Black-washed Oscars?

I know some of what I’m going to say will offend some people, so hang on to your socks, but what really has been rubbing me the wrong way this awards season is this discussion about colored people getting snubbed, as they say. Why does it bother me? I need to explain a bit.

Is it unfair that certain groups always seem to be shut out? No doubt. Could there be inherent discrimination and racism issues? No doubt about that, too. However, the simple fact is, that there are only so and so many Oscar statues, Grammys, Tonys or whatever. Someone always gets shafted, but I honestly fail to see the point of all the fuss about it.

Awards are always arbitrary, no matter how you spin it and where does it say that the Oscar jury would pick different movies, if more women, more blacks, Hispanics, American natives and so on would be part of it? That is at least a bit doubtful, because someone nominated to be a judge would be expected to be “objective” and have the knowledge, education and experience to tell a bad movie from a good one, not to nominate the bad movie just because it has a black actor.

That line of reasoning could be extended to the horizon, but ultimately the fact remains: You don’t get bonus points because you’re different or “special”. Not black actors, not women, not gay people, not transgenders. You also have to consider the future: A few years down the road what will happen when China and India are perhaps bigger movie markets than the US and Europe combined? Will we have the same tiresome debates then?

Again, that is not to say that things couldn’t be better, but the flaw is inherent in the system. It often reminds me about those discussions about female quota for leadership circles and engineering professions we have here in Germany: Where are those supposed to come from, when only a certain percentage of women actually picks up such a career? These things simply take time and depend on other factors than someone’s wishful thinking and hastily crafted legislation.

So ultimately, and I guess that’s my point, why can’t I just have one simple enjoyable evening watching the Oscars instead of having racial issues, equal pay debates, sexual assault and environmental issues stuffed down my ears? Isn’t that a bit like watching a Cirque du Soleil show and the performers dressed as all kinds of creatures complaining about animal rights issues and ruining everyone’s evening? In that regard this year’s Oscars were an epic fail…

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