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PostPosted: 23 Jan 2015, 05:48 
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PostPosted: 03 Feb 2015, 00:59 
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I'm opening this up again due to David Oyelowo and recent comments. He is a good actor, don't get me wrong, but he seems insistent on moaning on and on about how he and Selma (mostly him) were overlooked for an Oscar. Now I've seen Selma, and it is basically a 2 hour Oscar advert. It seems to have been made purely for an Oscar. Yes we see that a lot, but doesn't mean it will win, or be nominated. Now on to David Oyelowo. Yes, he was overlooked. Was it race or was it just a great acting pool this year. Gyllanhaal was overlooked for a career defining role. Haven't heard a peep from him. Just because you are a black actor, doesn't mean you get an Oscar nod. Get it on merit.

Now the other point. David Oyelowo states he had to leave the UK to have a career in film. He pitched an idea about a black led Emily Bronte style drama and it was rejected. In his eyes this was racist so he left the UK. Cumberbatch can stay in the UK and get roles because he is white.... hmmmm

I have always lived in London, I would like to think I live in one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. And I would like to think that we in the UK have a fine crop of actors from ALL races. Directors like Richard Ayoade (Submarine), Steve McQueen or Noel Clarke. Lennie James, Idris Elba, (Luther, his second most famous role, filmed in UK) Chiwetel Ejiofor, and loads more.

It is a cop out to always blame race. Yes, it is not an equal playing field. But the UK does more for diversity than most other places ever will.

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PostPosted: 03 Feb 2015, 03:20 
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Race is one of those damned if you do, damned if you don't issues if you try to engage with it, because to engage with it is to accept its existence as objective reality. But race is a construct. It is not natural. It has no basis in biology or genetics. Yes, skin colours are different, and some people who share the colour of their skin also share other attributes, but not all difference between people of different skin colours is reducible to skin colour. The idea of race serves to lift individuals out of their immediate community and into a broad imagined community based on a random attribute (skin colour over, say, regional, linguistic, historical, national, ethnic etc. identity). It also identifies 'white' as the colour from which other skin colours are different. White is seen as 'standard', and its own differences and peculiarities are suppressed in a comparative and complementary framework that is inherently loaded against the 'not white' therefore non-standard and abnormal. This is the same attitude that can be apprehended in using the label 'unaccented English' for the voice of the white middle and upper classes (in both the US and UK). We can do as Hamid Naficy does in his Accented Cinema (2001) and apply accent in a broad sense. This helps us see that not only is 'white' not free of accent, but also that black, or any other skin colour/tone, is no more accented than white. If we stop privileging white for a moment, we realise there is no difference, just a range of skin tones. Race emerges at the point where a comparative perspective is invoked, and a 'normal', 'good', 'majority' colour is fixed in discourse (this is usually white, even though it's not a 'majority' colour globally, and 'normal' and 'good' are not objective criteria).

So the problem here is that an Oscars snub for a film that happens to deal with the Civil Rights movement, and for this reason features a predominantly black cast, will always be perceived within a racist framework (i.e. in a framework that sees the difference when compared to white). So to complain that Selma was not nominated is to accept that race matters. (Which of course, it does, for victims of racism, and for those who are racist, or simply live in an environment that prevents them from overcoming the perception of difference. Again: racism creates race, not vice versa.) But to accept the Oscars as they are, predominantly white, and predominantly Anglo-Saxon, is to contribute to the misrepresentation of 'white' as normal, from which other skin colours deviate.

So we are damned if we do, and damned if we don't. Call out the Academy for overlooking Selma and you participate in a discourse that accepts race as a real marker of difference. Accept the Academy's perennial failure to spot, promote and nominate films that come from a diverse background, and you contribute to the masquerade of 'white' as the norm. Use the expression diverse background, and you contribute to the discourse that frames white as 'the norm' against which difference is measured. We're fucked.

What we should all do is go and read Richard Dyer's White (1997), a hugely entertaining and provocative book on this very subject. But if what I wrote above annoyed you, be prepared for a lot worse.

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PostPosted: 03 Feb 2015, 06:48 
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Humphrey wrote:
Race is one of those damned if you do, damned if you don't issues if you try to engage with it, because to engage with it is to accept its existence as objective reality. But race is a construct. It is not natural. It has no basis in biology or genetics. Yes, skin colours are different, and some people who share the colour of their skin also share other attributes, but not all difference between people of different skin colours is reducible to skin colour. The idea of race serves to lift individuals out of their immediate community and into a broad imagined community based on a random attribute (skin colour over, say, regional, linguistic, historical, national, ethnic etc. identity). It also identifies 'white' as the colour from which other skin colours are different. White is seen as 'standard', and its own differences and peculiarities are suppressed in a comparative and complementary framework that is inherently loaded against the 'not white' therefore non-standard and abnormal. This is the same attitude that can be apprehended in using the label 'unaccented English' for the voice of the white middle and upper classes (in both the US and UK). We can do as Hamid Naficy does in his Accented Cinema (2001) and apply accent in a broad sense. This helps us see that not only is 'white' not free of accent, but also that black, or any other skin colour/tone, is no more accented than white. If we stop privileging white for a moment, we realise there is no difference, just a range of skin tones. Race emerges at the point where a comparative perspective is invoked, and a 'normal', 'good', 'majority' colour is fixed in discourse (this is usually white, even though it's not a 'majority' colour globally, and 'normal' and 'good' are not objective criteria).

So the problem here is that an Oscars snub for a film that happens to deal with the Civil Rights movement, and for this reason features a predominantly black cast, will always be perceived within a racist framework (i.e. in a framework that sees the difference when compared to white). So to complain that Selma was not nominated is to accept that race matters. (Which of course, it does, for victims of racism, and for those who are racist, or simply live in an environment that prevents them from overcoming the perception of difference. Again: racism creates race, not vice versa.) But to accept the Oscars as they are, predominantly white, and predominantly Anglo-Saxon, is to contribute to the misrepresentation of 'white' as normal, from which other skin colours deviate.

So we are damned if we do, and damned if we don't. Call out the Academy for overlooking Selma and you participate in a discourse that accepts race as a real marker of difference. Accept the Academy's perennial failure to spot, promote and nominate films that come from a diverse background, and you contribute to the masquerade of 'white' as the norm. Use the expression diverse background, and you contribute to the discourse that frames white as 'the norm' against which difference is measured. We're fucked.

What we should all do is go and read Richard Dyer's White (1997), a hugely entertaining and provocative book on this very subject. But if what I wrote above annoyed you, be prepared for a lot worse.

Well said. Although the choices should also include something about accepting that Selma wasn't worthy of a nomination because it wasn't acted or directed well enough. Despite the issue it deals with, the movie itself is not that good no matter what color the actors are.


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PostPosted: 03 Feb 2015, 06:50 
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Dawson wrote:
Gyllanhaal was overlooked for a career defining role. Haven't heard a peep from him. Just because you are a black actor, doesn't mean you get an Oscar nod. Get it on merit.


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PostPosted: 03 Feb 2015, 14:38 
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Humphrey wrote:
So we are damned if we do, and damned if we don't. Call out the Academy for overlooking Selma and you participate in a discourse that accepts race as a real marker of difference. Accept the Academy's perennial failure to spot, promote and nominate films that come from a diverse background, and you contribute to the masquerade of 'white' as the norm. Use the expression diverse background, and you contribute to the discourse that frames white as 'the norm' against which difference is measured. We're fucked.


I can't agree with this. At no point do you mention the quality of the film. The academy overlooked Selma not for its failure to promote diversity but on the merit of the film. IF the film had been nominated to help promote diversity and not on the basis of quality then it would unfairly knock a more highly merited movie from the nominations.

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PostPosted: 22 Feb 2015, 07:00 
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Dawson wrote:
Humphrey wrote:
So we are damned if we do, and damned if we don't. Call out the Academy for overlooking Selma and you participate in a discourse that accepts race as a real marker of difference. Accept the Academy's perennial failure to spot, promote and nominate films that come from a diverse background, and you contribute to the masquerade of 'white' as the norm. Use the expression diverse background, and you contribute to the discourse that frames white as 'the norm' against which difference is measured. We're fucked.


I can't agree with this. At no point do you mention the quality of the film. The academy overlooked Selma not for its failure to promote diversity but on the merit of the film. IF the film had been nominated to help promote diversity and not on the basis of quality then it would unfairly knock a more highly merited movie from the nominations.

Okay, I watched Selma. It's a very good film but after watching 6 of the 8 films I would put it at four behind (in order) Birdman, American Sniper, and The Grand Budapest Hotel, then Selma, The Theory of Everything, and finally Boyhood.

David Oyelowo has a very valid argument as to why he wasn't nominated but it has nothing to do with the "R" word. The problem is he only has a argument. Having seen 3 of the 5 Best Actor nominees, David Oyelowo should be in the discussion, but on the other hand, he wasn't head and shoulders above them. It is quite possible the two I haven't seen yet, Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game and Steve Carrell in Foxcatcher were just as good. Then it comes down to a numbers game. Mr. Oyelowo could have been only a few votes short of making the top 5. From what I hear it could have easily been Oyelowo and Jake Gyllenhaal with nominations.

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PostPosted: 23 Feb 2015, 21:59 
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