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The Most Diverse Year of the Oscars

AMAANI FEROZ

The 93rd Academy Awards recently took place on 26th April this year. If you’ve been following the news headlines, then you must be aware of a lot of interesting things that took place this Oscars. As a result of the COVID-19, the 2021 Oscars took place much later than it was scheduled to. Although the 2021 Oscars didn’t take place on a virtual platform, there still was a limit put on the number of attendees allowed to the Oscars.

What the Oscars are about

What really are the Oscars? Why is it spoken about on a large-scale? The ‘Academy Awards’ or commonly known as the Oscars, are awards in recognition of the film industry. It has been one of the most prestigious award ceremonies that kicked off from the early 1900s. The Oscars have continuously taken place in the Dolby Theatre, Los Angeles for 18 consecutive years.

The winners of the many categories such as ‘Best Film’ ‘Best Actor/Actress’ ‘Best Director’ are awarded golden statuettes by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Katharine Hepburn currently holds the most number of Oscars won, being 4 (for best actress) and Meryl Streep holds the title for having the most Oscar nominations, 21 in number!

Oscars and their history with Diversity
The Oscars don’t have a pretty reputation when it comes to Diversity and has been called out on numerous occasions by both people criticizing the Oscars and the winners of the Oscars. Some of the notable actors who have called out the lack of poc nominations are Halle Berry, Kevin Hart, Kim Basinger and more.

“I want to take a moment to applaud all of my actors and actresses of color that didn’t get nominated tonight, the reason why I say that is because I want them to understand that tonight doesn’t determine the hard work and effort you put into your craft. At the end of the day, we love what we do and we are breaking major ground doing it. These problems of today will eventually become problems of the old.”-Kevin Hart presenting at the 2016 Oscars.

This topic sparked conversations across the internet, with hashtags like #OscarSoWhite being trending. This issue was covered heavily by the mainstream media in 2015. Since this controversy was spoken of several times, the Oscars have finally decided to make changes in their requirements to be eligible for a nomination to improve the diversity standard. When considering the requirements for many roles, it is essential that there is a minimum of 30% of secondary roles from two underrepresented groups. Due to Such Changes, Korean movie ‘Parasite’ became the first non-English language film to win the Best Picture Award.

Approach to the 2021 Oscars

The 2021 Oscars has done pretty well in being the most Diverse Year of the Oscars. Youn Yuh-jung is the first Korean and second Asian actress after Zhao to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film Minari. Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson were awarded the ‘Best Makeup and Hairstyling’, making them the first-ever Black stylists to win in the category. Riz Ahmed became the first ever Muslim actor to be nominated for Best Actor in a leading role. Chloé Zhao became the first Asian and second woman ever to win the Best Director award for Nomadland, the movie that also won the Best Picture.

Chloé Zhao’s success at the Oscars was censored by the News Outlets of China because of a controversy that sparked as a result of a statement Zhao made referring to China as “a place where there are lies everywhere”. Her Film was removed from some platforms and her speech was blocked for viewers living in China. Despite the Controversy, Zhao has been praised for her work.

 The 2021 Oscars concluded in a very memorable manner. The promotion of cultural and racial diversity that was seen this year is important. It is necessary that the following years of the Oscars also continue to be fair and just to all the people who poured in their hard work and dedication. The active participation of people from various backgrounds are a necessity in the Oscars in order to foster an inclusive environment.

 

 

 

 

SOURCES:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academy_Awards

https://www.washingtonpost.com/arts-entertainment/2020/01/16/oscars-long-history-getting-called-out-lack-diversity/

https://www.oscars.org/news/academy-establishes-representation-and-inclusion-standards-oscarsr-eligibility

https://www.hindustantimes.com/entertainment/hollywood/oscars-2021-live-updates-93rd-academy-awards-kick-off-with-nomadland-chadwick-boseman-frances-mcdormand-as-the-favourites-101619393017101.html

https://time.com/5959003/chloe-zhao-oscars-censorship/