One of the top entertainment stories of the month is the controversial Oscar’s Award nominees which, after the names had been released, put the Academy under a lot of scrutiny. The allegations, including the ‘lack of ethnic diversity’ in the nominees, has led to dramatic changes in the award requirements which will now see more actors of colour receiving the awards. The question on everyone’s mind now is ‘was that really necessary?’ The clear cut answer is absolutely not.
An Oscar is awarded to an actor, actress, screenwriter or story writer who the Academy believes has performed in one of the best movies over a year period. The categories extend to all movies and actor/actresses, and does not restrict itself to any criteria such as race or gender. Despite there being more Caucasian actors and actresses nominated, this does not mean they were chosen for their race, rather than their acting ability. In contrast, these actors were considered to be some of the best actors in that year’s films and deserve to be nominated just as much as any person of another race. Believing that there is another reason is simply false.
If more non-Caucasian actors were in films in roles that specified no particular race, there would realistically be no change in Oscar nominations. These roles are often filled by Caucasian actors because of their ability to perform the character well, not because of their race. If an African-American actor was to perform better than the Caucasian when competing for a role, they would get it not the other competitor. The fact that they are white has NO influence on their ability to act in the role.
If the film industry was to include more movies about historical events, there may possibly be more roles for a coloured person (if the race is specified.) Movies about enslavement of the African people and the lives of men like Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama and Martin Luther King Jr. have all won awards in the past for the achievements of black actors, and if more of these types of movies could be included it may really benefit the film industry.
From this, it can be shown that changing the rules for Oscar nominations was an unnecessary and excessive step, as the people who have achieved one of these awards has won based on their acting performance, not their race.