Diversity in Hollywood: authentic or not?

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Photo by Erik Witsoe on Unsplash

After a fantastic and diverse representation of Hollywood during the award season of 2018, the Hollywood Foreign Press and The Academy have spent the last two years tearing away at the progress made after “Moonlight” won Best Picture. 

Before delving into this year’s winners, it’s important to note the unfortunate events of last year’s show. It is my belief that “Green Book,” the winner of many awards during last year’s award season, appears to be more progressive than it actually is. The movie’s plot centers around a black man, yet the black man that played the role won for the supporting actor category. And when you see the producers walk on stage to accept the award, it’s all white producers. 

“Green Book” isn’t the only movie in Hollywood to demonstrate this problem. For example, William Jewell College students who read “Writing Beyond Race” by Bell Hooks while taking Identity and Society know that “The Help” is a racist movie with a progressive glamour. 

“The Academy wants us to believe that racism no longer exists,” said Joseph Harker of The Guardian.

At the time this is being written, the Oscar’s haven’t happened yet, but the Golden Globes are a good indication of what’s to come. Out of every acting category available, only one person representing a minority is nominated, being Cynthia Erivo for her work in “Harriet,” a movie snubbed for Best Picture consideration and instead replaced by “The Two Popes,” a movie that no one has heard of and no one cares about. 

However, it is so refreshing to see a healthy amount of Asian representation this time around. I feel like a lot of people think when they hear lack of representation they feel like there’s not enough African American’s nominated, neglecting the Latino and Asian communities. Awkwafina won the Golden Globe for her performance in “The Farewell,” and “Parasite” became the first ever foreign film to be nominated for Best Picture – but this was the only award the film won. 

Another important aspect of this year’s award season is the fact that two of the Best Picture nominees came from streaming services – “Marriage Story” and “The Irishman.” This goes to show that Netflix is clearly not as slowed down by Disney Plus as everyone thought, and the hierarchy of Hollywood isn’t placed. Many established producers and directors are reluctant to recognize streaming originals as legitimate nominees due to the fact that they were never shown in a theatre, but how can you watch “The Irishman” and not think it deserves the Best Picture award? Not going to lie, “Marriage Story” is a little overrated, but that’s a whole different column.

It’s hard to say what people should do at this point to fight for representation. Two years ago we all believed that things were heading in the right direction. “Moonlight” was a movie that featured an all black cast, and shocked the world by winning  Best Picture at the Golden Globes and Academy Awards. Hollywood has seemingly reverted back to their old ways despite a bright future just a couple years ago. We’ve expressed all of our opinions about this on Twitter, but what can we do to actually take action?

Trent Brink

Trent Brink is the page editor for Sports on The Hilltop Monitor. He is a sophomore majoring in business administration.

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