88th Annual Academy Awards

I love the Oscars.

The 85th Academy Awards® will air live on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, 2013.

I will always love the Oscars and I will never stop watching them. They inspire me to dream big and create no matter what age I am. The people that won last night inspired me but the show itself was probably the least entertaining I can ever remember seeing.

I am not a big fan of Chris Rock. I found him only a so-so host when he first hosted 11 years ago. Considering the Oscars so white “controversy” I was kind of dreading him as host. However, his monologue was surprisingly good.

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He addressed the fact that there were no actors of color nominated in the four acting categories but at the same time he pointed out how absurd certain people like Jada Pinkett Smith were in their reactions. If he had left the controversy there it would have been okay but he kept hammering away at it every chance he got. There is such a thing as beating a dead horse.

Speaking of the Oscars so white controversy…I agree with Michael Pena that this whole thing really is a “champagne problem” and on top of that the outrage from the Hollywood African-American community has been racist itself. Not against white people but against other minorities.

The fact is there have been nine black actors who have won an Oscar since 2001. Why is 2001 significant? It is significant because that was when Benicio Del Torro won Best Supporting Actor for “Traffic.

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He was the last Latino actor to win an Academy Award. The number of Latino actors who have been nominated and won Oscars is far shorter than that of black actors. That’s the problem with this outrage. It is only limited to African-Americans.

What about other minorities?  There have been 12 black actors who have won since 1984. That’s significant because that was when Haing S. Ngor won Best Supporting Actor for “The Killing Fields” and he was the last Asian Actor win when an Academy Award.

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The parts available to Asian actors are for more limited than those to African-Americans. And host Chris Rock had no problem making fun of Asian people.

I’m a little perplexed by the limited scope of a call for diversity when it isn’t actually calling for diversity. Christ Rock inserted an African-American actor into “The Martian” (despite the fact there is an Oscar nominated black actor in that movie).

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An African-American actor was inserted into “The Revenant”, that film has many parts of significance for Native Americans but I guess that’s the wrong kind of diversity. Then Tracy Morgan was inserted into “The Danish Girl” in a bit that reeked of transphobia. I’m sorry, but one kind of prejudice does not make up for another kind.

Another problem with the whole Oscars so white controversy is that it just plain isn’t true. Yes, the 20 acting nominees were all white but this is the Oscars, not the SAG awards. The Academy Awards focus on the best of film making both in front and behind the camera. If Hollywood actors themselves can’t get that then then I don’t know that they belong in the academy.  There were plenty of Oscars won by minorities last night. A Mexican won best Cinematography for the third year in a row.

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Two guys from Chile won Best Animated short film.

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Is that not diverse enough for you? Well, a Pakistani woman won Best Documentary short Subject.

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And for the fourth year in a row Best Director was won by a non-white man.

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If you want to talk about diversity let’s actually talk about diversity. Just because there were no black actors nominated doesn’t mean there wasn’t diversity.

Four more things before I get to the awards winner themselves. Five years ago there were no minorities nominated for acting Oscars but nobody threw a fit then. Why was that? I guess it’s because people decided that Javier Bardeem who was nominated for Best Actor for a film called “Biutiful” was a minority. But the thing is Javier Bardeem isn’t a minority. He is Spanish. He’s European. Just because the film was directed by a Mexican and the film was in Spanish doesn’t make Javier Latino. The fact that people think that Javier and Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas are Latino is disturbing. Also, Chris Rock made a joke about how white last year’s host Neil Patrick Harris is.

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As white as Neil Patrick Harris is he was also the first out gay man to host the Oscars. That was a big deal but again I guess diversity only counts if you’re African-American.

Then there was Chris Rock’s bit where he visited the movie theater in Compton to ask people about the Oscars. That whole thing was an exercise in celebrating ignorance. The fact that the people in that bit didn’t know what the well reviewed films of the year were is sad. May of the films nominated this year are about important historical events  and the fact that Chris Rock was celebrating the fact that the people in his bit didn’t know what they were isn’t funny, it’s sad and NOT okay….And the show was sloppy. There were many weird shots that cut to nothing. What was that about?

As for the winner themselves…I didn’t love “Mad Max: Fury Road” but I appreciate that it was good for what it was so I’m totally okay with the 6 Oscars it won.

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Although Alicia Vikander was in the wrong category she did deserve her expected win last night for Best Supporting Actress as did Brie Larson for Best Actress.

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I was fully expecting Sylvester Stallone to win. When Patricia Arquette said “Mark…” I let out a scream of delight because I thought Mark Rufallo had won but I didn’t wait for the last name and found myself feeling like a good when I realized it was Mark Rylance.

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Although I do think Sly gave the best performance of the batch I’m okay that he didn’t win. As good as he was that performance is culmination of having played Rocky Balboa six times before. If he had won would it have been for “Creed” or for seven times playing a beloved character over thirty nine years? And let’s get real. Sly is a bad actor who gave the performance of his life playing a character he knows inside and out. Did that really deserve an Oscar? I guess not. Mark Rylance’s win gave me when I had hoped for…a surprise. The awards had gotten to predictable the last few years and I wanted some surprises even if it meant the wrong person won.

Best Actor was expected. Although I did think Eddie Redmayne was better in “The Danish Girl” I was so very, very happy for Leonardo DiCaprio. I truly admire his choice to be an actor and not a movie star.

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To work on his craft instead of just a paycheck.  Best director was also expected and well deserved by Alejandro G. Inarritu  for “The Revenant”. The big shock came at the end when Spotlight won best picture. I really thought “The Revenant” was going to win so “Spotlight’s” win was both well-deserved but it was also the big surprise the Oscars have been missing in recent years.

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I hope that Hollywood does give more opportunities to minorities both in front of and behind the camera, not just so there can be more diversity but so we don’t have to waste our energy on another Oscars so white fake controversy.

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