Photo by Byseyhania under Creative Commons license.
Most people probably remember the accusations last year. There was a significant outcry from the American public about the alleged “whitewashing” of the 2016 Oscars. We aren’t really seeing that type of backlash in the weeks after the 2017 awards. This was probably due to a few things. First, the press and social media seem to have an unusually high amount of distractions this year.
Twitter and Facebook are still seething with election rants – fueled by celebrity comments like host Jimmy Kimmel’s zinger, “I want to say thank you to President Trump. Remember last year when the Oscars were racist? That’s gone, thanks to him.”
The mix-up of the best picture award also consumed a significant proportion of press and twitter quips. Mlive.com reported some of the more memorable tweets about the Oscar gaffe.
@kibblesmith tweeted, “Hey ‘La La Land,’ remember when you have us that fake happy ending and then took it away… How’s it feel?”
@billyeichner tweeted, “If anyone from the in memorial is still alive, please let us know”
@sethmacfarlane tweeted, “You know what the problem is… millions of Academy members voted illegally”
With all of this going on, how could shouts of racism possibly make the front page?
The other reason for the absence of racism accusations was that the stage was not filled with white folks. Probably the best example of this was when ‘La La Land,’ a predominately Caucasian group yielded the stage to ‘Moonlight,’ a predominately African American group.
When we look at the categories: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress, we find a huge difference between this year and last year. In 2016, these four categories had a total of 20 white nominees and zero black nominees in 2016. This year, there were 14 white nominees and six black nominees.
Obviously, there is not going to be as much of an outcry if the invitations are going out to races in a more proportional manner.
To be sure, people can still pick things to complain about the 2017 Oscars. CountingWomanArts twitter account noted that not a single woman has been nominated for best director in the past eight years.
One could probably argue that Caucasian women received preferential treatment over African American women as Caucasians received the majority (four out of five) Best Actress nominations while African Americans received the majority of Best Supporting Actress nominations (three out of five).
Someone somewhere is probably arguing that some degree of reverse discrimination occurred in the 2017 Oscars because of the 2016 outcry – in an effort to maintain good publicity.
The Oscars is always going to be yelled at for something and be accused of the vilest atrocities by someone sitting behind a computer. In 2016, it was racism. In 2017, it was logistical and technical failure. Seems to be a good trend.