Well, now we know why the Oscars are so irrelevant, so bland, so boring, so conventional. Because the Academy is comprised almost exclusively of white salted cackers. 

The LA Times culled the numbers in shocking infographics.

The numbers are appalling:

  • 94% white
  • 77% male
  • 2% black
  • Less than 2% Latino
  • 14% people under 50
  • Median age is 62 

The absence of women is appalling, the dearth of Blacks and Latinos is appalling, the dearth of young working talent is appalling. But while the dearth of people of color is somehow less surprising, I find the lack of women across most important categories (writer, director, producer, executive, cinematographer) absolutely dispiriting. How can we expect the Academy to have more minorities if they don’t even have women! It is very disappointing that an industry that makes so much money and has so much cultural influence throughout the world is so disgracefully behind the times.

That is why they vote for aberrations intended to make it look like the Academy is progressive, making matters even worse, because movies like Slumdog Millionaire and The Help are condescending heaps of false piety.

Bizarrely, not everybody who is nominated is automatically invited to become a member, which would make the most sense to me, unless the Academy aims to belong in the fossil wing of the Museum of Natural History.

To make matters worse, some important members have the nerve to disdain these findings. From a comment on Deadline Hollywood Daily:

From the article…”I don’t see any reason why the academy should represent the entire American population. That’s what the People’s Choice Awards are for,” said Pierson, who still serves on the board of governors. “We represent the professional filmmakers, and if that doesn’t reflect the general population, so be it.”

I completely agree. This is a group representing an industry. Who cares if it’s diverse?

Indeed, the Academy doesn’t have to mirror US demographics to a T, but what arrogance. This window into the make-up of the Academy simply reflects the reality of Hollywood as a whole. I find it very unfair and very sad, and quite alarming that instead of being jolted by it, they are defensive. This is the typical response of members of a boys’ club.

Now, the Academy is an invitation only club and they can have the rules they want. Or maybe not. But if they want to be relevant, and they want more ratings, and they actually want the Oscars to stand for something meaningful, it would behoove them to diversify. Bringing in James Franco and Anne Hathaway is bad cosmetic surgery, and obviously didn’t work. Have a younger, newer, more diverse membership with more adventurous tastes and a wider frame of reference. This may give comedies and independent films a better chance, which may bring a wider audience. In the end, even though the Oscars have always been nothing but a brazen PR stunt, it is in the interest of Hollywood to make people feel passion for movies. This is not going to happen if they keep creaking while the rest of the world zips ahead.

I’m already disenchanted with many of the nominees, the glaring omissions and the sinking feeling it’s going to be particularly gnarly his year. Billy Crystal? He’s funny, but we might as well hoof it to a crumbling hotel in the Catskills and call it a day.

I am going to shoot my TV if A Separation doesn’t win best foreign picture, and the politics here are complicated, in a field that has both a Holocaust movie and an Israeli movie, neither of which shines a candle to the Iranian film. (I’m writing a separate post on this complex issue).

If The Help wins, I might have to shoot innocent bystanders.