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January 21

To Popcorn Guzzlers and Netflix Devotees: Skip the Oscars and Get a Bigger Picture

By Miista Blogs

After the fluttering controversy of the Oscars earlier this month, what appeared in the Academy before as black and white has, in fact, blurred into quite a grey area. 

After no people of colour were nominated for any of the top awards two years in a row at the Academy Awards, it didn't go unnoticed. From celebrities to President Obama, blacks, whites, and minorities alike have responded the nomination process. The hashtag, #OscarsSoWhite trended on Twitter, snowballing the problem into change. 

"I think that when everyone's story is told then that makes for better art...I think as a whole the industry should do what every other industry should do, which is to look for talent, provide opportunity to everybody...And I think the Oscar debate is really just an expression of this broader issue. Are we making sure that everybody is getting a fair shot?" Obama poses. 

US President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the U.S. auto industry at the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources in Detroit, Michigan January 20, 2016. File photo
Image by: JONATHAN ERNST / REUTERS

When digging up the roots of the race issue (specifically from the Oscars) it became apparent the members of the Academy were more outdated than that neglected mouldy lemon in the back of your fridge. According to a 2014 survey of the group, 94% of the actively voting members were white and of those, 76% were white males.

In comparison to the sociodemographic models of the US, that is a horrendous misrepresentation of the population and those actors and actresses that deserve the opportunity to be considered. Though this problem begins with the membership eligibility: a candidate must be working in or on theatrically-released films and be sponsored by two existing members - resulting in an in-bread academy of rich, white male connections... In the statement issued by the President of the Academy, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, their criteria used to satisfy their audience; it's only a new concern to have members from all walks of life... 

 

So, how does one begin to diversify the Academy? One doesn't, and simply says fuck the Academy only to discover something better and more current. One organisation looking for a broader spectrum: Global Inheritance and the Bigger Picture Awards Ceremony

Since 2007, the Bigger Picture Awards has considered popcorn guzzlers and the make out row to movies that "spotlight key issues and provide action points" for relevant issues around the globe. 

"Our mission is to increase viewership and drive circulation so these important films reach the widest audience. Films are nominated based on their message and ability to inspire audiences long after the film ends." 

 

In their nine years of expertise, the non-profit has reached over three million viewers and promoted 85 films from independent cinematographers. A non-bias Californian set up, Global Inheritance has created a film democracy, modelled after the real foundations of America. Among the scope of last year's winners stands Selma, Ava DuVernay's profile of Martin Luther King Jr. and his road to freedom, Hanna Ranch, a tale of an eco-friendly cowboy, and Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain, where one of the most tragic industrial disasters in Bhopal, India unfolds through this tragic ninety-six minute account.

 

In the 2016 drawings, The Salt Of The Earth (which we did an in depth post about a couple months back) a true story of Sebastião Salgado, stands amongst Beasts of No Nation, Mad Max, Human, and many other provocative films. 

Photo by Sebastião Salgado. 

When categories are split sheerly from 'Best Cinematography' to 'Best Feature Film Based On Real Events' and 'Best Conservation Documentary', diversification from tailored box office favourites is far easier. 

Instead of gearing up for the red carpet pre-show, cast your vote towards a bigger picture. You can follow the Bigger Picture Awards through Global Inheritance's Instagram, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, or YouTube, and can sign up to help this amazing non-profit profit here.

*Also, full disclosure: their bin game is so strong. Each year the organisation holds a contest for the artists to decorate giant recycling bins at Coachella. The entries give a brilliant opportunity to get trashed for a cause.  

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