Oscar Nominations: Why People Aren’t Shouting “Hooray for Hollywood”

THE COLOR PURPLE received 11 Oscar nominations but didn't win a single one.

THE COLOR PURPLE received 11 Oscar nominations but didn’t win a single one.

I thought I’d seen everything already in terms of Academy Awards and blatant discrimination against Blacks back in the 1980’s.

THE COLOR PURPLE was one of the best movies I’ve ever seen.  Its actresses, in particular, were spectacular: Whoopi Goldberg as the beleaguered Celie, Margaret Avery as the singer Shug, and Oprah Winfrey as the gutsy, take-no-prisoners Sophia.

I was delighted when the movie was nominated for 11 Oscars – and in shock when it didn’t win a single one.

Even that, however, wasn’t as ridiculous as what happened with this week’s announcement of the nominations, with regard to another fine movie, SELMA, about Martin Luther King’s march in Alabama.  SELMA, despite a fantastic ensemble cast, only received two nominations.  One was for Best Picture, at least.  The other one is for Best Song.

The members of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, I believe, does not nominate, let alone award, movie industry professionals based on talent, creativity, performance, etc.  No, I think it’s a lot more simplistic than that.

I think they vote for who gets awards in the same way that insular little brats in a high school choose their homecoming Kings and Queens: as a simple, old-fashioned, rather ridiculous popularity contest! This isn’t just noticeable in terms of African-American actors, either, though that doesn’t make leaving them out any less wrong.  Leaving them out is flat-out outrageous!  Yet I’ve noticed that movie folks who are newcomers, no matter what their ethnic background, don’t usually win on their first shot.  They might get it later, but usually, not sooner.  Sometimes a child might, such as the little girl who played in The Piano whose performance was so riveting. but it doesn’t happen too often with the adults.

I’m just glad I’m not a member of that Academy.  This week, of all weeks, if I were, I’d feel ashamed.

However, as the saying goes, “he who laughs last laughs best.”  David Oyelowo, who played Martin Luther King in SELMA, and Carmen Ejogo, who played his wife Coretta: as they used to say in Brooklyn when the Dodgers didn’t win the pennant, “Wait until next year!”  The day will dawn when you “go home with Oscar.”  I think it’s inevitable.  You’re both too talented for it not to happen, so by all means, keep the faith.  I’ll bet you ultimately get the statue – and the last laugh, too!

Egregiously overlooked: David Oyelowo and Carmen Ejogo in SELMA.

Egregiously overlooked: David Oyelowo and Carmen Ejogo as Martin Luther King and Coretta in SELMA.

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