After #OscarsSoWhite, people have been asking for representation in film and television. Since then, the Academy has included more diverse members to make it happen. Can they?
We’ve been hearing the word “diversity” a lot over the last couple of years, and although it’s great to bear in mind that we are a really diverse species, for me, it seems as if we were just noticing the lack of representation. Why now? There’s no doubt that movies, television, music, and pretty much every single form of culture, play a crucial role in our social construction. For that reason, representation is highly important. Earlier this week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the ones in charge of the Oscars, made history when they announced their new members.
Not only did they break a record by inviting 928 new members from around the world (last year’s record was 774), but they also made it the most diverse selection so far in the history of the Academy. Now, you might be thinking that this is their easy response to the huge controversy a couple of years ago called #OscarsSoWhite. In case you don’t remember, April Reign (manager editor from BroadwayBlack.com) started the movement after exposing that it was the first time in 20 years that the main nominees (mainly focusing on the 20 actors that are nominated every year).
Of course, this movement spread all over the news and social media, and people started an interesting debate on the matter. Why did they nominate only white actors? Weren’t there any good performances by black actors (because at the time the question only focused on white and black people)? Was it a matter of what movies were produced and why they have so many white people? Let’s step back a little. Perhaps it’s an easy solution to stop this image of discrimination in the Academy, after all that year they chose a black host, a highly controversial decision. But even if that’s the case, things are definitely changing.
Ever since then, the Academy has been boosting an increase in diversity when it comes to their members, not only in terms of race and ethnicity, but also when talking about gender, nationality, and even age. Among the many invited members, we have people like Daniel Kaluuya, Mindy Kaling, Dave Chappelle, and Timothée Chalamet. And of course, we have to highlight the large number of Latinos and Hispanic people included in this select group.
Popular celebrities in Latin America like Damián Alcázar, Jaime Camil, Eduardo Noriega, Rossy de Palma, Eugenio Derbez, Carlos Bardem, and Daniela Vega (praised for her amazing performance in last year’s Best Film in a Foreign Language, A Fantastic Woman) prove that the Academy isn’t only thinking about diversifying their team, but also taking an important step in the conversation about the importance of representation in cultural products, and how they help shape our understanding of social and cultural dynamics. Is there still a long way to go? Of course, there is, but we have to start with something, and this might be heading towards something really positive that can be translated and applied to many other levels of our lives.
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