The Oscars take a step towards intersection
Greta Gerwig, Michael B. Jordan, Jordan Peele, Guilermo del Toro and Kumail Nanjiani lead the way. | Photo Courtesy of sacbee.com
Dictionary.com defines intersection as:
“A place where two or more roads meet, especially when at least one is a major highway; junction.”
A shift occurred in Hollywood this year— after “Lady Bird” received many nominations, “Coco” won Best Animated Feature, Jordan Peele became the first black director to receive Best Original Screenplay and Kumail Nanjiani’s movie “The Big Sick” won three awards, having been nominated 15 times for the 2018 awards season and let us not forget Guillermo del Toro, the 4 time Oscar award winning director for Shape of Water. We see the US loves this representation as more movies by women, starring women, and by people of color, starring people of color are released.
Intersection is a meeting of roads. Until now, the major highway has been white and male. But what the film community has in common is much stronger: the desire for all stories to be shared.
AND THE OSCAR GOES TO…..
Gerwig was the only woman nominated for best director—and only the fifth in Oscar history. Rachel Morrison made another huge step for women in film upon being the first woman nominated for the cinematography Oscar in history.
“In nearly every Oscar category, nominees are overwhelmingly male,” according to the Napa Register. “Three of the 24 awards [had] no female nominees at all.”
Gerwig addressed this saying:
"All the movies I loved were directed by men. Go make your movie. We need your movie. I need your movie. So go make it."
Throughout the Oscars, one common theme rang out: a desire for more voices, different faces and new stories to be told.
PROMOTE INCLUSION RIDERS
There are steps being taken by actors to ensure the diversification of casts, crews and director boards.
Michael B. Jordan, who portrayed King Killmonger in “Black Panther,” offered his support in the new movement to promote inclusion riders, which serves as “a contract clause for actors that would require filmmakers to meet diversity benchmarks in their cast and crew.”
This is a step that maintains the possibility of limiting Jordan’s career. As we have seen, the amount of directors of color and females, and female women of color in the film industry are scarce—so scarce, we know each by name. However, a risk such as this promotes the shift: the more actors who sign only with diverse leadership will stir up the need for more diverse leadership. This is amazing.
Nanjiani stated, when interviewed at the Oscars:
“Some of my favourite movies are about straight white dudes by straight white dudes. Now, straight white dudes can watch movies starring me and you [can] relate to that! It’s not that hard – I’ve done it my whole life!”
INTERSECTION: NOT AN IMPOSITION
To white and male viewership, actors and directorship, statements such as these might stir feelings of encroachment and uncomfortability—but I believe these are things we do not have the right to focus on. For the history of the world, our voices have been heard, and our stories studied, all too often at the sacrifice of others’.
The intersection of film is not an imposition. It is not a threat or an act that will bring about an influx of hate-filled films. It is a wake up call—a place for us who have been prominent in movie history to step back. What is better: the choice has already been made. We cannot fight it. Change is in process and it is selling, winning awards and breaking ceilings.
“This means so much to me. I stopped writing this movie about 20 times because I thought it was impossible.”
Peele did not believe his dream was possible because none had gone before him. Yet now, he is the owner of an Oscar—trailblazing and making a path for others whose hearts burn with untold stories just as his did.
“I thought it wasn’t gonna work, I thought no one was gonna make this movie but I kept coming back to it because... people would hear it and people would see it,” Peele continued. “So I want to dedicate this to all the people who raised my voice and let me make this movie.”
In the past, there were overwhelming themes of misrepresentation within in the film industry. There was white washing. There were all white casts. However, there seems to be a general positively connotated consensus: we are moving forward and changing through intersection—tangibly.