The announcement of this year’s Oscars nominations set it off harder than Latifah and Vivica in that ’96 throwback. We’ve seen the memes. We’ve witnessed the media firestorm that even gave Winter Storm Jonas a shot at falling short of the finish line. We’ve also seen the broken record rhetoric that has plagued the internet in just about every corner of every publication: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are out of touch, vehemently racist, and it needs to change. Now.
But between the lines written in the same-old-song of public outcry, the important pieces behind the wrongdoing in all of this is being vastly overlooked: 1) The lack of diversity in Hollywood studios is the culprit; there won’t be nominations for films that aren’t being made. 2) The “racism doesn’t exist” outlook is real, armed, and dangerous. 3) The Oscars are a joke. And 4) You don’t really care.
A year prior to now, the “Hate the Oscars” bandwagon had yet to arrive. How many people currently up in arms ever cared about the century-long Hollywood apartheid… until now? How many of this said group actually watches the Oscars? How many of these die-hard catalysts for change cared that there were no black actors up for nominations last year? Very few. There were no memes then. No boycotts à la Jada Pinkett Smith. Just the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag that the social media activists had yet to care about.
As with any commencement of change, there does have to be a breaking point, a start of a movement. But why now? Why was rapper Jadakiss the first urban voice—and pretty much the last—to ever question the Oscars on his (maladroit but well-intentioned) 2004 hit “Why”? Because there wasn’t any Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram platforms to propagate the comical memes and forceful magnitude of antagonism that ensued this month. Look around… the Academy isn’t the sole enemy in this war here. The body of mass opposition that arrived to the party decades late is their unseen ally.
So who will win … or won’t?
Read through the galllery to hear some of our predictions.