Potentially one of the most talked about awards ceremonies this year, the 88th annual Oscars certainly made the headlines.
Leo won his first award, much to the delight of the entire audience, and Spotlight well and truly grabbed everyone’s attention by winning numerous awards.
Meanwhile, others were nowhere to be seen despite their presence being very much felt.
For weeks leading up to Sunday’s ceremony a political dialogue has been underway between the organisers, the media, and various parties that feel badly represented. Among them, it has been noted that the Oscars lack both racial and sexual diversity.
Today Curva shifts the spotlight a little and considers how an event such as the Oscars can change the way society sees diversity on the red carpet. After eco warrior Livia Forth used her red carped appearances to make a political statement about green fashion, we ask what messages society reads in the stylised images of the celebrities photographed.
Are performers of all shapes, sizes and ethnicity represented in such highly documented events? Does diversity truly exist in the images we see splashed across our newspapers?
Following the Sun’s controversial feature which rated the cleavage of this year’s stand out stars, it is clear that to this day female actresses’s bodies are objectified and studied before their art. Furthermore, the lack of racial diversity has been cited by many as a further exemplar that our award ceremony society fails to judge the art forms in question objectively.
Among those who criticised the event and the apparent lack of ethnic and gender diversity were actress Jada Pinkett Smith and actor Spike Lee. Chris Rock also commented on the political issue that was inevitably raised at Sunday’s ceremony. He said, “You’re damn right Hollywood’s racist.”
Rock’s honest comments sparked a great deal of debate on Twitter with some suggesting the Oscars have become far too politicised. However, Michael Schulman for The New Yorker said, “This year will be remembered, rightly, for its thorny racial politics and for the way that Rock, probably as well as anyone could, held the industry to account on its biggest night.”
What is therefore clear is that change continues to be needed as the pain of the minorities in question demands to be acknowledged. The issue is larger than racial history or gender politics in the industry. Instead, the underlying problem is undoubtedly the impact that the ongoing debate will have on future generations.
Will Smith spoke to Good Morning America and said, “this is about children who are going to sit down and see this and they’re not going to see themselves represented.”
Undoubtedly, what Smith alludes to is the worrying lack of representation that permeates from the pages of our tabloids to the psyche of young minds. All of which leaves us questioning who represents us in the million dollar industry.
What it boils down to is ultimately opportunity. It is not a case of nominating a black actress or photographing a plus size celebrity on the red carpet just to tick the minority box and seem politically correct. Instead, it’s about considering everyone, appreciating the art for the art’s sake and establishing a message in society that teaches young children that everyone is acknowledged and heard.
Women should not be graded based on the greatness of their cleavage but the merit of their performance and art. Actors and actresses should not have to boycott an evening of celebration in order to make a political message.
However, things can only be considered positive as we publish this piece. If people are voicing their irritation at the current setup, things can only get better as change is undoubtedly the next step. Silenced minorities are always heard eventually.
Photographs courtesy of @theacademy via Instagram.