For only the second time in nearly two decades, the 20 Academy Awards acting nominations went to a group made up entirely of white actors and actresses.Selma was also snubbed for best director, best screenplay, and all technical awards. Why did this happen? Vox's Todd VanDerWerff thinks the answer is simple: "because the average Oscar voter is a 63-year-old white man."
Among the notable snubs was David Oyelowo, who received praise for his turn as the late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma.
In 2011, the 20 nominees also were entirely white. Before that, one has to go back to 1998 for an all-white acting group.
But if that's the reason -- and I think it is -- what that says about the Academy is even worse than it seems.
Think about a 63-year-old white man. Assuming his 64th birthday will come later this year, he was born in 1951. That means he's old enough to remember the events depicted in Selma, which takes place in 1965, when he was 14. Granted, at that age he might have been more interested in sex or sports or movies or finding ways to buy beer. But how do you live through the civil rights era as a young person and not feel some connection to those events? You were 17 when Martin Luther King died -- how does that have no impact on you? And look at you now -- you're in an industry that prides itself on political progressivism. And even if you're a suit, you're in a business that calls itself creative -- do you do this while completely lacking empathy for anyone who's not like you?
Given the sorry state of most of Hollywood's output -- the CGI roman-numeral blockbusters and comedies about farting boy-men, greenlighted mostly by white males -- and given the near-total freeze-out of women in directorial roles (or in most acting roles beyond male stars' arm candy), I guess I know the answer. And it's pathetic.
Yes, sixty-something white men gave us a white Oscars. But given what they've lived through -- not just the civil rights movement, but all the other movements for human dignity of people other than Caucasian males -- sixty-something white men ought to have even a passing interest in people who aren't like themselves.
Narcissism: I guess that's associated with movies, too. That's the real problem here.
And that distinguishes it from every biopic that won an Oscar how exactly? @pbump— Steve M. (@nomoremister) January 16, 2015