By Michael Willson
I have a deep appreciation for movies. Like most movie patrons, I love the Oscars. Every year I turn on the TV and watch the Oscars with excitement and anticipation. Around the holiday season, I look for the movies that are competing for Oscar nominations, and I always make predictions of who will get nominated and, most importantly, who will win. Like most of the nation, I was surprised when I saw how few nominations the movie Selma received.
Released by Paramount Pictures, Selma is about the voting-rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The film has received very good reviews; made $43,710,858 in the box office; and received several award nominations, including four Golden Globes and five Critic Choice Awards. However, when the Oscar nominations were announced, Selma received only two nominations.
While the film received a nomination for Best Picture and Best Song (“Glory”), director Ava DuVernay and lead actor David Oyelowo were not on the list of nominees, despite being nominated for the Golden Globes and Critic Choice Awards. When the nominations were announced, people were outraged. Many accused the Oscars of racism, claiming that DuVernay and Oyelowo did not get nominated because of their race.
Is it really fair to call the Oscars racist? I do not think so. I understand why people are upset; two very talented artists were robbed of Oscar nomination. But that does not mean that they were not nominated solely because of their race. It is not as if a person of color has never been nominated for an Oscar. Several people of color have been nominated, and several have won, including Morgan Freeman, Jennifer Hudson and Whoopi Goldberg. Hattie McDaniel became the first person of color to win the Oscar in 1939, a time when racism was quite prevalent within the film industry.
I would also like to point out that 12 Years a Slave, a film about American slavery, was nominated for nine Oscars last year and won three, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress, Lupita Nyong’o. So to call the Oscars racist is flat-out absurd.
Caucasians have been overlooked at the Oscars as well. In 2012, Ben Affleck won the Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award for his directing of the movie Argo, but was not even nominated for the Oscar.
Now, I am not saying that everyone should agree with the awarding of the Oscars. We all have our own opinions of what makes a good actor, movie, director, etc. But that does not mean that we should start pointing fingers and calling the committee racist. I feel that with all of the incidents that have gone on in the past year, such as those of Ferguson and Eric Garner, it has become very easy to call each other racist. It is true that racism is a problem that our country is facing and it is something that we should not ignore, but that does not mean that every little thing that happens has to do with race.
I am sure that a lot of people are going to boycott this year’s Oscars and that is fine. What others decide to do is up to them, but for me, I am still going to watch the Oscars. Despite a couple of overlooked nominees, I think that it is still going to be a good award show and that a number of talented artists will win.