Very soon, the 89th Academy Awards will take place. In terms of headlines, the biggest news are the nominations, with the gigantic push towards minority actors in particular. In terms of above-the-line nominations, which include the acting, writing, and directing categories, as well as Best Picture, the likes of Ruth Negga, Denzel Washington, Dev Patel, Octavia Spencer, director Barry Jenkins ("Moonlight"), and writer Tarell Alvin McCraney, among others, had garnered Oscar nominations for their work. Better yet, films like "Fences", "Hidden Figures", "Lion", and "Moonlight" were given Best Picture nominations. This is important, as the Academy had gone two years in a row without any major nominations for minorities, leading to a massive social media boycott known for the label #OscarsSoWhite.
So this obviously means that the problems the Academy and Hollywood have to handle diversity-wise are officially over? Well, obviously no. While there's plenty to admire in terms of changes, Hollywood still has some issues they need to confront in terms of diversity.
While there are plenty of great films about the African-American experience, whether it be from actors in front of the camera, or from directors and writers behind the camera, it feels right at this point for Hollywood to finance, produce, or acquire films about the Asian-American or Hispanic-American experience. While Dev Patel and Lin-Manuel Miranda had garnered Oscar nominations this year, this quite frankly isn't enough. The 2010 US census revealed that around 5 percent of Americans are Asian and over 16 percent are Hispanic, but this is obviously from over seven years ago, meaning that there's definitely been an increase. Regardless, that's still a very sizable audience, and a decent pool of talent to find some quality actors, producers, writers, or directors to appear in some quality films. So if Hollywood wants to continue to push for more diversity and representation in Hollywood, as they rightfully should, maybe they should push for a few more.
Better yet, where on Earth are the women working behind the scenes? Of the top 250 films of last year, only a whopping 7 percent of directors were women, which even managed to go down from 2015's 9 percent. Even worse, including that, producers, executive producers, editors, writers, and cinematographers, women in general only made up 17 percent of behind the scene roles. Now this is excluding independent films, but it's still ludicrous to see half of the population not having major roles in the production of arguably America's most notable export. Again, if Hollywood wants to be more diverse, race isn't enough.
Now when I bring all of this up, I obviously don't want Caucasian directors, writers, and actors to stop making movies, nor do I want Hollywood to slow down on films featuring black actors, writers, or directors. And it's important to acknowledge that Hollywood is taking many important strides, with this year's nominations being solid proof of that. However, the race is still far from over, and hopefully the executives at Paramount and Universal will finally take the bait.