The definition of diversity is: quality of being different or varied; range of difference. Diversify: make diverse or varied.
I’ve taken a look at the last 10 or so years of the winners for Best Picture at the Oscars. If you are looking for diversity in just the African American community there are about 2 winners in the past 10 years. But diversity isn’t just about one group of people, race, gender, economic class, etc. It’s supposed to be about the representation of us all.
I’m going to go through some of the past winners so maybe you can understand what I’m trying to say.
2014- Birdman: Ok not really much diversity and I would’ve voted for Whiplash anyway.
2013- 12 Years A Slave: Beautiful, extremely well acted movie dealing with slavery and being a free man. So there is diversity.
2012- Argo- I’m not sure on this one. I’m thinking there was little diversity but I didn’t watch it so I can’t really say.
2011- The Artist- Even though a silent film you had French actors, American actors, and a dog.
2010- The King’s Speech- Great Britain and North Ireland were represented in the film along with people who have disabilities. Stuttering can be very traumatizing, it effects your entire life. I should know.
2009- The Hurt Locker- American Soldiers and the people of Iraq. Dealing with having compassion one minute and knowing those same people are part of a group trying to kill you. Two diverse groups.
2008- Slumdog Millionaire- the life of a Mumbai teen living in poverty who’s given a way out.
2007- No Country For Old Men- Ok I really didn’t see much diversity here except the strange casting of Javier Bardem.
2006- The Departed- The Irish Mafia in South Boston.
2004- Crash- Interweaving stories about race and class.
2004- Million Dollar Baby- The dream of a poor young woman trying to break her family’s cycle of having babies and living on welfare by becoming a boxer.
So, I don’t know about you but I see a lot of diversity in these films. Is there an overwhelming amount of African American actors in any of these films? No. That isn’t what diversity is. If you want more diversity in Hollywood films you have to want it for all people. That IS diversity.
Boycotting anything never works. It isn’t the most mature route you could take. It’s like stamping your foot and throwing a temper tantrum. Never works.
Working with and meeting with writer’s and the decision makers could be a better idea. Let’s face it, if there isn’t a decent script then there is no work to help diversify the industry. I have read so many books that could’ve been made into films for African American actors and done well that have been ignored. Take Delicious Foods by James Hannaham for example. I definitely see that as a film. The book was brilliant. I suspect as I am typing this that something is in the works already.
Personally I’m tired of the same old same old year after year. I only get excited when there is a Quentin Tarantino film or someone similar because at least you know he’ll take you for a crazy, unique, well acted, ride.
The problem is with the backers, writers, directors, studio heads, decision makers, etc. Let’s face it they run the show. If it isn’t greenlit by them it doesn’t get made. Boycotting the Oscar’s and showing disrespect to your peers isn’t going to change that.