Academy Award Nominations Show Hollywood Is Progressive As Old South [Opinion]

Apparently, last year’s Academy Awards was too much of a step in the right direction for Hollywood. They followed up that lively affair by setting themselves back a few decades.

This year’s Oscars are set to be the “whitest” they’ve been since 1998.

It’s an embarrassment to the Academy, but it’s likely that they are so out of touch they’ll be the last ones to know. Hollywood likes to tell anyone who will listen how liberal a city it is. How progressive. How they will take risks and steps to bring the world into the 21st century, and how the movie industry’s politics are well ahead of its time — and always have been.

However, the Academy Awards (or more accurately the entire Los Angeles-based entertainment industry) has always been the beacon of shining hope for bigots in America. The industry continues to assure American audiences that a movie is for everyone so long as the lead actors are both white.

And now the Oscars continue to assure American viewers that the only people capable of producing quality films are also white. The lazy explanation for this behavior by the Academy would be that apparently there were Oscar submissions for major categories featuring people of color worthy of a nod.

Chris Rock was heavily vindicated after calling Hollywood out late last year in an essay. Even with Rock’s statements in mind, it’s doubtful anyone really expected this year to lack diversity to a rather troubling degree.

With many of the nods going to older, whiter individuals, it seems like the Oscars undid everything Ellen DeGeneres boldly attempted last year to bring the award show into the 21st century.

The Academy Awards didn’t just take a step back in terms of ethnic diversity — the Oscars left women out of every other major category except actresses. Would the Academy Awards have let any actresses shine if they didn’t have mandatory categories? One has to wonder.

Perhaps the Academy Awards congratulated itself so hard for 12 Years A Slave that they thought no one would notice if this year they left out virtually anyone that wasn’t a white guy. The 88th Academy Awards will be an interesting affair to be sure.

Could the Academy swing the pendulum all the way in the opposite direction after dodging accusations of racism for this year’s show? Will we see people of color in every major (and non-major) category? Will we be treated to a smug monologue by George Clooney?

In any case, it’s hoped that the Academy Awards and all of Hollywood will finally shut up with all of this nonsense about being so socially accepting and progressive.

The Academy Awards are about as progressive as the Old South and as liberal as a “Whites Only” sign. Perhaps they’ll be so kind as to spare us all in the future the use of the word “progress” until they get around to actually making any.

A big step would be for the Oscars to understand that African Americans have stories to tell that do not include slavery and Jim Crow. Are you surprised at the lack of ethnic and gender diversity at the Academy Awards?

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