Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Oscars: Everyone Is Looking for a Fight in the Wrong Place– Spike Lee, Linda Perry, Etc


The next controversy in Oscar land is going to be the revelation that Ridley Scott didn’t shoot “The Martian” in outer space, but on a soundstage.

First, Spike Lee says even though he’s received an honorary Oscar in the last two months, he’s not coming to the ceremony. It’s a protest against the all-white actor nominations even though the head of the Academy is black, the producer of the show is black, and the host is black.

Then Jada Pinkett is upset because her husband, Will Smith, wasn’t nominated. She won’t come either.

Linda Perry, a really great songwriter, says Diane Warren, an Oscar nominated songwriter, is shilling for Lady Gaga, who shouldn’t be nominated as Warren’s co-writer because she didn’t help write the song they’re nominated for.

The New York Daily News is quoting an anonymous source at a junk website saying Chris Rock is being pressured to drop out of his role as Oscar host.

What’s next? The bear from The Revenant is hiring lawyers for something. You can feel it.

I’m sorry about Spike. He’s such a great filmmaker. He’s a trailblazer. His presence at the Oscars is a big deal. Not being there hurts everyone. I know why Jada is upset. Her video on Facebook is very accurate. We don’t have to take it, she says.

I don’t know Linda Perry got into her thing. Diane Warren and Lady Gaga’s song is great. They wrote it, produced it, it’s theirs. It should win.

The Daily News? They’re barely in business. No one knows what is going on there.

You cannot blame the Academy or the Oscars for the lack of black nominees. They do not make the movies. The filmmakers, studios, producers, and directors make the movies. They decide who gets in the movies. At that level, the implicit racism is systemic and chronic.

I can name you 100 good black actors under the age of 50 who could have been cast in roles in movies like The Big Short, Concussion, Spotlight, The Revenant, or a dozen other films including comedies, drama, and action films. Why is every major studio film all white? Or have one token character? That’s what should be addressed. It’s perplexing to me that theater can cast multi-racial but film does not. Why aren’t films integrated? Why is it only a “black film” that will produce nominees?

My one real regret this season is that “Straight Outta Compton” wasn’t nominated for Best Picture, F. Gary Gray for Best Director, and Jason Mitchell for Best Supporting Actor. Something didn’t translate in their campaigns. I attended a lunch in New York for “SOC” that was amazing. Mitchell wasn’t there, but Gray was, and so was O’Shea Jackson Jr. The only problem was, it was late already in the process. Had it been a month earlier, there might have been momentum. I don’t know what happened on the west coast. But I do know overall, I never got any sense of a push out of the gate for Mitchell. I wish there’d been one.

The awards shows do gravitate for “brand names.” The self appointed Oscar prognosticators on the various sites put up names of “stars” long before their movies are seen, good or bad. Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence were alreayd on those damn lists and no one knew if they deserved it. It was just ‘assumed.’ That doesn’t give newcomers like Mitchell, or Michael B. Jordan, much of a chance. The #Oscarsowhite issues are rooted in lots of places that feed the Oscars. By the time the ballots are sent out, the trouble is already there. The Academy can’t do much about that.

Let’s hope this coming season we see some real changes.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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