The Oscars 2016 controversy is forcing change in Hollywood. By the time the Oscars 2016 controversy is done, the entertainment industry will have changed in one of two ways. It will either celebrate black actors more, or keep things chugging along the way they’ve always been. But if the calls to have Chris Rock resign as host are answered positively by him, then the Oscars would lose their black host, and perhaps lose major prestige among the younger folks.
Even while not having much to offer as far as awards to black people for 2016, the Academy chose a black comedian to preside over the ceremony. Prominent actors launched criticism at the nominations, because huge films like Straight Outta Compton, Creed, and Beasts of No Nation had black actors in lead roles, yet went seemingly unnoticed by the nominating committee.
Chris Rock’s response to Jennifer Lawrence’s pay-gap essay:… https://t.co/Iub3uRDgnQ pic.twitter.com/bi6ttlWOfZ
— July (@aunewse) January 11, 2016
The Oscars voting process has been scrutinized, and even criticized by the sponsoring organization’s president. Cheryl Boone Isaacs is herself black, and was elected as Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ president in 2013. Three years later, in 2016, with the Academy having a black president and a black Oscars host, the show is getting criticized for lack of diversity. Boone Isaacs is not getting directly attacked for the controversy, even though she holds the lead position. But Rock is being pressured to pull out as host, which would leave the evening even whiter, at least on the surface, unless they hire another non-white host.
The voting process is not entirely clear to the public. The voting members who spoke about the process in an interview are all directors, writers, editors, or hold other industry jobs. They are also all white and male. They make up just a tiny segment of the full voting committee, but perhaps can be taken as a representative sample for understanding why people feel the voting results were bias.
In Entertainment Weekly, one voting member who is a writer gave his opinion on the process.
“I am never surprised about the nominations being ridiculous, because it’s always silly. I don’t look at it as a fair judgment on anybody’s work, so I don’t actually care. I know most of those people don’t see half of the movies. I haven’t seen every single movie being discussed. Who has that kind of time?”
Not seeing a good movie could be a very real reason why a film isn’t selected. If this person’s view is even a little bit representative of other voting members, then there seems to be a flaw in the voting process, where voters only vote for works they know or works they happen to get the chance to see, rather than a weighted view of every movie that came out last year.
— E! Online (@eonline) January 16, 2016
Chris Rock has not responded to the controversy. In an interview, The Fast and the Furious series actor Tyrese Gibson suggested the best thing he could do this year was to not host the Oscars. Others paying attention the controversy have stated that Chris Rock’s involvement is not the problem and he should not be punished. They think he is needed to provide his comedic insight during the course of the Oscars 2016 broadcast.
Tyrese stated to People how he views the situation.
“There is no joke that he can crack. There is no way for him to seize the moment and come into this thing and say, ‘I’m going to say this and say that I’m going to address the issue but then I’m still going to keep my gig as the host. The statement that you make is that you step down.”
It is a hot and fiery time for many during this Oscars 2016 controversy. Whatever the outcome or the choices that come next, Hollywood has taken good notice.
[Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for EDITION]