LAST NIGHT'S Oscars sucked. And then I realized why -- it was the whitest show I'd ever seen! In a post-racial America that we are allegedly living in, the troubling news was that there were no black, Asian, or Latino nominees to root for or celebrate. (PS. Javier Bardem does not count. He may speak Spanish and English with a heavy accent, but he is from Spain, a beautiful country that is part of the European Union.)
And why is an extreme white Hollywood troubling, even dangerous? Think about it: the Hollywood machinery creates images, we absorb these images, kids included. These images tell us something about ourselves, about our world, about our place in this world. We are not in those images. We are invisible. We don't exist. We don't exist in a world of fantasy, beauty, humor, love, drama... What is the underlying message here? How much value do we have? How beautiful are we, really, according to Hollywood? How important are our stories?
Yeah, some will say, 'nothing new, next.' But no, aren't we a different America today. Isn't the nation's population more diverse than ever in its history. Isn't Barack Obama president?
Thing is, Hollywood is no Arizona, I expect better from liberal, left-leaning creative erudites.
As Bruce Baum eloquently writes: "There remains good reason to pause and consider whether Hollywood is actually helping to construct, even if indirectly or accidentally, a narrow and markedly white-dominated vision of the world."
I have a friend who smartly pointed out that Hollywood is experiencing a creative crisis. And what you see on film, the narrow perspective and hardly eloquent films of late, is a result of the crisis. Real film makers have been replaced by the money-ed types who can finance a film and thus make films. Which is why he notes, places like Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and the Phillipines are producing such great cinema.
One of the few consolations of the night was watching at least two women win. It's a Better World director Susan Bier from Denmark got the prize for best Foreign Film and producer, Audrey Marrs, for the doc, Inside Job.
And if the Oscar kill-joy wasn't harsh enough, I bump into this exclusive story from Jenna Sauers: this year's New York Fashion Week was the whitest in years.
There seems to be a disconnect in this great nation of ours where we have an African American President, a rich and diverse nation and yet a whiter shade of pale from the image makers.