The New Yorker on the The Oscar Whiteness Machine

Richard Brody writing for the New Yorker:

"The underlying issue of the Academy’s failure to recognize black artists is the presumption that baseline experience is white experience and that black life is a niche phenomenon, life with an asterisk. Many of the great classic jazz and blues recordings were marketed as “race records.” To this day, the Academy proceeds as if movies about black experience were race movies. The result is that only narrow and fragmentary views of the lives of African-Americans ever make it to the screen—and I think that this is not an accident. If the stories were told—if the daily lives and inner lives, the fears and fantasies, the historical echoes and the anticipations of black Americans were as copiously unfolded in movies as are those of whites—then lots of white folks would be forced to confront their historical and contemporary shame. They’d no longer be able to claim ignorance of what they’d like not to know—which includes their own complicity in a rigged system."

Remember Cool Runnings? Certainly not Oscar worthy, but certainly proof 20+ years ago, that diversity can be sold universally. Fast forward to the commercial success of the Fast and Furious franchise and the recent record-breaking Star Wars film, and it's clear that films do fine-- lo they do better than fine-- with multi-racial casts... Which is why there should be more of them, allowing for more $$$ and more representation across all genres of features.

Such action will inevitably lead to more roles for actors (of all types) in more prestigious films. The idea that accident of birth is the hallmark of talent is absurd. Access to opportunity is all that's needed to for the talented to rise. A walled garden in this respect keeps the entire art of cinema from achieving it's most impressive and vibrant expression.