Academy Awards 2014: Women are no longer ‘Niche’; Diversity is in

I felt this year’s Oscar’s were a little low on pizzazz, but if it were between this and the Seth MacFarlane boob schtick or the Hathaway-Franco debacle, I’d take this year over those any day. Plus this year, we got Cumberbatch attending. But I digress…

My favorite parts of this years Oscars included: performances by Idina Menzel, Karen O and Ezra Koenig, and the dancing actresses during Pharell’s “Happy”. As awards go, everything sort of gelled with what I predicted/wanted. I was elated at Frozen’s wins (Robert Lopez- ‘e got an EGOT!), and extremely moved by both Lupita Nyong’o and Cate Blanchett’s speeches.

Nyong’o looked like Cinderella (#NairobiBlue), and has been wowing me all awards seasons with how spot on all her fashion choices have been. Truly, elegant. She recently celebrated her birthday (“I celebrated at the Independent Spirit Awards where I won”) and spoke about beauty during the Black Women in Hollywood luncheon.

She speaks very poignantly about how there was a lack of people who look like her, role models to look up to on TV. How upon seeing The Color Purple, and model Alek Wek was she able to feel more validated, more beautiful. It’s something I personally understand and have experienced, and so to hear it addressed was very fulfilling. Modeling behavior after others is very common, and it’s easier to feel important when we see people like ourselves represented in our media.

The color of our skin does still matter, when we’re still just breaking ground in an industry that’s been around for over 100 years. It is only this year that we’ve seen the first black female president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, when we have the first Latino male to win for Best Director, Alfonso Cuarón, and the first Best Picture won by a black man, Steve McQueen.

See Steve McQueen's Oscar-winning jump!!!!!!  on Twitpic

The good news is the times are changing. People are being more vocal. Ellen jokingly called out the voters for being racist if they didn’t vote 12 Years A Slave for Best Picture. People are calling out sexist bullshit (Thank fucking Oscar that Wolf of Wall Street didn’t win shit. Newsflash: in this economy, don’t fucking parade the douchebags around who are partially responsible for millions of American’s fiscal struggles).

Speaking of, here’s a trailer for a gender swapped Women of Wall Street. I’m pretty sure people would still go see this movie. Proving that more women just need to be put into movies for there to be audience interest. Also, considering half the movie population is female, you might want to make more movies that appeal to us.

Last but not least, my favorite bit of the Oscars: Cate Blanchett’s awards sweep.

Cate Blanchett’s acceptance speech was on point when she called it– Women are fucking dominating the shit out of Hollywood right now.

“And perhaps those of us in the industry who are still foolishly clinging to the idea that female films with women at the center are ‘niche’ experiences- they are not. Audiences want to see them, and in fact, they earn money. THE WORLD IS ROUND PEOPLE!”

She said this to uproarious applause, as I stood in my own living room clapping and screaming SISTA PREACH!

She’s been amazing making her rounds, collecting her prizes. Earlier at the Golden Globes, she made a similar statement, saying “It’s been an extraordinary year, not only for cinema, but for roles, and women in particular- the last 10 years, really.”

I could not agree more. These are the stories that are touching, the stories that need to be told. Hollywood needs to adapt better to its global audience, and frankly, to the diversity ingrained in it’s own hometown of the United States/California/Los Angeles.

Stop marginalizing us and start sharing our stories. Sincerely, your captive audience.

Sources:

Lupita Nyong’o Delivers Moving ‘Black Women in Hollywood’ Acceptance Speech

How The Best Director Winner Could Make Oscar History

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