Opinion: And the Oscar goes to…

Mike Richards is a senior English major and a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]

Mike Richards

In what has become a rather touchy subject in the world of Hollywood, The Academy Award nominations were revealed last Thursday.

To the dismay of most, it became immediately and shockingly apparent that all 20 nominations are white. This lead to much outrage, including on Twitter with the hashtag, “#OscarsSoWhite.”

Now, I’m for one rather upset with the nominations this year for enumerable reasons, which include: Where was the nomination for “The Lego Movie?” Where was the nomination for Jake Gyllenhaal and “Nightcrawler?” @here was Gillian Flynn’s nomination for “Gone Girl,” and I repeat, where was the nomination for “The Lego Movie?”

Above all, there is a grand diversity problem amidst the Academy and its voting. “Selma” was understatedly robbed, with David Oyelowo and Ava DuVernay not receiving a Best Actor and Best Director nods respectively.

Let’s begin in two places where this may have gone awry:

First off, let’s look at the demographic of the Academy. The voters are 94 percent white, 76 percent men and an average of 63 years old. Now, does it need to be said that by merely looking at these numbers that it already appears fairly biased? If the Academy voters weren’t diverse, what would make any of their decisions adhere to diversity standards?

Now, if you took a bunch of middle-aged white men and asked them if they enjoyed “American Sniper” more than “Selma,” you’re damn certain you know what the majority would say. It’s like asking a bunch of freshman sorority girls if they enjoy caramel frappuccinos more than black coffee. 

Before I jump into the crevasse, let’s stretch out to the other issue, which is how the voting itself works. Now, I won’t have time to tell you all the methods behind it, so I recommend looking online if it becomes confusing at all, but here we go.

Basically, as an example, let’s take 10 movies in which you are asked to rank them from 1 to 10 based on how you like them. Now, let’s make this more complicated and add in 100+ voters. Once these are collected, each rank is given a “point” depending on how it ranks. These points are added up and thus become the official ranking.

Can you see where this is in a sense flawed?

A movie could rank in the top half for most, but be at the bottom for a few more, and not make the cut due to the point dispersion. I may be decent at math and may also be a huge film fanatic, and I hope you see why this frustrates me to no end.

Taking the lack of diversity with the voters and how complicated their system of voting is, it’s no surprise to me that anything gets snubbed while some movies receive “universal” praise.

Until that system can be adjusted, there will be controversy each and every year.

Nonetheless, I’ll end on a light note. I loved “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “Birdman” and believe they deserve their recognitions as great films. “Boyhood” should win best movie because it tore my childhood apart in the most beautiful fashion. I’m still excited, as there were many great films to come out this past year, although some did not receive the credit they deserved.