OSCAR NOMINATIONS 2015
I kind-of hate to discuss this year’s Oscar nominations the day after Martin Luther King Day, but this is perhaps the perfect time for me to weigh-in on them.
I want to preface this by saying that, since I was little girl, I have been the least racist person ever. My joke is always that I’m prejudiced against just two groups: Hare Krishna and child celebrities. This is too long to go into here, but when I was little, I actually thought I was part black! The person I was closest to in the world was my nanny, Edna. I always claimed that my sister was my father’s favorite child, my brother was my mother’s, and I was Edna’s, and I was one hundred percent fine with that. I was proud of it actually. A school mother once told me how it was so funny that her child thought that Edna was our mother, and I couldn’t figure out what was funny about that. She was virtually my second mother, and I really didn’t see any differences.
All of this, though, is a story for another time. I’m just telling it to you as my background, so that you’ll understand how pro-black I’ve always been, so when I tell you my thoughts on the all-white Oscar nominations, you’ll note they don’t come from a place of prejudice.
Okay, so here it is: I see absolutely nothing racist about no black actors being nominated for Oscars this year. Period. Let me explain.
As a SAG Awards voter, and two-time SAG Nominating Committee member, I know a little bit of how nominations work. And it’s not even close to the way it’s portrayed in the media; I think they know the truth, as well, but just want to rile-up everybody. They make it seem like a little nominating committee sits in a board room, and discusses what should be done, and that this year those people said, “Hey, let’s not nominate any black actors this time!” But that couldn’t be further from what actually goes on.
All voters, or nominators, see the eligible movies on their own, when it’s convenient to them. Sometimes it’s in the form of screenings, sometimes they get a DVD of the film, there are digital downloads often available, and they can also just go to the public movies like regular people. But the main point is that each person does it on his or her own. And then, when it’s time to nominate, they click on their nominees on the page on the computer. Or, if they prefer to go old school, they do it on the paper ballot they’re sent, and snail mail it back.
The point is, we all vote for the five performances we each individually think are the most deserving. Period. I can’t imagine that even one nominating committee member sits in the house at their computer trying to screw any actor of any ethnicity out of their due!
If no black actors were nominated this year, that means that a majority of the people who were voting for the nominees found that in each category there were five more deserving actors of that nomination. No one was being racist about it. At all.
Of course, I can’t speak for every single person who submits his or her nominations. There can be some people who don’t want to vote for any ethnicity. I’m sure that there are several people who choose to not nominate white actors. Can every single ethnic group claim prejudice when they don’t get nominations? There’ve been many movies with Asian actors over the years, and I haven’t seen very many nominations for them. Is that a conspiracy?
I’ve seen most of the movies of note so far this year, except for Still Alice and American Sniper. And I hope to get to those before the week is over. (We have to vote for the SAG awards by Friday morning. American Sniper is not even up for any SAGs, but I want to see it anyway, especially with that new controversy, about snipers, swirling.)
I did see the movie Selma, and as good as many of the actors in it were, most notably David Oyelowo as Dr. Martin Luther King, I can’t tell you who I would’ve dropped to give him a nomination. Perhaps he did deserve the nod, but obviously not enough Oscar nominators thought so. It’s their prerogative. Bradley Cooper wasn’t nominated for a SAG, but was for an Oscar. And the reverse with Jennifer Aniston. So, go figure what’s in people’s minds.
Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any other performances by black actors this season that would knock out the people who were nominated now. But I also don’t think there were a lot of fantastic performances this year, period. I don’t think much of Rosamund Pike’s performance in Gone Girl, (but I don’t know who I would choose to replace her on the noms list. ) Does that mean I’m prejudiced against Brits? And, as much as I’m a fan of Amy Adams, I certainly didn’t think much of her performance in Big Eyes, either. Does that make me a ginger-snubber?
Maybe if the powers-that-be at Selma wanted a nomination for David, (or the female director they’re making such a fuss about,) they should have written better fake speeches for him to deliver on-screen!!! (There was some situation with King’s estate that prevented them from using his real speeches. I don’t see the point of making a movie about him without the main thing that made him so great in the public’s eyes, but as the director pointed-out when I heard her speak, it might have been another fifty years before a film about him could be made if the filmmakers had to wait for the rights to his speeches.)
I just didn’t think there were many outstanding performances at all this entire season, outside of Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything, Meryl Streep in Into The Woods, and Michael Keaton and Ed Norton in Birdman. Nothing else impressed me much. I felt it was a pretty weak year for the movies.
And I absolutely hate the use of the word “snub!” Here’s the definition of “snub”: “to rebuff, ignore, or spurn disdainfully.” Nobody on any of these nominating committees or groups has done any such thing! They’ve merely voted for five performances they like better than the others. I’m sure that, in some cases, people might vote for their friends, or against someone they are not especially a fan of, or they worked with whom they intensely dislike. After all, we’re dealing with humans here. But these actors and films are not getting snubbed!
The only egregious omission to me this season, is that Unbroken didn’t receive a Best Film nomination, and nor did Jack O’Connell who played the lead and was on-screen every second of that two hours and seventeen minutes! And how can Angelina Jolie have not received a Best Director nod? In her case, it is possible that people feel that she has enough in her life, so they didn’t want to cast their vote for the first-time director. Perhaps they are jealous that she snagged Brad Pitt. Who really knows? But that still does not fit the definition of being snubbed. Just not enough people voted for her. (If you need an easier, real-life definition of “snubbing,” it’s what Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston will do to each other at the Oscars, should they both be there. That’s being snubbed!)
There are also odd things happening this year, like Robert Duvall being relegated to the Supporting Actor category for The Judge, when he was definitely the co-star of Robert Downey, Jr. I’m afraid that actors might vote for Jennifer Aniston to win the SAG award for Cake, just because she didn’t get an Oscar nomination. (But, as you’ll read in my review of that film next week, she was basically Rachel without make-up on. So in my opinion, she didn’t deserve any nominations in this performance. And I think that actors will also vote for JK Simmons in Whiplash, just because he’s basically one of us non-famous actors. But it all remains to be seen. He was excellent, but I’m really not sure that he deserves an award over Robert Duvall.
Okay, I got off the “racist” topic. But it all goes to show voters mind-sets when they’re deciding whom to nominate. And, trust me, when you’re filling out your ballot, no matter which movie award you’re voting on, you’re definitely not not voting for someone based on their race. I promise, there is no “snubbing” involved. Period. Dot, dash, end of story. And that’s a wrap.