Hollywood PR firms trying to promote the Academy Awards gained little traction with news stories. The goal was to create controversy about the “lack” of minorities in movies to get the publics’ attention and viewership for The Oscars®. Additional promotions suggested that host Chris Rock would stick it to the system during the show’s opening. However, few people jumped on the bandwagon when it comes to social media.
The lack of attention might be due to the fact that Hollywood employs a lot of minorities. The employment happens to be within 10% of the actual population demographics. The only outlier in the attempted controversy was from the LGBT community that demanded that 20% of people hired should be LGBT, while about 2% of the population is actually LGBT.
This push by LGBT was most likely made as an attempt to take advantage of surveys that show the majority of Americans think LGBT makes up 22% of the population due to its power over the media. However, liberal universities have conducted surveys that show the number to be as high as 3.8%, while conservative universities have survey results at 0.6%. The latest governmental released data has LGBT at 1.8% of the population.
The numbers aren’t the only factor. The actors all agree that they vote based on performance not skin color. Many of the minorities who have already won Oscars® say that theirs was earned from their peers and it wasn’t a political gift. Other actors confirm that sentiment and are concerned that changing the landscape to increase the number of minorities being nominated will shift the award from representing the best to balancing races by awarding lessor performances.
Will Smith was one actor who didn’t win an Oscar®, but he wasn’t able to complain because he lost to Denzel Washington. Smith is enjoyed by many fans, but most would say that no matter how much they appreciate his work, Washington truly delivers award-winning performances in the majority of his films.
Unfortunately, the President of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, a black woman, saw fit to use the controversy to change the rules. Within a week of the story hitting, the Academy with over 6,000 members stopped all of the older experts in the craft from voting. These are people that made the craft what it is today and they are no longer “qualified” to say which performances were the best.
At the same time, the Academy invited hundreds of minorities with little film experience to join. This move watered down the number of voters who understand what makes for great performances and increased the number of ignorant newbies with voting privileges. One person estimated that there is now about a 30% greater chance that bad performers will be nominated next year.
In the past, people were invited into the academy once they had mastered their craft to the point of notoriety. Now, individuals who haven’t yet mastered their craft are members because of their skin color. The voting landscape is now about politics, popularity and leverage. I’d prefer to learn who the masters think have earned the right to be called the best.