Headline grabbing for wrong reasons

Kate Livingstone
Kate Livingstone

There’s no other day on the social calendar more glamorous than the Academy Awards show.

Well, if I watch it in my living room wearing pyjamas perhaps you could disagree with that statement.

Each and every year, I get caught up in the drama, romance and prestige in the ceremony, and usually spend the following day looking bleary-eyed, and far from glamorous, after staying up well past my bedtime to watch until the very last gong is handed out.

I love everything about it; the build–up after nominations are announced, the red carpet interviews, the designer dresses and the hosts who will undoubtedly fluff their lines at some point in the evening.

I even love the winners who drone on for far too long, it’s just good telly to watch someone desperately trying to blurt out the end of their acceptance speech over the loud Oscar music after a producer decides that enough is enough. Oh, and the tears. We all love to watch a crier don’t we?

When the nominations were made public earlier this month, my first thought was that it could finally be Leonardo DiCaprio’s year. He’s the man who has famously missed out on an Oscar numerous times, but there is a general feeling this could be his time to shine.

But as the dust started to settle after the announcements were initially made, concerns over diversity came to light. Of the 20 actors nominated in the main categories, not one of them was black or from any other ethnic background. This clearly seems disproportionate.

Some spoke out against the lack of diversity with Jada Pinkett Smith promising to boycott the ceremony, and saying she refused to watch it on television. Black comedian, Chris Rock, who is hosting the Oscars in February, even joked that it was the white version of the BET (Black Entertainment Television) awards.

President of the Academy, Cheryl Boone Isaccs, who herself is a black woman said she was “heartbroken and frustrated at the lack of inclusion”.She made assurances that changes were ahead and it was time to have the “difficult but important conversation”.

The Academy Awards is such an iconic institution that is famous across the globe and the fact it is being shrouded in controversy is as disappointing to me as I’m sure it is to millions all over the world. We can only hope more people in the film industry make the necessary changes needed and take steps towards inclusion.

I will be watching – but hoping for a more diverse line–up next year.