By Rory Thompson | email@example.com
Sunday night in Los Angeles, California the Oscar Awards were given out to the best in film for 2018.
This year’s Oscars was rooted in controversy for months leading up to the event. In August, the Academy had announced the creation of the award for Best Popular Film, in an attempt to boost ratings for the show. In a year where “Black Panther” was a frontrunner for the Best Picture award, this new award felt like a way to undermine the excellence of what “Black Panther” is.
The Academy ended up delaying awarding the Best Popular Film so that they could examine how it would be given and the implications it would have for the rest of the awards, especially the award for Best Picture. The Oscars this year also had no host for the first time since 1989, as Kevin Hart was stripped of his hosting duties after his old tweets using anti-gay slurs resurfaced. This year definitely was going to be an Oscars to remember.
With three films nominated for Best Picture (“Roma,” “Black Panther,” “BlacKkKlansman”) made by non-white directors, the Oscars was bound to make history. “Roma” was the Best Picture frontrunner for most of the award season and obtained 10 Oscar nominations.
“Black Panther” made history as the first superhero film to be nominated for Best Picture and obtained seven Oscar nominations. “BlacKkKlansman” obtained six nominations, including the first Best Director nomination for Spike Lee.
“Roma” and “Black Panther” each snagged three Oscars, while “BlacKkKlansman” only snagged one. Alfonso Cuarón, director of “Roma” won Best Director, the fifth Latin director to win Best Director since 2012. Spike Lee won his first Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. Even with these historic wins, the Oscars still fell short with the Best Picture winner.
None of those films won Best Picture. “Green Book” did. “Green Book” wasn’t made by a non-white director, however, the film did star Oscar-winning black actor Mahershala Ali. “Green Book” tells the story of Don Shirley, an African-American classical and jazz pianist and his white bodyguard during a tour of the Deep South. The film made $144 million globally against a $23 million budget. It was nominated for five Oscars, winning three for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali.
I’m not trying to undermine the excellence of “Green Book,” but it did not deserve the Best Picture award. “Roma” had the biggest amount of Oscar buzz going into the awards and was destined to take the Best Picture award. “Black Panther” and “BlacKkKlansman” didn’t have the most amount of Oscar buzz, but they were favorites to win because of the cultural impact a film with majority black cast winning Best Picture would have.
But when Julia Roberts read the winner of Best Picture, it was disappointing. “Green Book” winning felt like not only a gut punch as a film buff, but also as a person of color. “Green Book’s” win felt like the Oscars were quieting the diverse voices in the movie industry. For an award show that has been criticized with hashtags like #OscarsSoWhite in the past, it’s a shame that the Oscars have shown that they are still “so white” after vying for more diversity.