#oscarssowhite: did you watch the show?

I warily watched the opening ceremony, and felt some relief that Chris Rock managed to call out at least the implicit racism (“the sorority racism:  we really like you but you are just not a kappa”) in Hollywood.  Every once in a while I turned the TV back on:  racism was a major topic.

here’s the transcript of Chris Rock’s opening monologue.

  1. The NY Times chief films critics discussed the ceremony here.  The beginning of their discussion:

MANOHLA DARGIS Our national nightmare is over: The 2016 Academy Awards are history. They were also history, too, just because for a few minutes Chris Rock tore the smiling mask off of the industry. Unlike most Oscar hosts, who just have to ease us through another grindingly dull show, he had a tough job Sunday night because everyone knew he had to confront #OscarsSoWhite, which he initially did pretty brilliantly.

Because while at first it seemed as if Mr. Rock was going to go easy on the room, with soft laughs about the “White People’s Choice Awards,” you could feel the room begin to cool when he started dropping words like “raping” and “lynching.” Rarely have the cutaways to the audience seemed as surreal. It was as if a chasm had suddenly opened between this single black performer and all those increasingly uneasy white people. The industry likes to obscure its racism and sexism, but its inequities and hollow insistence that the only color it cares about is green have become untenable as more people speak out. So, I don’t know about you, but I enjoyed watching that room squirm.

2 thoughts on “#oscarssowhite: did you watch the show?

  1. Generally, I don’t get upset about which millionaires get what trophies. Why would anyone care about that? (I also do not know the motivations of whoever it is that is responsible for nominating actors/resses for awards, so I have not a clue as to whether or not they are racist for not nominating any black (or asian, or mexican?) actors/resses. I also have not watched very many movies so I’m not sure who did a good job acting–nor do I think it is important whether or not a person is a good actor or is recognized to be a good actor. What a superficial society we live in.)

  2. UG, I’m puzzled by two things in your comment:
    1. The suggestion that the issue is really about which millionaires get trophies, and no one should care about that. Not everyone up for an Oscar is a millionaire. In addition, an Oscar can lead to a lot of desirable things other than money. Finally, Oscar operate to influence public taste, and that is something we care about.
    2. The idea that we have to access to motives in order to tell whether the selections were racist. In fact, it is often the case that we infer racism from actions. There is no reason to think that minorities are inferior at all of the wide range of jobs ThaT The Oscars cover. Given that, it is hard to see what else is behind the skewed selection except some sort of racism.

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