The Solution to #OscarsSoWhite Only Makes the Problem Worse;
Movieguide® Awards Showcase Both Ethnic and Social Diversity
By Ted Baehr, with Tom Snyder and Ben Kayser
The recent #OscarsSoWhite controversy has upset many people, but the solutions presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences won’t fix the diversity problem. That’s because the diversity problem extends beyond race to a lack of ideological and religious diversity among the nominees. Also, Oscar voters really don’t have an objective standard by which they cast their votes.
It’s no secret that the Oscars all too often overlook Christians as well as other groups. This makes for an awards ceremony that lacks ideological and religious diversity, thereby ignoring the interests and tastes of hundreds of millions of Americans who polls consistently tell us eschew strident hard left politics. That may be why Oscar-nominated Producer Gerald Molen’s documentary “2016: Obama’s America” wasn’t even nominated despite taking in more box office cash than all 10 documentary nominees combined. It may also be why the Academy used an obscure and rarely enforced rule against lobbying as a pretext to strip an Oscar nomination from the popular faith-filled movie “Alone Yet Not Alone.”
As all Hollywood insiders know, the Academy Awards is a club. Like all cliques, insider politics and favoritism reigns. Seeming to believe that filmmakers are supposed to be politically correct, conservative movies, actors and filmmakers appear to be excluded repeatedly. Yet. faced with protests from African-American groups, the Academy’s solution is to bring in more minority voters to even the playing field. By doing this, however, they’re simply encouraging prejudicial voting based on skin color and political ideology instead of solving the root problem.
In sharp contrast, we at Movieguide® Faith & Values Awards don’t have a diversity problem, racial or cultural, because we nominate movies, TV programs and actors and actresses based on standards and principles that have nothing to do with skin color, personal politics, or how “edgy” your movie might be.
For us it’s all about how spiritually inspiring the actor or actress’s performance is and how spiritually inspiring and morally uplifting the movie is.
That’s why over the past decade nearly 40% of the winners of our Grace Awards for acting have been awarded to non-white actors and most of our nominees are mainstream movies that the average moviegoer has not only heard about but loves.
Ironically, we’ve found that when the focus is on excellent content that uplifts the human spirit, racial, ethnic and social diversity follow as surely and naturally as day follows night. And, that’s good for all Americans of all race, color, tribes, and creeds.
Note: Ted Baehr is Founder of Movieguide® and the and author of “How To Succeed in Hollywood Without Losing Your Soul.” Tom Snyder is Vice President of Movieguide®. Ben Kayser is Managing Editor of Movieguide.org. Movieguide®’s DIVERSE nominees for film, television, individual, and ensemble performances in 2015 can be enjoyed by the whole family at this year’s 24th annual awards program, Monday Feb. 22, at 4 pm Pacific Time and 7 pm Eastern Time, on The REELZChannel. For more information, please go to www.movieguideawards.com/2016-nominations.
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