The 2020 Oscar Nominations Din't Have To Look Like This

The Frame
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We now know who was nominated for this year's Academy Awards and who wasn't there were no women pick for the directing Oscar and only one person of color. Harriet Stars Cynthia. Rio was among the twenty acting nominees. He's but what if like Hollywood does in a few movies. There was an alternate history to the Oscars. Franklin Leonard wrote about his imagined Academy Award nominations for the Washington Post. He's the creator of the blacklist an annual compilation of much admired but unpredicted movie scripts Franklin. Welcome back to the show. Thanks for having me the back. So we're not so sad. Your column is almost funny. It could have been a satirical piece from the onion. What motivated it? Well here's here's the interesting thing right like it. It didn't necessarily need to even be ready satire if anything you know. The article was written as a as a list of all of the people could reasonably have been nominated in place of those who got nominated and I think that there are additional people. That aren't even mentioned in the article. who also could have gotten reasonably? We nominated and no one would have batted an eye except for the fact that it would have been unusual that all the nominees people of color that all of the directing on these women which you know is so far from our reality only because history would suggest that all the nominees should be white and all the directors should be met. Well let's talk about that right. Because there was a lot of great artistic accomplishment from people who weren't nominated I think about hustlers from Lorraine Skafar you on the star Jennifer Lopez Lulu Wong the director of the Farewell Greta Gerwig who made little women performances by Alfie Woodard and clemency Aquafina and farewell the entire cast a parasite right nominated for best picture. None of the actors were so. What's the disconnect in your mind between the great work and the recognition or lack of recognition of that? Great Work Work. I mean the short answer is racism and sexism in the intersection between the two. I think that there is a fundamental lack of appreciation for the work of women directors and the work of Actors of Color. I mean I. I saw it in on my twitter timeline. And yesterday people saying Oh Jennifer for Lopez wasn't really acting playing herself you know and I think there's an assumption that you know the actors in parasite or somehow that's just who they are. They're not actually performing. If you've been in a room with a with Song King Ho you know that that was a heck of a performance. So I think that the assumptions and the appreciation and the value that we give to these performances into these directing Sort of accomplishments is diminished. Because of. WHO's doing it? Someone told me you know. Why are you trying to inject politics politics into these decisions? And it's not that I'm trying to inject politics into it is the politics are already in it. I'd like to see them removed or at least an acknowledgement the extent to which the politics there. We're talking with blacklist Creator Franklin Leonard About this year's Oscar nominations earlier this morning a read a piece in the Guardian about how award. Nominations granted people of Color especially women are often for subservient roles like slaves nannies maids. And that's movies like twelve years a slave that help babble even Roma g think there's some truth in that for the few women and women of color who are recognized they play a certain kinds of part and not another kind of role Yeah I think it's pretty arguable. You look at the list of women of color that have been nominated in London You know I suppose. In theory those nomination is progress because She's not playing a slave. The entire time in actually is playing a freedom fighter rescue slaves but no I look I think that there is again and there are some by a large percentage of certain demographics of American culture and really sort of Western culture culture about what role is appropriate for women specifically women of Color. They are far more comfortable with women in those roles than they are. If you stray too far afield and I suspect Jennifer Lopez playing a stripper gets one over on the men that she is supposed to be dancing for left left. Some significant percentage of members who the Kademi uncomfortable since actors are by far the biggest block of Academy voters. Why do the Oscar? Nominations differ from the screen actors guild. which nominated Jamie Foxx from just mercy the Peter Neon go from us and Jennifer Lopez from hustlers I suspect it's age. I I again this. I'm I'm not an expert on this. You can probably correct me if I'm wrong. But the threshold to join SAG is a lot lower in terms of career accomplishment than the threshold to join the academy and therefore it sort of seems inevitable that the academy voters are probably at least the mean significantly older than your average Sag goater and given the changes that have happened in the industry particularly over the last twenty years. I suspect that has something to do with the different nominations. The academy to a certain extent stint can only recognize movies that get made even if Oscar voters still ignored a lot of great work from underrepresented filmmakers and actors. Now you've worked as a creative executive. I can Hollywood so from where you sat on that side of the table. What needs to change in the kinds of movies that are made and who gets to make them so the academy voters voters at least can pick from a wider pool of eligible performances? Films having the same changes that needs to be made in any hiring environment where there's endemic matthias you know. We need to hire a labor force. That's more representative of the culture. As a whole we need to empower them to tell the stories. If they're most excited about telling we you need to make sure they have the resources to tell those stories well And then I think that combined with the changing demographics of the academy membership. I think you'd see a real shift over time in what gets awarded. I think it's really important to remember that you know the reason this conversation sort of pivots around the academy as bad as the time. I'm during the year when the industry is the most visible to the world and I think that it's the time when you know they're they're they're the most outside pressure can be exerted and it's it's the clearest opportunity community to make these cases right that no women were nominated for best director. It's a lot easier to understand that than it is to understand that ninety percent of the movies that are directed a studios are directed by men by so. I think that that's why this conversation happens around this time of year but the real issue and the one that matters is who Who tells the stories of our time? Do they have the resources to tell them. And do they have the autonomy to tell them as they see fit. So let me ask you this last question. We know that the academy I suspect is probably a little mortified. That only one person of color was nominated in the acting races and that no women were many directors. Is it going to be same as it always was the year from now two years from now. How quickly are we not going to be having this conversation? You know I think that the end of the day we're doing with small data sets and you know the IT. It takes a long time to make movies put movies into the marketplace and then run them through the award season so you know even if everything changed as of today we probably wouldn't be looking at a major change until twenty twenty two and as we all know Those changes tend to be even more glacial than the industry. So it's hard to say you know hopefully within this decade Lord knows. I'm going to do everything to make sure it happens faster. Franklin Leonard is the creator of the blacklist. His piece in the Washington Post is called the twenty twenty Oscar Oscar. Nominations didn't have to look like this. Franklin thanks so much for coming back on the show. Thanks for having

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