Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Hey, Hey, Stop the Bus!

Image Description: An Oscar statuette.

I love the movies.

Joe and I go to a movie nearly every weekend. I spend time reading up on what's coming out and, I'll admit, about the stars and about casting for movies and about controversies that erupt, from time to time, about the script or the approach to the script. I love that stuff. It's a real diversion for me.

And the Oscars?

I wait, eagerly, with my own list of who I think should be nominated clutched in my hand, for the announcement of the nominations. I like this stuff.

It was impossible not to notice, again this year, that the nominations were very, very white. I was both angered and disappointed. I knew immediately that I simply couldn't watch the show, which I love doing, because Oscar is supposed to be about acheivement not about race. Shit.

I was glad that the controversy this year is louder and clearer and more people are making their voices clearly heard.


In response to this, Cheryl Boone Issacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released a statement in which she talks about diversity in the movies. She said: In 2016, the mandate is inclusion in all of its facets: gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation.

Do you notice who's not on the diversity bus?

Do you notice who's almost never on the diversity bus?

While I acknowledge the importance of what she said for other minorities, I am enraged that the cultural exclusion of people with disabilities continues to be acceptable. It's not even worth a mention that people with disabilities are so despised by Hollywood that we aren't even hired to play ourselves!! We have issues to.

But inclusion isn't us.

But diversity isn't us.

Our voices aren't welcome at the table.

But maybe they don't hire us, or tell stories about us, because they don't want to have to ramp the stage.

Maybe that's it.


Jenni said...

That's exactly what I noticed too.

Compare her comments to a speech given by Idris Elba to the UK parliament on the same issue this week:

clairesmum said...

I'm afraid the superficiality of American entertainment has a long long way to go to be truly reflective of the all of the people on the planet! Old people don't get many roles, and if they do it is usually stereotypical (sweet granny, cranky grandpa, or bravely facing early dementia). And the actors playing 'old people' very rarely appear old - Maggie Smith on Downton Abbey is an exception, and that's a BBC production. I'm not much of a TV or movie fan, so wasn't really aware of all the issues. I only know about the aging issues as I work with elders.
Yesterday's post left me feeling so hopeful for the world....this one reminds me we still have miles to go......

Anonymous said...

Still have miles to go but thing could switch quick, it's fantastic to see trans actors in popular TV shows who are (relatively) well known. I see several documentary style shows about people with DS now, can't wait to get to see 'born this way' in the uk.
I'm thinking about Kathleen Turner, 'I want to keep acting and I want to keep on being an activist.' Hmmm.....

Andrea S. said...

The #OscarsSoWhite hashtag was created in Twitter to talk about how white the Oscar nominations were this year. But I would estimate that more than half the people using that hashtag are criticizing the whole idea that anyone should care about diversity in the Oscar awards. There are people in the hashtag accusing those of us who want to see better representation for people of color for being racist because we have dared mention the topic of race.

Given that so many people seem so ready to mock diversity proponents even for something like race where we supposedly have more support (at least the issue of racial diversity is VISIBLE!) I am, unfortunately, pessimistic about the odds of getting traction any time soon on the issue of visibility for disabled actors.

But for the valiant few trying to discuss exactly that issue, there is the hashtag #OscarDISs (not sure how that one was created).

I have not yet checked either hashtag in Facebook.