February 27, 2011

No Indians at the 2011 Oscars

The pundits weren't kidding when they said this year's Oscar nominations were lily-white. The whole show was almost pure white. The number of minorities appearing on screen in any capacity was vanishingly small.

After the first hour, the only nonwhite person we'd seen was Morgan Freeman in an elevator in the opening sketch. A black man as an elevator operator...think about the symbolism of that.

When music time arrived, we saw a few minorities singing or reacting to the songs. Because minorities have a lot of rhythm, salsa, and soul, you know.

Oprah Winfrey
appeared to present the award for Best Documentary Feature. I guess they had to go for a TV star because no minorities are active in filmmaking.

Around this time, a musical parody showed a shirtless Taylor Lautner and his Quileute tattoo for a few seconds. Millions of viewers could've seen a real Indian in this quick blaze of glory, but no.

Jennifer Hudson introduced a couple of songs, then presented the Best Original Song Oscar. And Halle Berry gave a brief tribute to Lena Horne, noting how she had to break through racial barriers.

Most of the winners looked white. Shaun Tan, who won the Best Animated Short Oscar for The Lost Thing, was the only obvious minority. A few of the foreign films had nonwhite subjects, but you really can't count them.

Finally, the multicolored PS 22 Chorus from Staten Island sang Somewhere Over The Rainbow. And that was about it for color at the Oscars.

Let's do the math. Of about three dozen winners, one was a minority. Of about three dozen presenters, three were minorities. Meanwhile, about 30% of Americans are minorities. Roughly 10 or 11 of the winners and the presenters should've been minorities.

For more on the subject, see Native Diversity 2010 Video and No Indians at the 2010 Oscars.


Anonymous said...

I don't know about "symbolism", but the idea of a black man operating an elevator is both stereotypical and anachronistic, no?

Wild One said...

I'd be concerned about dumping Taylor Lautner into the "non-Indian" category. Maybe he wasn't aware of his heritage until recently, but he seems to have embraced it and brings honor to it.

Rob said...

Didn't you just write "Native people generally know and recognize one another and by contrast can tell when someone's not on the level" on another posting, Jilvsgi? Lautner is a classic example of a Johnny-come-lately whom no one in Indian country recognizes as a fellow Indian.

Recognition by one's Native peers is one of the standards I outlined in "Actual Indian" Defined. By that standard, Lautner isn't an Indian.

Wild One said...

Yes, Native people generally do recognize one another. I'm not aware of Taylor Lautner being seen as all-white either though. And I simply was pointing out that he has acted very honorably and honestly regarding his heritage. By your definition he may not qualify as an "actual" Indian, but given time it would not surprise me to find that he gains some form of acceptance in "Indian country".