film, storytelling

The Limits of the Academy and Storytelling

So, much has been made about how this may be the least diverse group of Oscar nominees yet in racial terms.
Half in the Bag, though, pointed out another problem: All of the Oscar nominated films are about men. Strange, impacted men with a unique view of the world and a problem: Turing, Michael Keaton in Birdman, Stephen Hawking.

It’s easy to just say, “The Academy is overwhelmingly represented by white males”.

But why do we as a society not only struggle to tell the stories of non-white, non-male people, but also keep on patronizing such films?

Narratives both play with our existing sense of reality and can act as a pinion to get to a new one. A good story can make us question reality; a great story can change our world.

So when we keep telling the same kinds of narratives, about the same kind of people, it limits our horizons. It shows that we’re comfortable with a particular way of thinking and aren’t demanding something better.

I know how tempting it is to tell the stories of great men, or weird men, or men with a problem. But it goes beyond art when we can’t think about the stories of women, and the stories of people of color, and the stories of people from before the 19th century, and the stories of people who aren’t people.

There are so many people who have been silenced. Maybe we should find a way of speaking for them in art.