Motion picture awards praise inclusivity

Golden Globes and Oscars use diversity as justification for unworthy nominees


Ethan Nguyen

Golden Globes co-hosts, Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg, preach the need for more diversity in gender and race in the film industry. (photos used with permission from Golden Globes)

Ethan Nguyen, Online editor-in-chief

Inclusivity was a major theme in this year’s motion picture awards as stated by comedian Andy Samberg, a host of the Golden Globes, praised the diversity of the films that were nominated.

Samberg singled out films such as Crazy Rich Asians and Black Panther. Samberg also said that these films are here because they told stories that resonated with everyone. However, the Academy shouldn’t award films for participation in culture fads, films should be rewarded in consideration of its close attention to detail and imagery, the actor’s ability to convey genuine emotion and elicit a reaction from the audience and the movie’s overall cohesiveness. It should be about the work, not just what color, gender or culture a person is.

At the Golden Globes, Black Panther stood next to BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, Star Is Born, A and If Beale Street Could Talk for Best Motion Picture – Drama.

Though Black Panther was a big hit and became one of the highest grossing movies of all time, it did not deserve a spot next to other heart-aching productions. The fictional peril of the state of Wakanda, a technologically advanced African nation, seems to reach the hearts of many as if it is a real issue that impacts people’s lives. It is hardly a metaphor for issues that are occurrent today.

Although nitpicking the fact that Black Panther as a nominee for Best Motion Picture – Drama is seemingly childish, the nomination was kind of a joke. The nominations for a prestigious award require a careful deliberation rather than a move to side with the hype. The hype is around a superhero movie that hardly brings up the issue of the under-representation of black people.

Its contenders tend to follow stories of individuals that have contested the social norms to be a pioneer for others to gain a fresh perspective on the issue.

The feature film awarded with the best drama motion picture, Bohemian Rhapsody, is an autobiographical film on British rockstar, Freddie Mercury, that delves into the struggles of his sexuality present during his stardom.

A Star is Born is a complex journey between two lovers, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, that depicts the beauty and heartbreak of a relationship struggling to survive.

Also, a timeless and moving love story of both a couple’s unbreakable bond, If Beale Street Could Talk, emphasizes African-American family’s empowering embrace and a racially biased world.

Lastly, BlacKkKlansman is a unique adventure, directed by Spike Lee, to take down an infamous extremist hate group and reveal its violent rhetoric.

The Oscar nominations for Black Panther fairly recognize Ryan Coogler’s film for Best Costume Design and Best Original Score. The movie undoubtedly incited the conversation of empowerment for people of color, and it deserves acknowledgment that the media provided.

On the other hand, the director of Marvel film, Ryan Coogler, stated in an interview with Rolling Stone that he wanted to tell epic stories, stories that felt big and fantastic.

“I liked that feeling as an audience member when it felt like I went on a flight and felt out of breath and I couldn’t stop thinking about it days later. I wanted to make stuff that gave people that feeling – but I wanted to do it for people who look like me and people I grew up with.”

Coogler was not concerned about inclusivity and representation in Hollywood, he wanted to express his culture, not for anyone else, but for himself and to explore the idea of what it means to be African. He wishes for people to accept themselves for who they are which doesn’t mean that he wants others to accept who he is. He doesn’t care, neither should anyone else.

However, the film on its own was not to the caliber of other Hollywood hits in terms of the illustration of theatrics and feeling. It should be known that the majority of superhero movies shouldn’t be nominated for the top award of the night. Many superhero movie fans are upset with the lack of recognition that Marvel and DC films get.

However the Oscars aren’t about most grossing films or even most popular films. The main principle of the Oscars are to praise the science behind a film’s cinematography and film making.

For Coogler’s film to be nominated for the most distinguished academy award of the night is shocking. Although Black Panther is a victory for the culture against racism, it is not up to par with previous academy award winners.