The Oscars’ New Diversity Requirements Are a Joke

It‘ll take a lot more than this to stop them from being so White.

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Parasite’s Kim family: Choi Woo-shik, Song Kang-ho, Jang Hye-jin, and Park So-dam (Photo: CJ Entertainment/Neon)

As much as I’d love to see Viola Davis tackle Queen Elizabeth I, a diverse cast won’t always enhance storytelling Hamilton-style. Not every historical saga is begging for the diversity treatment.

Going forward, will filmmakers deem Oscar consideration less important that staying true to their creative vision? That’s doubtful, but if they do, these changes will likely change the Oscars more than it will change Hollywood.

Viola Davis is … Queen Elizabeth I?

Here’s the thing: The Academy probably should stick to rewarding the movie industry and not trying to manage it. Trying to force movies to place token minorities in the cast and on the payroll and to tackle topics that relate to underrepresented groups won’t automatically make the Oscars any less White. It won’t necessarily set Zendaya (zero nominations at 24) on course to be the next Saoirse Ronan (four at 26).

A smaller pool of contenders

That’s why Oscar nominations in recent years have been going to increasingly fewer films while more of those films end up scoring a high number of nominations. Last year, a whopping four movies — Joker, 1917, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and The Irishman — earned 10 or more nominations. Four others scored six. That’s a lot of nods (65!) for just eight movies.

Just because voters watch films with predominantly minority casts doesn’t mean they will nominate the actors in them. A couple of years ago, Spike Lee’s Best Picture nominee BlacKkKlansman scored just one acting nod, best supporting actor for Adam Driver, who is White.

If the Academy were to require voters to see everything and not just a select few films with Oscar-friendly talent and/or tons of online and social media buzz, the nominations might be more evenly distributed. Maybe, for the first time in … ever, we’d get a Black, Asian, or Latina Best Actress frontrunner in the mix.

Written by

Brother Son Husband Friend Loner Minimalist World Traveler. Author of “Is It True What They Say About Black Men?” and “Storms in Africa”

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