The full list of Oscar nominees was announced this morning, and there’s a lot of good and bad things to say about them. Unsurprisingly, La La Land swept with 14 nominations, because white people in Hollywood love movies about white people in Hollywood. But the other subject making headlines today is just how many nominations there are for people of color: Moonlight received 8 nominations, while Fences received 4 and Hidden Figures received 3. Here they are:
Ruth Negga (Loving) for Best Actress
Denzel Washington (Fences) for Best Actor
Viola Davis (Fences), Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures) and Naomie Harris (Moonlight) for Best Supporting Actress
Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) and Dev Patel (Lion) for Best Supporting Actor
Barry Jenkins for Best Director (Moonlight)
Movies that put black people at the center were also nominated for other awards:
Moonlight and Hidden Figures for Best Picture
O.J.: Made In America, 13th, and I Am Not Your Negro for Best Documentary
Moonlight, Fences and Hidden Figures for Best Adapted Screenplay
While people are pointing out other actors of color who were snubbed (Taraji!), this is a huge change from recent years. In 2015 and 2016, ZERO people of color were nominated in the acting and directing categories.
However, there are two nominees with allegations of violence against women against them, and we need to talk about that, too.
As we’ve previously written about, two separate women who worked with him on the mockumentary I’m Still Here accused Casey Affleck of sexual harassment in 2010, and some of the claims against him sound more like assault than harassment.
Producer Amanda White said that Affleck ordered another crew member to show her his penis, and that Affleck also attempted to get her to stay in a hotel room with him, “grab[bing] her in a hostile manner in an effort to intimidate her” when she said no.
Cinematographer Magdalena Gorka said that Affleck climbed into her bed with her and groped her while she was asleep. She called the way Affleck treated her on set “the most traumatizing of her career.”
And then there’s Mel Gibson, who is nominated for Best Director for his movie Hacksaw Ridge. Many people remember Gibson’s racist, sexist rant after being arrested for drunk driving, which temporarily tanked his career in 2006. But in 2010, another taped rant went public, this one of Gibson ranting at and threatening his ex-wife Oksana Grigorieva, using sexist and racist language like “You look like a bitch in heat, and if you get raped by a pack of n*****s, it will be your fault.” During their divorce, Grigorieva accused Gibson of domestic violence and received a restraining order against him; the LA County Sheriff’s Department also undertook a domestic violence investigation. Gibson eventually pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor battery charge. In a 2010 interview, Grigorieva said:
"[Gibson] assaulted me while I was still holding the baby in my arms. I forgave him in a couple of weeks' time after the first, you know, severe beating that, you know, he struck me twice with his fist and then he was choking me and whilst I was holding [the baby] Lucia and not protecting myself. Then we went on towards the pool and he had been screaming and yelling and then he told us, you know, to get the 'f' out and went to get the gun. And I asked my [12-year-old] son to get in the car and that's how we left the 6th of January and from then on every day he was apologizing."
For many, these nominations are a sign of how far Hollywood has to go before truly being welcome to anyone who’s not a straight, white man. Although the nominations for Moonlight, Hidden Figures and Fences are well deserved, the nominations prove that Hollywood is still a place where straight, white men with harassment, assault, and abuse allegations can triumph over anyone else.
Top photo: Hidden Figures
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