Thursday, February 24, 2011

And the Oscar Should Go To...

It's Award Season again, which means Hollywood is flush with the self-congratulatory high that comes from attending 57 award shows. Seriously, I've lost track of how many ceremonies there are these days. How many times does one set of people need to to be recognized for the same accomplishments?

Apparently that number is ad infinitum, if you are talking specifically about Whoopi Goldberg.

Ms. Goldberg found herself in a regular snit recently over the content of a New York Times article that discussed some of her fellow black academy award winners without making mention of her Oscar-winning turn in "Ghost" or of her nomination for "The Color Purple".

"I have been dismissed and erased by the New York Times film critics, who should know better... This is not hidden information... this is sloppy journalism. People in Somalia know [about my Oscar win]. People in China know," she said.

Well, I read the offending article, and it appears Ms. Snit needs to up her reading comprehension skills. While it's true that the writers did not mention her win, they were not purporting to make any sort of comprehensive list of black academy award winners. They mention some by name, but the point of the article is the lack of black nominees this year (and, in true conspiracy style, what sort of ominous prejudice this reveals in Hollywood).

Frankly, the gripe that there are too many white actors nominated is annoying. I thought we were talking about the "best" actors, not the best black or best Hispanic or best gay or religious (ha ha - do those exist?) actors. As film critics who are looking for the elusive "postracial" Hollywood, they seem to be missing the point. Shouldn't the awards go to the best actors, regardless of race?

If the point of the article had been that (fill-in-the-blank) black actor was snubbed and should have received a nomination, or even that more leading roles should go to black actors, fine. That's an article that may be worth writing. But when the whole gripe consists of "There are too many white nominees this year" without a single hint as to what is wrong with that beyond a few generic hurt feelings on behalf of black Americans, that is ridiculous.

As for Ms. Goldberg, yes, a handful of people in Somalia and China may know about her Oscar win, but the fact is that most of them probably don't care. She shouldn't read deliberate offenses into things where there isn't even a hint of a slight. Not even Einstein, whose contributions to the world were surely more important than Ms. Goldberg's contributions to acting, needs to be mentioned in every single paper on the Theory of Relativity.

And as for a postracial world, I think that's what Martin Luther King, Jr. was hoping for when he talked about his children being judged by the content of their character instead of the color of their skin.

For people who say they are looking forward to that day, these New York Times critics are still awfully stuck on skin color.

And Ms. Goldberg is awfully stuck on herself.

1 comment:

MyDonkeySix said...

Silly, silly, Bonnie. It's not about quality, but rather quantity. When will you ever learn?