Student Press of Braden River High School

Many claim that the Academy does not recognize diverse genres and performances in Oscars season.

Many claim that the Academy does not recognize diverse genres and performances in Oscars season.

Through recent years, the Oscars has been criticized from what many believe is a lack of representation in its nominees and winners and some believe that the 2020 Oscars, taking place Feb. 9, was no different.

The Oscars’ controversial diversity issue stems from varying acknowledgement of talent from minority groups and communities, as well as the cultural and diverse films themselves. While the recent “Oscars So White” controversy aided in the issue, it ultimately did little to solve it.

With the completion of the 2020 Oscars, only two nominees were actors of color, while no female directors were nominated. Many claim that the root of the issue lies in the structure of The Academy, the group of members that vote and decide the nominees and winners of the ceremony.

As of 2019, The Academy is comprised of 32% of women and 16% of people of color, a figure that displays the possibility of unintentional bias. The top films nominated for 2020 include “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood”, “1917” and “The Irishman”. Each films’ quality notwithstanding, the amount of period pieces represent a trend in picking the nominees, as they have filled spots in the Best Picture category various times.

The trend of these types of films being nominated show how the Academy’s demographic’s can heavily influence nominations, as the three listed films received between 10 and 11 nominations each, while other films, such as “Midsommar”, “Booksmart” and “The Farewell” pushed genre boundaries in the industry and received zero nominations.

The films nominated each year are without question solidly crafted, but entries like “The Shape of Water” are becoming something of a rare breed in the Academy. However, the South Korean drama/thriller nominated at the 2020 Oscars, “Parasite”, won four awards, including Best Picture. Featuring an all Korean cast, the film’s historic win marks the first time a foreign-language film has won the top honor. While “Parasite’s” major success reflects an improvement in the voting process, nominations are continually criticized. 

The Academy would benefit from some diversity because it would put the spotlight on international films that are recognized at film festivals and allow them to be nominated for a major award,” senior Christian Solorzano said.

While the Academy struggles to recognize an array of films, it also tends to ignore the wide range of talent that Hollywood provides. When the Academy does not recognize films that many agree are bursting with talent, like Adam Sandler’s performance in “Uncut Gems”, it is apparent that the nomination does not always come down to racial prejudice.

However, the Oscars have run into recent controversy due to its lack of diverse nominees. Many critics and fans alike agree that actors and actresses of color gave a performance worthy of a nomination, who ultimately did not receive one. Lupita Nyong’o in “Us”, Jennifer Lopez in “Hustlers” and Eddie Murphy in “Dolemite Is My Name’‘ are common examples of stars that many said were snubbed of a nomination in the 2020 Oscars.

Many times, the same actors and actresses get nominated repeatedly because they are featured in the films that are intended to win over the Academy. New talents, whether intentional or not, are sometimes excluded from nominations purely because there are seasoned contenders in the running that same year. The makeup of the Academy typically allows for accidental partiality toward white actors and actresses, or stars in the “Oscar bait” films as previously discussed. 

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Clinton Engelberger is currently a junior at the River. He is involved in the school’s wind ensemble, jazz, and marching band, as well as creative writing club. He has an insane amount of knowledge on movie information, and hopes to one day become a screenwriter.

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