Why These Are The Most Woke Oscar Nominations, Ever

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If inclusivity and diversity are the standard, a case can be made that these are the most woke Oscar nominations ever.

Dee Rees, director of Mudbound, is the first African American woman to receive an Oscar screenplay nomination in 45 years.

Dee Rees, director of Mudbound, is the first African American woman to receive an Oscar screenplay nomination in 45 years.

Oscar voters choices were more representative in terms of race and gender than ever before, especially in light of the 2016 Oscar white-out, proving that last year’s best picture win for the gay African-American story “Moonlight,” was not a fluke.

This year’s highlights include:

*Dee Rees is the first black woman in 45 years nominated for her “Mudbound” screenplay and only the second ever;

*Rachel Morrison is the first woman EVER nominated in cinematography for “Mudbound”;

*Greta Gerwig became only the fifth woman nominated as best director for “Lady Bird” (Only Katherine Bigelow has won for “The Hurt Locker”);

*Jordan Peele, whose film “Get Out” was nominated as best picture is the fifth black director nominated (none have won).

*Yance Ford became the first transgender nominee for “Strong Island,” a documentary about the justice system.

Yance Ford, director of the Oscar nominated documentary Strong Island

Yance Ford, director of the Oscar nominated documentary Strong Island

*And the #timesup movement has taken its toll as well. The omission of Golden Globe winner James Franco for “The Disaster Artist,” is likely a response to accusations of sexual misconduct made against him.

Similar accusations against Casey Affleck, last year’s best actor winner for “Manchester by the Sea,” were surely behind his decision to bow out of the Oscar ceremonies this year.

Traditionally the best actor of the previous year hands out the award for best actress the following year, and vice versa.

 

I don’t want to make too much of all this but after a year of tumult and divisiveness it gives me hope to do so.

Some consider the military America’s melting pot and others point to sports as a place where excellence is the great equalizer.

But I never thought Hollywood, cleaning house after the Harvey Weinstein scandal, would lead the way for social change.

The country could do worse than follow its example.

Screen Shot 2018-01-25 at 3.04.00 PMThere are likely multiple reasons for all this.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has taken steps over the last few years to diversify its membership to reflect people working in the industry.

And yet Oscar voters remain 94% white, 76% male and are an average of 63 years old, according to Vox.

Competition from platforms like Netflix, whose eight nominations are its first ever and include F0rd, Rees and Morrison, offer more places for alternative voices to be heard.

And the arrival next month of the much anticipated Marvel superhero movie “Black Panther,” directed by Ryan Coogler and starring Chadwick Boseman, is evidence that Hollywood intends to stay woke.

I talk about the Oscar nominations Sunday at 7:20 a.m. on WTMJ-AM.

 

 

 

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