— Posted by Alyssa
The recent controversy surrounding this year’s Academy Awards has sparked understandable debate. After all, this is 2016. Aren’t we passed this?
I don’t think anyone wants things to just change. To clarify, we don’t want to see a plethora of diverse nominees next year because the Academy is operating under the pretension that they don’t want a target on their backs. In other words, a wide-range of performers will be nominated just to quiet the hoopla. That would be like putting a band-aid on a bullet hole. There is a deep-seated, underlying issue that needs to be addressed. This issue exists not just in the Academy, but in the larger social world. All of this controversy stems from one problem—we are still segregating certain people from other people. It may not be segregation in a blatant and obvious way, but it’s still segregation. I don’t think people want things to just change. Rather, I think everyone wants change. A change in mentality, a change in the existential social order, and overall, a change in the way that we see each other. That’s what we want.
Keeping this in mind, let’s address another way that the Academy is keeping people separate from people—the separate nominations for “Best Actress” versus “Best Actor” and “Best Supporting Actress” from “Best Supporting Actor”. Why can’t there just be a “Best Performer?”
Now I know this will increase competition among the performers, but who cares? Let me reiterate—it’s 2016. We live in a world where a woman can undoubtedly outperform a man, within any respective field. It boils down to skill set, personality, and who you know. Whether you have a penis or a vagina is beside the point.
The domino to start with is the Academy Awards. This is the film business; people who are in the public eye. Tip this domino over, bring necessary change to its structure, and other institutions responsible for shaping our culture will likely follow. If we can have up to 10 Best Picture nominees, then we can have 10 performers in a “Best Performer” category. And while we’re at it, if an individual warrants the accolade, we can have 10 performers of diverse ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, and gender identifications be nominated for Best Performer. Movies have the power to bring about social change. I think its time that the business definitively proves it.