The recent Oscars issue is not about racism
Debate Rounds (5)
Racism - poor treatment of or violence against people because of their race
: the belief that some races of people are better than others
R1-Accept and intro
I will be arguing that the recent Oscars issue is in fact about racism towards black actors/actresses but not only at the Oscar nomination level, at the studio production level as well.
I appreciate the definition of racism, but I'm fairly certain I understand how to use a dictionary.
Shall we begin?
1. History. When looking at the history of the Oscars, whether nominations or winners, the Academy has not shown a continued nor deliberate effort to poorly treat, discriminate or wrongly single out black actors/actresses/producers/etc. (from this point forward I will use "cinema" to refer to all potential film positions). Black cinema has been rewarded with either nominations or wins on a number of occasions . Not only has black cinema been recognized but the Academy has even recognized films about the plight of black people, which some argue the Academy tries to steer clear of because of "white guilt." The mere recognition of black cinema shows that the Academy is not afraid to recognize black talent when recognition is due. Now, this does not prove that racism is not happening at all or in the 2016 Oscars issue, but it plants a seed of doubt. Based off of its history, the Academy has not turned away from recognizing great work done by black cinema. Could there have been more nominations? Maybe, but this hardly proves racism. If the Academy has not shown a racist practice, then it at least helps inform us, but not prove, that racism is not happening in the 2016 Oscars issue. To address that I go to my next point.
2. The probability of racism. The Academy is made up of roughly 7,000 voters and 51 governors. In order to be invited into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the "Academy") you must be invited by the governors. There are 17 branches of the Academy, like an actors branch or a directors branch, and only the actors branch nominates actors, directors nominate directors, etc., but all vote on best picture . When voting is done it is anonymous and now done through an online system . Now, what is important is that there is no collaborative effort on behalf of, let"s say for example, the actors branch to get together and not nominate a white actor. Now one knows whom the other is voting for, as this would undermine the voting process. Regarding the 2016 Oscars, to then say that hundreds of actors, who vote anonymously, hold racist views towards black actors and purposefully vote that way so no black actor is nominated, without collaborating with each other, has a probability of zero. It would take a well planned effort to make sure that no black actors are nominated. It takes an even bigger leap to say that this happens with the Best Picture nominees as all roughly 7,000 members are voting. Simply because Straight Outta Compton was not nominated does not mean that 7,000 voters are racist, but they simply voted for something they felt was better. To claim racism among 7,000 voters and this is why is was not chosen is improbable. Not only that, but Hollywood is notoriously known for being liberal and progressive, which does not traditionally take kindly to racism . It is hard to believe that through the voting process most voters have an objective bias set to racism towards black cinema.
3. Logic. Finally, what is more logical? Based off of the previous points, what is more likely, that this is about racism or something else? In order for this to be racism, the purposeful poor treatment, discrimination, and prejudice, etc., of black cinema in the 2016 Oscars, it would seemingly have to go against the tide of the history of the Academy and take a giant effort through the anonymous voting system to have the results come out with black cinema purposefully not being recognized. Neither seems likely and thus something else, and not racism, is the more logical choice.
1. Discrimination of Minorities in Hollywood
We'll begin dissecting the film industry from the top down, starting with the decision makers of the top six companies in Hollywood. Time Warner, The Walt Disney Company, Comcast, Sony, 21st Century Fox, and Viacom. Out of all of those companies, only one has an executive position held by a minority[1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Now, just that all executive positions that hold any creative value in these "Big 6" are held by whites doesn"t mean that Hollywood is racist. That itself would be racist! But adding the factor of China to this lack of black leadership can paint a darker picture (pun intended).
China has become the second largest film market in the world behind USA and is projected to become even more prominent in the production of film. Hollywood has already begun accommodating towards this new market by changing the storylines, settings, and characters of multiple movies. World War Z"s original script stated China as the origin for the virus outbreak. This was censored as to not make the impression that China is an unclean country. The antagonists of the Red Dawn remake were originally going to be Chinese, but were changed to North Korean so that China wouldn"t seem like a threat to the American people You may ask how this relates to racism in the film industry, and to you I present the Chinese version of the newest Star Wars poster. A blatant attempt to minimize a main character who happens to be black. Unfortunately, China doesn"t want to see films with black characters in them, and since China has it"s censorship-claws in the backs of Hollywood it"s obvious that no film with a predominantly black cast will get an international release. If a film doesn"t get an international release, then that means a confirmed drop in box office profit, and a drop in box office profit means a much smaller budget. Thus, with a smaller budget you get lower caliber actors, directors, producers, and special effects. Logically, this will conclude in overall lackluster films and thus less Oscar nominations for films with prominent black characters.
2. Eligible Films without Nominations
When Pro stated "Simply because Straight Outta Compton was not nominated does not mean that 7,000 voters are racist, but they simply voted for something they felt was better." he is ignoring the three other films that featured prominent black characters. Chi-Raq, a drama/musical rated by The Guardian as a 5/5 and an 82% on Rotten Tomatoes, Beasts of No Nation, a war drama rated by Rotten Tomatoes with a 91%, and Creed, a drama/sport film rated a 94% by Rotten Tomatoes and an 82% on Metacritic. [9, 10, 11] To say that Straight Outta Compton is the only excellent film with a black cast that wasn"t nominated this year is an absolute understatement. So that"s three films that were received very well critically, yet were not nominated. May I also mention that there can be ten nominations each year  and only eight films were nominated for Best Picture. So how is it that there were these three films with black actors that were critically acclaimed yet two nominations weren"t used? Wouldn"t it make sense to at least nominate two of those films? You may say that this is because these films weren"t as popular as others, but wouldn"t that be because of a lack of budget? Out of those three, Creed is the only film that had any significant advertisements and that"s purely because it"s the sequel to the ever-popular Rocky series.
It seems to me that the most logical reason for the lack of Oscar nominations this year is because of race. Otherwise, I don"t understand why the Oscars wouldn"t nominate Chi-Raq, Beasts of No Nation, or Creed to fill their maximum of ten nominations. I would also state that because of the growth of China"s worldwide box office share that black actors and films have and will become less popular internationally as time goes on.
1. Your critique of China does not show racism in regards to this year"s Oscars. Simply because China changed the poster "might" suggest racism on the part of those in power of what films are allowed to be seen in China, but it does not say anything about Hollywood. Even if China is a large market, there are many more international markets where Hollywood black films are seen (here is an example of the international release dates and locations for Straight Outta Compton ). It"s China"s problem if they don"t want to see films with black people in them and your statement, ""and since China has it"s censorship-claws in the backs of Hollywood it"s obvious that no film with a predominantly black cast will get an international release," is unfounded. You do not prove that "China has its censorship claws in the backs of Hollywood," but it is also not obvious that "no film with a predominately black cast will get an international release," as my example of Straight Outta Compton shows. Yes, there are other examples of black cinema not nominated in this year"s Oscars but my example proves the point, a predominately black cast can get an international release. Even if black film doesn"t get the international release, your scenario of, "If a film doesn"t get an international release, then that means a confirmed drop in box office profit, and a drop in box office profit means a much smaller budget. Thus, with a smaller budget you get lower caliber actors, directors, producers, and special effects. Logically, this will conclude in overall lackluster films and thus less Oscar nominations for films with prominent black characters," is not true. There are many examples of low budget films that not only were nominated for Oscars but also won . Clearly, from these examples, you don"t have to have a big budget to have good acting and an overall Oscar worthy film. To say that some black films were not nominated because they were low budget is unfounded and does not even prove racism.
2. I was not ignoring the other black cinema that was not nominated, as you claim, but merely providing one example because only one example is needed for the point. I also did not say, "To say that Straight Outta Compton is the only excellent film with a black cast that wasn"t nominated this year is an absolute understatement." Merely providing it as an example is in no way saying it was the only excellent film with a black cast. You name two others black films but don"t address my point, which was, how could 7,000 voters without collaborating, vote in a racist way? It does not matter that only 8 nominations out of 10 were given and there could be other reasons for why that was done, it still does not prove racism.
In my opinion, none of the positions you have taken prove racism is happening in this year"s Oscar"s issue. I still believe that the history of the Academy shows a recognition of black cinema when it is warranted. They have not avoided black cinema but awarded it. Could it have been done more? Maybe, but again, they have not failed to recognize it. Also, my question still stands. How do 7,000 voters, without collaborating, carry out racism? It seems impossible to me, which is why I believe something besides racism is happening here.
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by lannan13 8 months ago
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