The Oscars, LGBTIQ and POC

This year’s Oscar nominations were more notable for who they left out than those included.

So it included Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Christian Bale, and Mark Ruffalo.

Notably absent from the pool was any actor of color—the second year in a row that the Academy has elected an all-white group of nominees. And and acclaimed Lesbian themed movie Carol, were shut out of the top categories.

Carol was directed by Todd Haynes—one of the most eclectic and accomplished talents of his generation—was snubbed.

Nico Lang* in The A.V. Club reminds us that “a decade after Brokeback Mountain was famously snubbed at the 2006 Oscars—thwarted by Paul Haggis’ Crash in a shocking upset victory—Carol’s snub is just how the Academy does business. To date, a queer-themed movie has still never won Best Picture, and those that do receive any kind of recognition prominently feature queer suffering”.

Only two performers have won an award for playing LGBT characters: who live after the end of the movie: Penelope Cruz won Best Supporting Actress in 2009 for Vicky Cristina Barcelona. In 2006, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman snagged a Best Actor award for playing writer and socialite Truman Capote.

Most queer characters in movies seem to not get the dignity to die outside the camera’s gaze. In Philadelphia, Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks) dies of HIV in extreme close-up, as he tells his partner, Miguel: “I’m ready.”
Add The Spider Woman, Boys Don’t Cry, and you can see the Awards love queer misery and struggle.

Let’s get real,the stories of LGBT people can be important teachable moments in our nation’s ongoing struggle for equality.

So on to people of color. Example Selma’s David Oyelowo is indicative of how the Academy Awards treat black narratives.

Cara Buckley has a great article in the New York Times**.

“The outcry over the nomination of 20 white actors, and no black ones, for the Academy Awards gained momentum on Monday — Martin Luther King’s Birthday — as the director Spike Lee and the actress Jada Pinkett Smith announced they would not be attending the ceremony”.

Spike Lee’s his latest film, “Chi-Raq,” earned no nominations. He said he was tired of being asked for his opinion about all-white or majority-white Oscar races year after year, he also urged the news media to “ask all the white nominees and studio heads how they feel about another all-white ballot.”

Pinkett Smith has already taken aim at the Academy asking on Facebook and Twitter, “Should people of color refrain from participating all together?” She added, “People can only treat us in the way in which we allow.” Later she said “We can no longer beg for the love, acknowledgment or respect of any group.” Her husband, Will Smith, was a best actor contender for his lead role in “Concussion” but received no nomination.

The American Civil Liberties Union called for a government investigation into potentially discriminatory hiring practices last May. And the Directors Guild of America released a study in December showing that 82 percent of movies from 2013 and 2014 were directed by white men.

So I know you NA members and allies all love entertainment and the movies, but perhaps this is the time to consider a boycott of this years Academy Awards event based on the perceived lack of representation of LGBTQI accolades.

Remember Coretta Scott King’s admonition: “I believe all Americans who believe in freedom, tolerance and human rights have a responsibility to oppose bigotry and prejudice based on sexual orientation”.

And also: “Freedom and justice cannot be parceled out in pieces to suit political convenience. I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others.

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