Diversity of the 2019 Oscars: a historic night despite the victory of the "Green Paper"


The story was made over and over again at the 2019 Oscars (see the full list of winners here). Black Panther Championships Ruth E. Carter (Best costume) and Hannah Beachler (Best scenery) became the first black winner in its respective category. "Roma" became the first Mexican winner of the best foreign language film. The directors of "Free Solo" and "Bao" joined a short list of Asian filmmakers to win the Best Documentary Award and the Best Short Animation Award respectively. Rami Malek ("Bohemian Rhapsody"), son of Egyptian immigrants, was the first winner of the best actor in the history of Arab descent.

… And then "Green Paper" won the Best Film Award.

How will this controversial end affect the memory of this year's historic awards as a whole? Honestly, we sometimes feel that the Oscars have a dual personality. As the Cinematheque has diversified its ranks, it has offered us the boldest and unconventional best image choices, such as "Spotlight" (2015), "Moonlight" (2016) and "The Shape of Water" (2017). But in a year of historical diversity when several films about the experiences of people of color have by people of color won the grand prizes ("Roma", "Black Panther", "BlacKkKlansman", "If Beale Street could speak", "Spider-Man: in Spider-Verse"), the choice of the Academy for the best film of the year was a film about racism written, directed and produced by white men and centered on the experiences of a white man who becomes friends with a man black during a tour in the south district of Jim Crow.

Whatever your ideas about the "Green Book" as a film – and there are many ideas to be made the day after the awards – it's a film about racism that could have been shot and honored by the Oscars 30 years ago. Regarding some, he has already was honored 30 years ago. And while people of color strive to break into the entertainment industry and beyond, his victory sends a mixed message: the most important voices in the equality discussions always belong to white men.

This message is further complicated by the fact that the central black voice in "Green Book" – real-life pianist Don Shirley, played by the winner of Best Supporting Actor Mahershala Ali – was created without the participation of his family, which resulted in strong resistance against the film. And it's even more complicated than that by the fact that the award-winning co-author and producer Nick Vallelonga (whose father is described in the movie by Viggo Mortensen) made a false Islamophobic comment in the past – Ali, by the way, is a Muslim.

So, in the end, the Oscars were half empty or half full with respect to the stories that will be celebrated by the Cinematheque. This is perhaps to be expected given the demographic evolution of the cinema academy. Despite the resurgence of diverse voices at the Oscars, there is still an old guard who can better understand Tony Lip in the "Green Book" than she can do with Ron Stallworth in "BlacKkKlansman", T "Challa in" Black Panther ", Fonny in" Beale Street "or Cleo in" Roma ". But we should not lose sight of the fact that Ron, T, Challa, Fonny and Cleo have always had stories told, and they have acknowledged their stories. Even 10 years ago, it may not have been obvious. Even now, it's not a given.

Paraphrase Sandra Oh When she hosted the Golden Globes in January, it seemed like a moment of change in many ways. And to quote it directly: "I am not mistaken. Next year could be different. It will probably be. But now, this moment is real. "

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