describe tall white men with blond hair and blue eyes).

    That’s starting to change. The modeling industry is even worse to be honest. I wish it would just vanish. It represents everything that’s wrong with society. They would put like few models of color just to say “we’re not racist”, but you have like 95% of models on TV being that same type of attractive women etc…

    At least in movies, we’re starting to see some change…

     

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    RobertPius
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    #1202703273

    Whoopi Goldberg in The Color Purple is an odd case. When the film first came out and nowadays because it lives on in popularity it seems absurd that she didn’t win and make history. BUT there was that backlash against the film shortly after its release that had people (even the NAACP) calling the film racist.

    When Geraldine Page popped up in a last minute qualifying release and she had this huge overdue history it gave them an out and they could vote for Page and avoid controversy. It is hard to imagine now but back then I think the academy thought they were doing the non-racist thing by ignoring The Color Purple.

    I wonder what would have happened had Page’s film not had that last minute release. Would Whoopi have won or would they have let Out of Africa sweep Streep to a third win to avoid controversy. (Which then would have led to Viola winning in 2011 for The Help. It is all connected.

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    Eddy Q
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    #1202703556

    I wonder what would have happened had Page’s film not had that last minute release. Would Whoopi have won or would they have let Out of Africa sweep Streep to a third win to avoid controversy?

    I think Whoopi would’ve won in that scenario; she and the rest of the female cast were the one uncontroversial element to the film, I don’t think the Academy would’ve held anything against her. Besides, Meryl wouldn’t have won a third that soon for a less emotionally overt role than Whoopi’s, even in a Best Picture winner. If any actor was going to win for Out of Africa it would’ve been the great Klaus Maria Brandauer.

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    Jazzy
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    #1202703573

    When Geraldine Page popped up in a last minute qualifying release and she had this huge overdue history it gave them an out and they could vote for Page and avoid controversy.

    I doubt their voting for Geraldine had anything to do with avoiding controversy, but instead had everything to do with finally awarding her. This was her 8th nomination with no previous wins. In fact her last nomination before that was just the year before. She was the only person (man or woman) who had had such a long losing streak at the time.

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