The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences now finds itself in a predicament of its own making.
Because of a lack of racial diversity in nominees for the annual Oscars, some black entertainment figures, notably the director Spike Lee and the actor Will Smith, are saying they won’t attend the glitzy February ceremony in Los Angeles.
A breakdown of the secretive Academy’s 5,800 members shows the root of the problem. The organization that votes on movie honors is 94 percent white and 77 percent male, with a median age of 62. The Academy has its own divisions depending upon the area of motion pictures in which someone works, and some of those subsets are made up of just about all whites and males, reports the Los Angeles Times.
So it’s easy to see that the firestorm surrounding this year’s Oscars was inevitable. In fact, it’s amazing it has taken this long to erupt.
The irony here, of course, is that Hollywood’s image is that of a wildly liberal place. In fact, as The Times noted, it’s very much a sort of good-ol’-boys club.
Why should America care?
Because movies have the power to change people’s minds and, yes, to change the country in some ways for the better.
Yet in Los Angeles, only a handful of Oscars have been awarded to people of color, and those have come many years apart. When it comes to race, Hollywood is not ready for its closeup.