Have you ever wondered who elects the Oscar winners? The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has about 6000 members. 94% of them are white. 77% of them are male. 86% of them are over 50. So don’t think of it as Best Picture. Think of it as What an Old White Man thinks is Best Picture. An Old White Man’s Idea of Best Actor. An Old White Man’s Idea of Best Cinematographer. And so on.
Don’t get me wrong. A lot of old white men are wonderful people. It’s just that they’re the minority now. They’re certainly the minority as far as gender is concerned. And soon they will be the minority as far as race is concerned.
So why are they still running things (well the government and the Fortune 500 anyway)?
Silly, because people who have power don’t give it up voluntarily. Why does it matter? Because the movies have such a powerful impact on our culture. And if only one group gets to decide what is the best , where does that leave the rest of us?
It’s no accident that most of the nominees and winners are white men. Members of a tribe like their own tribe the best. They help them first. It’s human nature. Human nature it may be, but healthy for the culture it is not. Ang Lee aside, where were the nonmale, nonwhite nominees that weren’t either best actress or best supporting actress nominees? A tiny percentage? Who does that benefit?
And whose idea was it to have Seth McFarlane host? His shows, Family Guy, American Dad and his movie Ted are insanely popular among you guessed it, white men. Young white men. Time to attract some new blood to the tribe. So we get hilarious jokes about how Jennifer Anniston was a stripper (she wasn’t) about how actresses throw up to lose weight, a CIA agent was just a nag, and 9 year old will be dating George Clooney soon.
And a delightful song that reduced women at the top of their profession to a crudely referenced body part. Come to the Oscars and be humiliated.
Are they really this tone deaf? Well– there he was so, yes, they are. Lately I have been watching the Oscars just for the pretty dresses. Some of the most beautiful women in the world with a team of experts working on them and the result is they look absolutely stunning. Hey do you think it’s a coincidence that the Best Actress award usually goes to someone who’s young and beautiful? ‘Cause that’s what old men like. Just wondering.
It’s 2013. The days when old white men decide for all of us what has value and what does not are fading. At least I hope so. I can’t think of a good reason to watch the Oscars now.
I can catch the dresses the next day on dozens of websites.