Thursday, 28 January 2016

Regarding Buzzfeeds Oscar-Nominated video

So recently BuzzFeed made a video showing what it would be like if  white actors were removed from the posters of the films and weren't in them. It is quite amazing at how many of these films do not feature many different ethnicities. The films that were shown in the video were The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Carol, The Danish Girl, Ex-Machina, The Hateful Eight, Steve Jobs, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Spotlight and finally Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But this then got me thinking about the films and what they are about and maybe to why this has happened. You know other than this thought of Hollywood being a super racist chain.

Now I have to be very careful when talking about this. In absolutely no way am I saying that it is ok for not enough movies to be starring non white actors. I feel it is a lot more complex than some are believing though.

This is the link to the video here to see what I am talking about.

Something that this video really did not think about was just how many of these films were based on true stories. The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, The Danish Girl, Steve Jobs and Spotlight were all based on actual events that happened. All of the characters based in these films were based on actual characters. Yes all of these characters are white. But you can't change history. Could anyone really say that it would make sense casting a black or Asian actor to play Steve Jobs or the supporting characters Steve Wozniak and John Scully? No it wouldn't. For an accurate depiction, you're going to make them the same race at least to try make it believable.

Excellent photo of the Best Picture nominees by Olly Gibbs

Another thing with some of these films is the time periods that they were set in. This is obviously featured in the true stories so we won't go on about them. However  The Hateful Eight and The Revenant are both set at certain time periods when it wasn't exactly the greatest time for a lot of ethnicities. The Hateful Eight did feature many black actors including Samuel L Jackson and also Median Bichir because you know, it's not only black people who create diversity. Apparently BuzzFeed don't think this though as they removed him from it as well. Very odd. The Revenant was set in 1823's America. Are you really surprised that this film lacked much diversity in it's main characters? They represented Native Americans whom would of been around at that specific time. You can't just go throwing random people into situations they would never of been in. You wouldn't make a film about the great Genghis Kahn and have it featuring white actors. So how can you complain about this? The film Carol also is a story based on an Irish woman and is played by Irish actress Saorise Ronan. There's no one better than her to play this role. She's exactly what you'd be looking for in this role.

Star Wars and Mad Max are both sequels. Now Star Wars has been more diverse and features a woman as the lead which there has been a clamouring for and also with John Boyega, a main character who is black. There is clear diversity in the new characters in the film. And you can't change the past and completely change the look of old characters. It doesn't work that way. Imagine the outrage that people would have at that? Mad Max also looked to change things by having Furiosa played by Charlize Theron being the main character in an action film, This is already taking on a problem in Hollywood. The other main character, Max, has been a character and is being continued. Obviously it isn't Mel Gibson isn't there to reprise his role but again you can't change the style of the character if you want to continue the same character. 

The Martian is the only movie of these that has yet to have been mentioned. So go ahead moan about that all you want I guess. There isn't really a reason to why this film has the actors it has. Maybe that's just who the director wanted. Maybe that's who fit his vision. It's not as if Matt Damon is some terrible actor either.

I 100% agree that there should be more films featuring black actors. There's absolutely no problem with that whatsoever. But if a lot of directors have a vision for their story set in certain times or about the past what can you do? There isn't really a way to filter this out. How would you decide who gets to make their films and who doesn't? I don't think that's a possible thing to do.

The main point of this BuzzFeed video is the lack of black people. Is it only black people who are lacking in these films? What about other ethnicities? There was no mention of Asians in this video at all. Why aren't they making a point out of this too? In the video they are removing all the white people in the films. So this is saying that these actors shouldn't be in these movies because they are white. But isn't that itself racist? Is that the point they are trying to make? I certainly hope not.

I also feel that a lot of people aren't even watching the movies some of these actors are in. They are just seeing that they are white and labelling it as racist. They aren't even caring about the performances at all. In this campaign about the Oscars, many people have forgot what it's about, Who had the best in each category. Most of the arguments I've seen have had nothing to actually do with the performances. I certainly do feel that Michael B Jordan and Tessa Thompson should of been nominated for Oscars in Creed but I also understand that there were many great performances from other candidates. Many are most definitely forgetting this.

At the time of writing this the video is currently sitting at 11,268 likes and a whopping 29,900 dislikes. The comments are filled to the brim with negative comments about the video from all races. I'm very glad to see that most people see how truly ridiculous and stupid this video is. Also shows that it's not just white people being against it which maybe they were not expecting. 

The Oscars should 100% be performance based. Nothing more than that. 

I hope you can see the points I was trying to make with this post. I just feel that this video is utterly ridiculous and hope you can see why through my points. What do you think of this whole situation? Once again thank you for reading, it means a lot.

By Angus McGregor

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