Monday, March 06, 2006

Oscar's Ego Part 1

If egotism were a replenishable natural resource, like trees, then the world would have to wait at least a month for the supply of ego to build up again after Hollywood's denizens stripped every milliliter of it out of the Earth's atmosphere at last night's Oscars.

I doubt there is a collection of humans anywhere who think so highly of themselves. Granted, the rest of us are to blame for this. Or at least those among us who buy gossip rags, watch entertainment TV or insists on placing these people on a pedastal.

Since I did not see any of the movies up for the awards this year, and thus did not care who wond I only watched the first 15 minutes of the show. I did catch George Clooney's acceptance speech which patted Hollywood on the back for being so progressive. He cited how Hattie McDonald was awarded an Oscar for her performance in Gone With The Wind as a great example of how Hollywood is so forward thinking.

His comment was so delusional I had to wonder at first if he was being serious.

A story on the New Statesmen's web site proved that Clooney had no idea what he was talking about.

Black people have been in Hollywood since the early two-reelers almost a century ago. Yet here are the numbers that count: Hattie McDaniel, Best Supporting Actress, Gone with the Wind, 1939; Sidney Poitier, Best Actor, Lilies of the Field, 1963. In the 38 Academy Award ceremonies since Poitier's triumph, no other black leading actor or actress has won the top prize. Despite 780 total acting nominations and 152 winners since Poitier's award, only four winners have been black, and all have won in supporting roles: Louis Gossett Jr in An Officer and a Gentleman (1982), Denzel Washington in Glory (1989), Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost (1990) and Cuba Gooding Jr in Jerry Maguire (1996).

I'm not saying Clooney is clueless becauase other black people have won the award. Instead I want to point out that Hollywood itself has spent the vasty majority of its history discriminating against blacks.

If Hollywood was so liberal back in the 1930s why weren't films of the day filled with black actors and actresses? How about in the 1940s or 50s? I have never read of a case where Humphrey Bogart stood up and demanded a black actor in one of his film. Instead the only black audiences saw was Al Jolson. Finally in the 1960s blacks start to get their due, but Hollywood did not lead the way, it was the civil rights revolution that helped integrate the nation and thus Hollywood.

For Clooney to stand up and state that Hollywood is better then everyone else is a sad sham. Sad because he is so self-absorbed that he cannot see the truth even with history as a guide.


Post a Comment

<< Home