FILM

#ByeOscars: Media Outlets Are Finally Starting to Boycott the Oscars

#ByeOscars

The Oscars are bullsh*t, and it's hard to understand why anybody watches them anymore.

I say this as someone who absolutely adores movies. Heck, I majored in film and I write about entertainment every single day. But for the life of me, I just don't get why anybody who isn't a Hollywood celebrity would care about such a masturbatory award show.

Theoretically, an Academy Award should be the highest honor in film––an award given to the year's absolute best movie, as chosen by the people who best understand the medium. In practice though, the Academy is overwhelmingly white (84%) and male (69%), chock full of racist opinions, and heavily influenced by whichever movie's marketing team runs the most expensive Oscar campaign.

Want to hear a Hollywood secret? A large chunk of voters don't even watch every movie, especially for less high-profile categories like "Best Short Film (Live Action)." The truth is that, like many other things in America, the Oscars boil down to who has the most money and the most power.

Green Book winning "Best Picture" last year––the same year that Boots Riley's incredible Sorry to Bother You wasn't even nominated––should have absolutely crushed whatever faith anyone still held in the Academy's taste. Then again, Sorry to Bother You was a confrontational fable about racism and classism written from a black POV, and Green Book was a white guy's reassurance to other white guys that "I have a black friend" is a valid defense. It's no wonder the Academy loved it.

Thankfully, in 2020, some media outlets have finally had enough.

Oscars Academy Awards

In a statement released by Bitch Media titled "#ByeOscars," the Bitch Media team explained why they are officially boycotting the Oscars. "Once again, the Academy Awards is white as ever, even as the ceremony is touted as the pinnacle of a production or an actor's success...Having a single year (or two) where the nomination pool is more diverse doesn't account for a long history of nominating white, straight people at the expense of people from oppressed communities, so why should we cover a ceremony that shuts out the communities we serve over and over again?"

The Mary Sue followed suit with a post titled "We're Joining Bitch Media in Boycotting the 2020 Oscars." Rallying behind #ByeOscars, The Mary Sue stated, "While we'll discuss any emerging issues surrounding the awards and are ardent in our support of Parasite and Jojo Rabbit, the Academy's failure to nominate more than one person of color (Cynthia Erivo for Harriet) in its sprawling acting categories, or any women for its top directing award, shows how out-of-touch the Oscars remain."

Plenty of other female media professionals agree.

Well, for what it's worth, this white male Internet writer agrees, too. To be clear, Parasite absolutely deserves "Best Picture" this year, by a longshot. I doubt that the Academy's voting body will allow an international film made by a non-white director to win the top award in their "Western Media Supremacy" circlej*rk, but I'd like to be wrong. Bong Joon-ho deserves all the accolades he can get. But even if I am wrong, even if Parasite really is the first ever international film to win "Best Picture," the larger point stands.

In many ways, boycotting the Oscars is an act of solidarity with underrepresented people who the Academy continues to ignore. By refusing to watch, acknowledge, or report on the winners, we can show the Academy that if they insist on upholding a majority-white hegemony, then they risk losing whatever influence we give them in the larger social sphere. Everything in Hollywood runs on money, and a large chunk of that money is based on perceived clout. If we take that clout away by refusing to engage, viewership numbers decrease, and profits do too.

The Academy Awards are no longer relevant, and despite the fact that movies are one of my biggest passions in life, I won't be tuning in.

#ByeOscars

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