It Could Be the Most Diverse Oscars Ever, but the Problem Isn’t Solved


Or check out BAFTA, which is believed to be the UK equivalent of the Oscars, and the group’s “longlists” for each category, released last week. Spike Lee’s Vietnam vet drama “Da 5 Bloods” landed on nine of those longlists – including best movie, script, and editor – but Lee was specifically excluded from the group of 20 filmmakers nominated for best director. (When BAFTA voters tried to send a message to Lee, did they realize that the rest of the world was BCC capable?)

One could even look back to the last year when Parasite made Oscar history as the first film not to win Best Picture in English, but did not receive a single nomination in the acting categories. Awkwafina and Zhao Shuzhen, who came from the critics’ favorite, “The Farewell,” were similarly verbally abused by the Academy, and these exclusions led E. Alex Jung of Vulture to write about “an old prejudice at work here who sees Asians as technical workers. ” . ”

Because of this, Jung felt that filmmakers like Bong Joon Ho and Ang Lee could win Oscars while the actors from their films were completely overlooked, and that’s why I wonder about the ultimate fate of the upcoming “Minari,” Lee Isaac Chung’s moving Family drama with Steven Yeun, Yeri Han and Yuh-Jung Youn. Although a Korean film has now won the best picture at the Oscars, no Korean or Korean-American actor has been nominated. Can the actors of “Minari” break these long-held prejudices?

Things looked more promising at the Independent Spirit Awards when “Minari” received three nominations and was also recognized in the categories of screenplay, director and best feature. At this ceremony, which will take place days before the Oscars in April, the feature and director categories will consist entirely of nominated films made by women and people of color.

But is that a roadmap for the academy as it adopts new diversity guidelines, or is it a reminder of the boundaries that have plagued this industry for far too long? To be eligible for the Independent Spirits, a film must be made for less than $ 22.5 million. During the awards season, directors from underrepresented groups rarely work with much more.

Zhao, King and Fennell may still make this year’s Oscar cast, but what will happen next year when even more expensive films like Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” come back into the fight? These films had the luxury of waiting the pandemic for a more favorable theatrical release, and the best directors category could easily revert to some sort of writer spectacle that men dominate and nominate.



Robert Dunfee