Warner Bros.

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

CJ Entertainment

In most regards, the 2020 Oscars are already a disappointment.

In a year full of cinematic diversity, from Lulu Wang's brilliant The Farewell and Greta Gerwig's revitalization of Little Women to Lupita Nyong'o's haunting turn in Us, the major category Oscar nominations are all too blatantly white and male.

Across all four Best Actor/Actress categories, 20 nominations in total, only one POC was named––Cynthia Erivo for her leading role in the Harriet Tubman biopic, Harriet. Apparently Awkwafina's Golden Globe-winning performance of a Chinese-American woman coping with a looming familial death from two conflicting cultural perspectives in The Farewell was not worthy of a spot over Charlize Theron playing former Fox News host Megyn Kelly.

Awkwafina the farewell A24

The Best Director nominations are also, once again, entirely male, with Greta Gerwig getting categorically snubbed, despite Little Women receiving nods for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actress. But at least that's better than the Oscar's treatment of Lulu Wang, who got snubbed entirely. Todd Phillips' Joker, on the other hand, received 11 nominations, more than any other movie this year, which says pretty much everything anyone needs to know about the 2020 Oscars… Or at least it would, if not for Parasite's Best Picture nomination.

In the entire history of the Oscars, only six foreign language films have been nominated for both Best International Film (formerly "Best Foreign-Language Film") and Best Picture. All of them have won the International category, but none have ever taken home the grand prize. After all, for an International Film to win Best Picture, that would require the Academy's overwhelmingly white male voting body (as of 2018, out of 8,000 members, 84% are white and 69% are male) to agree that a movie made by a POC outside of Hollywood is better than anything produced from within (and, more importantly, to actually read subtitles).

A lot of people were surprised by the 2019 Oscars when Green Book––a movie about race relations from the perspective of a white director, white writer, and white protagonist––beat Roma, Alfonso Cuaron's intimate portrayal of a poor Mexican housekeeper. In retrospect, the Academy's choice makes sense. Roma feels like an art film, whereas Green Book practically shouts, "It's okay, white people, we solved racism through friendship!" Considering the Academy's demographic, it was the obvious choice.

But that was 2019, and this is 2020. If the Oscars hope to maintain any glimmer of relevance in the new decade beyond just another masturbatory awards show where Hollywood elites pay lip service to diversity while endlessly patting white men on the back, Parasite needs to win Best Picture.

song kang ho parasite CJ Entertainment

For one, Parasite absolutely deserves it. Bong Joon-ho's darkly comedic thriller about South Korea's class divide is unique, impactful, and more timely than any other film this year. Its themes surrounding ambition, desperation, loss, and social immobility both feel specific to South Korea, and maintain a universality that connects with audiences around the world. Joon-ho's direction and writing (he was also nominated for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay) were spot on, approaching all of its characters with distinct empathy while subjecting them to some of the most brutal, unpredictable twists of any thriller in recent years. The acting was phenomenal too, and it's worth noting that Song Kang-ho's omission from the Best Lead Actor category displays a clear failure on the Academy's part to recognize the humanity of Asian actors and characters.

Still, Parasite seems better poised to win Best Picture than any international film in years past. That's not to knock any of the international Best Picture nominees that came before it, but rather to comment on the modern era. People are more globally connected than ever, thanks to the Internet, and Parasite falls into an overwhelmingly popular, accessible genre and encompasses universally appealing themes. In other words, the only barrier to entry is the subtitles.

It's time for Hollywood to recognize that as the world becomes more internationally connected, white western media can no longer be considered the end-all and be-all of cultural influence. Bong Joon-ho is living proof that some of the most important, talented artistic voices of our era are not white, American men and that diversity is a gift to creativity.