One of the best events of the year for me is the “Academy Awards” commonly known as the “Oscars” where achievements In the film industry are honored, I have to admit beside watching the Oscar statues and awards speeches, I love watching the fashion the stars bring in every year, like the best and worst dressed, what color is popular this year and so on.
The Oscars have been first presented in 1929 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, 86 years ago. It has been noticed that most of the winners at the Oscars did not reflect the core of the population watching the movies; most of the awards were won by older white males.
In 2009 – 81 years after the 1st Oscar and for the first time a woman director (Kathryn Bigelow) won the best director award for her movie the “Hurt Locker”
The irony of the FIRST time Oscar win for a movie directed by a black director, and a Hispanic director has not been lost on me.
I find it amazing that after almost a century this is the first time we see acknowledgement of minorities; at least it is a start and a step towards the right direction.
Most minorities as Hispanics, African Americans, and Asian Americans are extremely underrepresented in movies and TV Shows, and portrayed mostly in a negative light, like Middle Eastern are terrorist, Blacks and Mexicans are gang members or are violent or in prison, women are used and abused in most of the movies. A fair note, there are few movies and TV Shows that address minorities in a positive way but they are so far in between and sometimes they do not make it.
We are barely seeing shows about gays and lesbians, about Persians, and Disable people though they are all on cable channels and not on main stream.
The movies should reflect the life and real conditions we live in, the reality of the diverse world we live today not 50 or 70 years ago. Movies and TV Shows should be an instrumental tool to start dialogues between different groups of people, or at least start an education about the different groups.
A comprehensive study from the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA suggests that movies and shows with diverse casts actually earn more at the box office and score higher ratings than productions with homogenous casts.
What will it take to have inclusion in Hollywood?, to actually represent our current diverse population, to honor and respect not only every minority group but to marry the shows with the real diverse population: Men, women, different generations, Hispanics, blacks, Asians, Caucasians, Middle Eastern, people with disabilities, veterans etc… Am I dreaming or can it happen?
This year Oscars’ show wins are an indicator it can happen:
- Two directors from minority groups’ one black (Best Movie) and one Hispanic (Best Director): Steve McQuinn & Alfonso Cuarón
- An openly gay presenter: Ellen DeGeneres
- Best supporting male actor represented a transgender person with AIDs: Jared Leto
- A Black winner for Best Supporting Actress for 12 Years a Slave: Lupita Nyong’o, is only the sixth Black woman to win in this category, a far cry from the first African American Oscar winner (Hattie McDaniel) for “Gone with the Wind” where she was segregated at the back of the room –
We have come a long way from there; and we still have a long way to go. Like I always say “Let our differences make a difference in the World”, I know that change is slow as it takes people out of their comfort zone, as they fear the unknown, but if nothing else let us start a conversation and take it from there
Diversity and Inclusion is part of our daily life, it is here to stay, is not going way, so let us start dealing with the right way, let us respect and accept (not tolerate) each other, educate each other, and move forward to a better life for all
As Cate Blanchet: Best Actress winner puts it” The world is round, People!”
Diversity starts at home,
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