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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


And the Oscar goes to…the people

Another year, another Academy Awards in the books. Another year and another four-hour  wait to see the only award you care about. Another year and another loss for Leonardo Di… Wait!

This year’s Academy Awards, or Oscars, proved to be both interesting and incredibly off-base; it was racially divided and incredibly self-aware. It was a lot of things, but perhaps melodramatic describes it best.

The leading headlines going into this year’s Oscars mostly included “Where are all the minority nominees!?” Well, black nominees. There are always minorities involved, but not the ones this country cares about. “Oscars So White” was a hashtag. Black Lives Matter took over the protests. Even Al Sharpton got in on the action, saying, “This will be the last all-white Oscars!”

According to The International Business Times, there are over 7,000 members in the governing body of The Academy Awards. Presumably all of these people vote for who they believe should be nominated and eventually win the category.

Who are these 7,000 people? Mostly rich, old white men. Approximately 94 percent of all voters are white and 76 percent are males, according to The Atlantic. Now, if that doesn’t scream America, I don’t know what does.

But while racial tension defined this year’s Oscars, viewers were again left without a say in who brought home the mysteriously coveted prize of the Academy Awards.

The Oscars’ ratings dropped to an eight-year low, with only 23.1 percent of households with a TV watching, according to Deadline.

The Oscars have become the gold standard of movie awards. People love to discuss who won, why they won and who should have won. The real question should be, If the Oscars are the be-all-end-all of the movie business, why aren’t the fans voting for best movie? And if we don’t get to, why is the makeup of those who do 94 percent white?

At least attempt diversity. Go for like 65 percent white, 12 percent black and 12 percent Latino. At least at that point, you’ve hit the racial makeup of America and you’ll still be old, rich and white!

Like I said, the viewers made the Oscars. We put it on a pedestal and said “This is the best we got.” Who knows why. Maybe because it was the only thing at the time or maybe money bought the TV rights which made it popular. Either way, the real vote should be in the hands of the viewer and it’s not.

The key example of why the system should be changed is “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” If box office numbers are any indication, it was the best movie of the year. It wasn’t even close actually. “Star Wars” made over $2 billion while the next closest movie made only $1.6 billion. In fact, four of the top five grossing movies didn’t even get nominated for anything even though they all pulled in a billion dollars or more of revenue.

That level of discrepancy between the viewer and the reviewer is the definition of broken.

This is not to say that having The Academy pick nominees for certain categories is a bad idea. There is a reason we don’t just let the popular vote pick everything in our country. Let the The Academy pick best documentary or best cinematography, but viewers need to pick the best actors, movies and directors.

That’s fair, right? America picks the president and the president picks his cabinet. The viewers pick their movie and the movie-makers pick their favorite specialists.

Whether it is because this year’s Oscars didn’t nominate any black people or because this year’s Oscars didn’t do a good job representing the population, The Academy has a horrible identity problem. They are an organization with a ’50s environment that is, for some reason, accepted in the modern age.


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