thi.nguyen

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#OscarSoWhite Is Not the Problem

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Yup. The Oscars is only a distraction from the REAL problem. The studios and the execs, the gatekeepers that decide which movies to greenlight and budget every year are the ones to blame. The Oscars are merely a reflection of what is out there and yes, while most people nominated are white, it’s because the pool is largely comprised of movies with white actors. The movies that campaign for their actors to win awards are the ones with the most budget for sending out screeners, getting ppl to notice, to watch and to remember those films. Although there were a number of films with Black actors this year, movies such as Tangerine and Dope that were very well acted, were barely mentioned in the media, much less pushed in the faces of old white men of the academy to be in their radar. Unless, of course the movie is about some form of slavery, in which a feeling of white guilt is felt and only then does the movie get nominated. Check video below.

Now how does this relate to me? It is 2016, fucking 2016 where we have the internet, self driving cars, phones that act as mini computers and cameras that fit in our pockets, where in major metropolitan cities, cultured cities, are filled with a diverse, eclectic mix of human beings — Black, Latinos, Asian, Native American, etc. It is 2016 where most if not all of these ethnicities have been around much much longer than the fast and ever evolving technology listed above. Machines are evolving more so than human beings??? And yet, Black people are barely being recognized now??? WHAT THE FUCK. Blacks make up about 13% of the U.S.’s population and Latinos make up about 17% of the U.S.’s population. Check out the census here, circa 2014. If Blacks are the minority that is most represented in Hollywood out of all the other minorities, the next up is going to be Latinos, and then, only then is it going to be Asian. But it is 2016, Blacks are in movies but are not recognized, Latinos are still playing stereotypes and wow, Asians just got their first and only family sitcom (Fresh off the Boat) since circa 10 years ago (All American Girl).

I saw The Revenant recently. I’m glad that there were real Native Americans in the movie. However, it made me uncomfortable when Leo said in his speech that he would share his Golden Globe award with the first nations and indigenous people. That’s as if a man were to pocket his ballooned paycheck yet demand equal pay for women. Leo is sharing his award, but is he going to share the award money he gets (3 million bump) if he wins the Oscar? And what about this option? Don’t just say something, DO SOMETHING. Leo has the clout, the power to maybe fund, greenlight movies that have a Native lead, instead of taking the lead himself. He has the power to promote such movies and get them in theaters, get them seen! There’s nothing wrong with making a movie about a guy that survives a bear attack and seeks revenge on the men that left him for dead, fine. But couldn’t an equally good movie be made about the Native Americans finding their kidnapped daughter from the French fur trappers as well? This was the B story of that movie when it could’ve been the A story.

Hollywood is changing yes. But at a pace that my impatient heart dies every time I see a predominantly white cast.  I FUCKING CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE. It’s at a point where it doesn’t make me angry or frustrated, it makes me sad. A strong feeling of despair that I might not ever ever get on the screen, not even for a role such as Student #2. How pathetic.

Let’s add on that from the auditions I do get, one was for a pilot that was basically describing me (20s, Vietnamese, teacher, mega watt smile), in which my audition was cut short to 5 minutes because the girl that auditioned before me was a well known name (she was half Vietnamese, half Black and looked Black, ugh) who got to audition for 20 minutes. Or I had another audition for a movie where the character was fresh from Viet Nam, where she was described as fierce and emotional, so I played her dramatically, only to find out a month later, TODAY, that the tone of the movie is a comedy. Acting is a numbers game where the more auditions you have, the more chances you’ll book. You’ll also have more room to blow auditions because another one will come. But what if it doesn’t come, or you have to wait an entire year for the next? What if I can’t increase the number of my auditions because there is NO DEMAND for my look.

And then I look at Master of None:

Hah, our stories are kinda fresh and original now.

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Author: MsThiNguyen

Thi Nguyen likes Netflix on rainy days, fervent discussions on crime mysteries and anything Star Wars. She is highly inspired to learn from all walks of life and is driven to work with passionate and creative people. Check out her creative process/progress and her videos at www.msthinguyen.com.

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