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Minorities at the Oscars

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  • rvsjr
    Indian Comics Irregular #78 From the LA Times, 3/25/02, on the Oscars Denzel Washington and Halle Berry won: Hollywood is a difficult industry for nonwhites.
    Message 1 of 1 , May 6, 2002
      Indian Comics Irregular #78

      From the LA Times, 3/25/02, on the Oscars Denzel Washington and Halle
      Berry won:

      Hollywood is a difficult industry for nonwhites. From 1990
      through 2000, only 21 nonwhites (including Asians, Native
      Americans, African Americans and Latinos), or about 9% of the
      Oscar nominees, were included in the top five categories: leading
      actor, leading actress, supporting actor, supporting actress and
      director. Only two--Whoopi Goldberg (supporting actress
      in "Ghost") and Cuba Gooding Jr. (supporting actor in "Jerry
      Maguire")--won.

      Only time will tell if these awards result in concrete changes for
      the industry as a whole, said Todd Boyd, professor of critical
      studies at the USC School of Cinema-Television. "We are way
      premature in potentially celebrating these victories as some
      watershed event in Hollywood," he said.

      Tolkien's Multiculturalism

      An article on "The Lord of the Rings" quotes Tolkien fan Jane Chance,
      an associate professor of English at Rice University. From the LA
      Times, 10/21/01:

      "I have taught it several ways, but lately I see it as a
      multicultural work," she said. "As Frodo moves along, he
      encounters different species and needs to embrace them, to create
      an international world." In the book, she added, there are many
      examples of age-old prejudices being set aside for the common
      good--among the fellowship, an elf and a dwarf, traditional
      enemies, form an unlikely friendship.

      Elves and hobbits and dwarves, oh my! It seems there are
      multicultural lessons everywhere you look for them. And note the
      popularity of the movie version. Once again, multiculturalism sells.

      Truth: The Cat's Meow

      The movie "The Cat's Meow" fictionalizes how a suspicious death
      occurred on the yacht of publisher William Randolph Hearst. From an
      article on the movie in the LA Times, 4/12/02:

      For historian David Nasaw, author of "The Chief: The Life of
      William Randolph Hearst," this kind of playing fast and loose with
      the facts is infuriating. Though Nasaw hasn't seen the film, it
      doesn't hold any interest for him.

      "It makes my skin crawl," he says. "It's not blending fact and
      fiction; it's saying things they know to be untrue. You can't
      libel the dead, but you can libel history. We work so damn hard
      to teach students the difference between history and myth. And
      Hollywood forgets it all. And we end up battling images; film
      carries with it the presumption of reality. I think that's why a
      lot of people got upset over 'A Beautiful Mind.' It carries with
      it the notion that this is what happened."

      Proving the Point

      From Steve Harvey's column in the LA Times, c. 1995-96:

      When a portrait of a crinkly eyed Smith was shown on "Biography,"
      our daughter Sarah, age 7, said, "Oh, my God! He's got a beard!
      He's almost bald!"

      When a portrait of the Indian princess was shown, Sarah took one
      look at the somewhat plump, round-faced child and declared: "That
      is not Pocahontas."

      During one commercial break, however, she exclaimed, "There they
      are," pointing triumphantly to the screen, where the voluptuous
      Indian maiden and surfer John were indeed frolicking. It was an
      ad for the animated movie.

      Native Cartoonist Online

      Marty Two Bulls (Oglala Lakota) does a weekly editorial cartoon for
      the Indian Country Today newspaper. Now you can see his work in my
      daily weblog, "News from a Multicultural Perspective"
      (http://www.bluecorncomics.com/news.htm). Good stuff!

      Rob Schmidt
      Blue Corn Comics
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