Hollywood knows that the need of the hour is a bold move, but it seems its biggest players don’t agree on what that move should be. Of course everyone is incensed about what they’re calling the #OscarsSoWhite controversy which, if you came in late, is a statement about the lack of diversity in the nominations this year. While stars such as Jada Pinkett Smith and filmmaker Spike Lee have vowed to boycott the awards ceremony, veteran actress Whoopi Goldberg says the real misrepresentation problem is the films.
“The issue is not the Academy,” Whoopi opines, adding, “Even if you fill the Academy with Black and Latino and Asian members, if there’s no one on the screen to vote for, you’re not going to get the outcome that you want.” Goldberg suggests that coloured people who really want to make a bold statement should “boycott” movies that “don’t have” their “representation.”Having won a Best Supporting Actress accolade in 1991 for her role in ‘Ghost,’ Whoopi is convinced the Oscars cannot be “racist.” Of course the recent furore has resulted in an official commitment from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to double the number of female and diverse members by 2020 — but Whoopi still doesn’t think anything will change unless movie bosses alter their recruitment.
As to whether miffed minorities should attend the awards ceremony itself, Goldberg is unequivocally against a boycott. “Boycotting doesn’t work and it’s also a slap in the face to Chris Rock,” says the ‘Sister Act’ star, adding: “Chris is the host of the Academy Awards and so to boycott him seems just as bad as what everybody is saying.”
One way or another, we stand in favour of dialogue, debate and bold moves. Those who can bring about change must pave the path with action. After all, no one ever cured a malady by doing nothing.
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