Five Things You Might Not Know About the Oscars

As the Oscars quickly approach, film enthusiasts from around the country scurry to see each nominated film before the Academy celebrates their 88th awards show this Sunday. As dedicated as many of these fans may be, there is still quite a bit of factors that make the Oscars what they are today. Many views do not realize just how discriminating the Academy can be.

Dr. Sidney Watson, who has taught Topics in Film at Oklahoma Baptist University says, “Both women and minorities face extra challenges…” With these concerns in mind, I present you with five things you might not know about the Oscars listed below.

1. The people who make up the Academy are also those who vote every year. Of the approximate 6,000 voters, 93% of them are white. Alongside this, 70% of them are middle-aged to older men. Unfortunately, these numbers make it painfully clear who dominates the Oscars and how they play out.

2. As infuriating as it is, several of these voters don’t even watch the films they are meant to be voting for. In fact, it is not uncommon for the household maids to watch the films and simply provide their own opinion. Is this really how the Academy should be run? If these voters, who have been chosen to participate in such an important Hollywood event don’t care enough to watch the nominated films, then why should average audiences care enough to watch them?

3. It is no secret that women have not and are not dominating the goings on in Hollywood. But did you know that the value of women in Hollywood has plummeted significantly since the Oscars first became successful in 1928? Not only were women in Hollywood not respected then, but now they have had to climb the ladder of respect yet again. Thankfully, the Academy has since made a vow to be more inclusive when it comes to women.

4. It has been speculated for years, but has finally been proven: There is in fact a formula for success at the Oscars. Statistics have said that if a 45 year old male or a 38 year old female stars in a film that is approximately 140 minutes long, then they are more likely to win an Oscar. These numbers are based off the average ages of winners from the last half century. If these statistics are accurate, it would appear that audiences—and voters, are only looking at a specific category of actors. So again, why should others even bother in attempting to get nominated?

5. Finally, although it may seem as though the actors who were nominated but do not win walk away empty-handed, do not be fooled. Each nominee that does not win still receives a goodie bag to take home with them. Now this is not your simply birthday party goodie bag filled with small plastic toys and candy. Each goodie bag given is worth about $125,000 dollars. These bags can be filled with anything from jewelry to gift certificates and getaways.

With these facts in mind, it’s interesting to consider how our society views the Oscars, and other awards shows like this.

“I suppose I have mixed feelings about awards shows,” says Watson, “I think it’s great that they bring attention to films…But I’m also sensitive to the fact that minorities are often overlooked or rewarded only for certain types of roles.”

Another opinion on this issue haunts readers when Huffington Post writer, Brennan Williams says, “For 87 years, the Oscars have been a celebration of filmmaking,” Williams clearly states, “And the message it puts across, however unintentionally, is hard to miss: Certain voices matter more than others.”

As a huge fan of the Oscars, it’s disappointing to learn about the discrimination and favoritism that occurs behind the scenes of this grand event. It’s interesting to discover what really goes into the people, things, and events that society celebrates. Perhaps people should reconsider what it is they spend their time watch and supporting.

Image: “Oscar” by Craig Piersma

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 11.50.13 AM


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