Last night Mashable‘s Jeff Sneider tweeted that “if i was a big celeb I wouldn’t agree to host the 2017 oscars unless I was 99.9% SURE it wouldn’t be another year of #OscarsSoWhite…no upside.” That got me thinking: What would it take for another OscarsSoWhite outrage to ignite? We all have a pretty good idea which black films and performances are expected to wind up in the nominees circle. I frankly don’t see another scandal in the cards because they’re all likely to prevail.
There isn’t a blogaroonie alive who will argue that Fences isn’t assured of a Best Picture nomination. Yes, it’s dicey to predict without having seen Denzel Washington‘s film (the big all-media debut is three nights hence in Westwood) but c’mon — Fences, based on a highly respected August Wilson play, has an all-but-bulletproof pedigree. Performances aside, all Denzel has to do is frame it decently.
And we all know Denzel and Viola Davis are locked for noms in their respective categories (Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress)…right?
Everyone understands that The Birth of a Nation is a non-starter, but if Nate Parker‘s Penn State thing hadn’t surfaced would there have been a bit of an outraged “what?” If it hadn’t been Best Picture nominated? I never thought it was good enough but I wonder.
Those who caught the Hidden Figures product reel event in Toronto suspect that either Janelle Monae or Taraji P. Henson are probably good for noms, although in what category I can’t say.
And everyone is agreed that Mahershala Ali is good for a Best Supporting nom for his all-too-brief performance in Moonlight.
And we’re all presuming that Ava Duvernay‘s 13th will land a Best Feature Doc nomination along with (I hope) Ezra Edelman‘s O.J.: Made in America.
Yes, there’s interest in nominating Bradford Young for his lensing of Arrival, but that’s just about good cinematography according to strict visual criteria.
So what would it take to ignite #SonOfOscarsSoWhite?
As far as I can calculate the only potential eruption of any kind would be about how the Academy and the guilds respond to Moonlight. If it misses out on a Best Picture nom or one for best cinematography or whatever, will there be anger and whatnot? Or will people just say “okay, we don’t agree but let’s move on”?
Moonlight could wind up with a Best Picture nomination (especially with N.Y. Times critic A.O. Scott calling it the best of the year), but I think it’s more of a Spirit Awards or a Gotham thing (the latter org has nominated it for Best Feature and Best Ensemble) than a likely Oscar contender. I could be wrong, and if I am, fine.
What other admired black films or performances may be championed or snubbed?
Sasha Stone says: “One, we don’t know anything will get nominated until it’s seen and it’s careless and stupid to pretend we do. It merely sets the film up for a potentially tragic fall. For every Revenant there is an Unbroken. Two, the only problem that will arise from anything to do with Oscarssowhite will be angry white dudes complaining about feeling forced into voting for thsi or that film ‘just because.’ But you won’t see the fallout from that until the following year.”
David Poland says: “A lot of people have worked themselves into a race lather again this season, fantasizing about movies winning awards because of some sort of political make-up sex by Academy members. Ain’t happening. First, the changes at The Academy haven’t changed it much at all. Second, there is a better chance of backlash within the Academy against last year’s embarrassing response to #OscarSoWhite than there is of voters posturing to seem politically correct.”