"If you want to end racism, stop making everything about race."
- Morgan Freeman
Whenever a person hijacks a cause to promote one's personal agenda, the cause suffers. And that's exactly what is happening with the Oscars. The Academy, as we all know by now, is white, old and elite for the most part. So, the charges of racism against it ain't a surprise news. But over the years, there have been more than enough instances that proves things are changing. One can't measure the rate of the paradigm shift simply because Oscar isn't a race where film personalities run and win. It's a very complex process. The mechanism is so tiring that a lot of the films (some very deserving) give up even before the nominations are announced. Speaking of which, it's ridiculous of the Smith family to spiel just because Will Smith's work didn't get recognized by the Oscars. So much so they have decided to boycott the annual ceremony next month.
Let's take a step back and see where they are going with this.
If these black powerful personalities didn't have their skins in the game, they would have been far more believable. Presently, their attitude comes across as that of a sore loser. They conveniently forget that the 21st century has been starkly different when compared to the previous one. In the past 15 years, we saw how the so-called minorities from the world of entertainment made their presence felt. When they do that, too much credit is bestowed upon their talents while not enough shoutout is given to the industry. On the contrary, the entire industry—Hollywood in the aforementioned scenario—comes under the radar of unfairness when the racism card is flashed. What Will's move does is it weakens the case of those black actors who are going to be awesome and shall deserve recognition in the future. If a black actor wins an Oscar next year, murmurs will be in the air on how s/he got it just because the Academy didn't wish to be the villain anymore. The whole merit on which an award (big or small) is supposed to be based on will be eroded.
And for what?
Just because Will Smith and his wife thought he did a splendid job in Concussion (2015)?
Guess what, all the five actors who got the nod this year were superb. Eddie Redmayne just pushed the threshold of identity in The Danish Girl. Michael Fassbender did to Steve Jobs what Forest Whitaker did to Idi Amin and Jamie Foxx did to Charles Ray. Bryan Cranston brought Dalton Trumbo back to life and it's a shame that his film earned only one nomination. If one excuses his aversion to lose weight for the role (you can clearly see that the thin body double wasn't convincing enough), Matt Damon owned Mars. Lastly, Leonardo DiCaprio did everything humanly possible to earn his nomination. So, if Will thinks that he should be guaranteed nomination every single time he chooses a non-blockbuster film, then he's sorely mistaken. Maybe he needs to accept that his colleagues were better. Or that the jury on nominations is as democratic as it's private. It's not answerable to anyone. Not even to him no matter whether he thinks he was extremely awesome in Concussion. Also, if he doesn't wish to be a part of the circus, kindly leave but try not to make it a race issue. Because that issue is much bigger than his million dollar cheques.
Leonardo DiCaprio is white.
The Academy has ignored for over two decades now.
He goes back and works harder.
Wolf-crying racism ain't his style.
Will, learn something from him.
Be like Leo.