Hold onto your gold statues, #OscarsSoWhite may return with the fury of a thousand suns this coming awards season as projections show that there may not be enough potential minority nominees to fill all the acting slots.
According to Showbiz411, "there are few potential black nominees for the Oscars" this coming movie season. "Very few."
Coming down the pike this fall is Denzel Washington in Roman Israel, directed by Dan Gilroy, and Octavia Spencer in The Shape of Water. Not much else outside of those two incredibly gifted talents. The only other two predominantly minority-led movies that might earn nominations are Detroit and Get Out, and only one of those (a genre horror film) actually did well with audiences.
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Only the indie, Mudbound, which has a black female director – Dee Rees – might come through. But the main actors in it are all white. The black actors, save for Jason Mitchell, have supporting roles. Mitchell is also featured in Detroit.
Combing through all the Oscar-level releases of 1017, including Dunkirk, it sure looks like another white out. Even a movie like Murder on the Orient Express, which could have been cast with people of any color, is basically a snow storm. The only black actor in it is Leslie Odom, Jr., and his part doesn’t seem particularly large.
The lesson here is that you can only mandate so much diversity in a field as competitive as entertainment. Movie-making is, at its core, a business, and movie studios must make movies people actually want to see.
This explains why Hollywood had to essentially carry Moonlight — a film about an LGBT black youth — across the finish line with virtually no momentum in the grassroots, as it still stands as one of the lowest grossing Best Picture winners ever.
In the end, no matter how much Hollywood hides behind their machinations, movies must sway the human spirit on a mass scale enough to get people in the seats. Social justice sermonizing, franchise marketing, and even the movie star provides only so much fuel. Without creative ideas that stir human emotions, people get bored and stay home.
There may be a new generation of Sydney Poitiers and Will Smiths and Denzel Washingtons waiting in the wings to shine. Daniel Kaluuya of Get Out certainly looks promising. But good talent needs good scripts and good material to flourish. Either way, prepare to see the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag trending its way across the Twitterverse.