Opinion: Oscars boycott – is it really a solution?


By Michael Cordova – Columnist/Co-Head Editor in Chief

It is known that all throughout award season millions of people will sit down to watch the mother of all movie awards, the Oscars. Most of those people will sit in anticipation to see if Leonardo DiCaprio will finally win that beloved little golden man. This year, however, there is a whole other issue cinema enthusiasts will take issue with. People like Will Smith, Samuel L. Jackson, and even director Spike Lee seems to be absent from the awards this year.

If you have not had a chance to look at the award nominations, it would be worth a gander to see just how undeniably homogeneous the group is. Every single one of the twenty actors that are nominated for an Oscar are white, and the only ethnic nominee in any category is Alejandro G. Iñárritu, who is nominated for directing.

The Oscars being a predominantly white event is nothing new. In 2015 the twenty acting nominees were also exclusively Caucasian – throughout the years not much has changed in the type of people that are nominated.

Some African American members of Hollywood are staging somewhat of a boycott of the Oscars, the louder voices being Director Spike Lee, Will Smith’s Wife and Gotham actress Jada Pinkett Smith

“At the Oscars … people of color are always welcomed to give out awards … even entertain, but we are rarely recognized for our artistic accomplishments. Should people of color refrain from participating altogether?” Jada Smith Wrote on her twitter.

Snoop Dogg in a video he made ranting about the Oscar issues. (TMZ)
Snoop Dogg in a video he made ranting about the Oscar issues. (TMZ)

Even white actors like George Clooney are upset with the Academy and their nominations.

“If you think back 10 years ago, the Academy was doing a better job. Think about how many more African Americans were nominated. I would also make the argument, I don’t think it’s a problem of who you’re picking as much as it is: How many options are available to minorities in film, particularly in quality films?” George Clooney told Variety.

Clooney brings up a great point, is the boycott really the best solution? There are a lot more opportunities to stand up in the very place where the problem lies and get the issue out there, instead of voicing every concern to your followers on Twitter and Instagram. Take the host of the 2016 Oscars for example, comedian Chris Rock has a beautiful opportunity to make jokes and humour at the situation but still deliver the message that as a community of actors and they are upset.

The upstanding issue may not even be that just the Academy is pushing the African American Hollywood group down. If we look at movies over the past two years, especially the ones nominated for best picture, the roles are predominantly written for white actors.

Directors, writers, and producers are using a system that seems to be to only throw in the token funny Indian guy, or any other stereotype they can throw in to go along with their star white actor/actress.

A real solution could be to change the way movies are being written, who they are being written for even. Rather than have a blockbuster movie every year starring all of our favorite African American actors (Straight Outta Compton, 12 Years a Slave) write more roles in the movies that we already know are high budget and are obviously really good.

Sad to say it will not change with celebrity banter over social media, or even beloved actors not showing up for these important events; real change will come from people all over the country coming together and speaking out against Hollywood itself, not just the Academy.