When #oscarssowhite happened my first reaction was to ask why. Why are the Oscars so white? Is it because the folks at the academy are racist? Is it because black actors just didn’t have any shining performances? Did the white actors just have shinier performances? I don’t know because I have only watched three of the movies heavily nominated this year and one of them was Star Wars. I have my doubts, but maybe black actors weren’t among the best this year and the last thing I want is the academy nominating a black person just to nominate a black person.
Many have pointed out that it’s not really the academy that’s the problem but more so the casting directors and producers. Black people can only seem to get roles as slaves, other famous black people, or black stereotypes (the dude from the hood, the poor maid etc.). Roles where race shouldn’t really matter almost always go to the white guy. This is a point that has already been made and not one I am trying to make now.
The internet loves Leonardo DiCaprio. He finally got that Oscar and every social media platform blew up in support of his achievements. I have to admit that Leo is probably one of my favorite villains of all time (Django Unchained) but holy crap. Why are people so incredibly passionate about him? None of my personal favorite movies feature Leo and there are plenty of other actors with just as much star power who also haven’t won an Oscar. I dug a little deeper to find out what makes him so alluring.
I learned that Leo seems like an OK guy. He produced a documentary I love (Cowspiracy) and is well known as a planet earth champion and mentioned climate change in his acceptance speech. I also learned that women LOVE Leo. And he loves them. Only if they’re between the age of 20 and 25 though. Mind you he’s 41. Leo hasn’t been in a movie directed by a woman in two decades. He isn’t doing anything illegal and I fully support his right to date blonde super models but I can’t say I found this attractive.
One quick Google search on Leo DiCaprio led me to more questions. In the past two months I have seen an obsessive amount of content on my news feeds about how Leo DiCaprio is a cinematic gift and should’ve won an Oscar eons ago. I can list nearly all the movies he has starred in though I’ve only seen about half. Thanks Facebook. But what Facebook hasn’t told me is that there is such a huge disparity between female and male directors that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commision launched a formal investigation on Hollywood. No one seems concerned about this issue at all but if Leo hadn’t’ve won last night all hell would’ve broken loose.
I don’t hate Leo and I think he is a talented guy. He helps prove that people have the ability to be incredibly passionate about something. What concerns me is that he also shows that what people choose to be passionate about seems a little backwards. Whether it’s the Seahawks, Leo or a BuzzFood post (God I love that shit) people are quick to share what’s trendy and shallow. Rooting for the thing that everyone is rooting for is easy but it’s at these moments of extreme public trend that I start to question things. There is serious danger when groups of people all start thinking alike.
I mentioned a point earlier but I don’t really have one. I’m not trying to tell anyone what to think about, I just want them to think. Question your heroes. Get passionate about something that makes you uncomfortable or requires sacrifice. And for God’s sake, don’t post a sexy photo of Leo with a cigarette in his mouth and then go on about how he’s going to save our planet. Cigarette butts are the most commonly littered item in the world, 28% of sand litter is caused by cigarettes and each year 600 million trees are destroyed to provide fuel to dry tobacco. The Oscars left me angry about sexism and frustrated about race issues but ultimately I was more concerned about the way humans go to extreme heights to glorify other humans that are no more perfect than themselves.