The 2002 Oscars Were Reduced To Racism

The March 25, Los Angeles Times headline reads: "The color barrier is broken as two African Americans win top acting honors". What color barrier? I thought these awards were for best actors within the industry.

The 2002 Oscars Were Reduced To Racism

March 25, 2002

By Howard Galganov

I watched the Academy awards last night, March 24, 2002, right up to the bitter end, near 1:00 am. And I was not impressed.

I was not impressed with the overall presentation, and not with Whoopi Goldberg either. She was not all that funny, and made too many remarks about race, which were more about how she felt, rather than about light hearted humor.

Denzel Washington has been quite bitter about not winning the Oscar for Best Actor in his portrayal of Hurricane Carter. Unfortunately for him, he was up against someone else who was equally as good, and in the eyes of the majority; better. That’s the way it goes.

I can understand how disappointing it must feel not to win when you know how good your performance really was. But there can be only one winner. What I can not understand, is why someone who is so talented, and who appears to be so thoughtful as Denzel Washington, could openly accuse the Academy of being racist.

And that’s the way the evening went last night, with innuendo after innuendo by Black actors, more or less accusing the Academy of being anti-Black.

When Halle Berry accepted her award, amongst the unrestrained tears and sobs of joy, she couldn’t stop shouting out how wonderful she felt for opening the door for other Black Actors to win comparable Oscars. As if the doors were ever closed.

Today’s (March 25) Los Angeles Times headline reads: “The color barrier is broken as two African Americans win top acting honors”. What color barrier? I thought these awards were for best actors within the industry. I didn’t realize there was a color or race competition.

There is no industry or institution in the world that has ever come close to doing as much for minorities, as has the American Movie Industry. So much so, that it has been a constant target of racists and red-necks.

Hollywood has defied institutional racism of established American governments, and ultra conservative social leaders. Hollywood directors lifted the veil of “respectful” discrimination, and exposed the ugliness of racism in the USA and around the world.

And no one did more to further the equal rights of America’s Black community, than Hollywood producers and directors, including all the Black civil rights leaders combined.

Without Hollywood, the “American Story” of discrimination would never have been told. And the American Black community, as well as all other communities would be the horrible losers for it.

Hollywood, through its predominantly white writers, directors, producers and financiers used the silver screen to expose and vilify racism: and battle against it.

I am an avid movie-goer. And I have my own preferences, just like everyone else. I wanted Nicole Kidman to win for Best Actress, and Russel Crowe to win for Best Actor. Not because they are white. But; because they did the best job. At least in my opinion.

Their two movies, Moulin Rouge, and A Beautiful Mind were nominated for virtually everything including Best Pictures. Yet; neither Halle Berry’s, nor Denzel Washington’s movies were nominated for Best Picture. And usually, when a movie is nominated for Best Picture, it is most often because the leading actors are stupendous.

So, I have to ask this one question. If neither of the two winning actors were able to carry their movies to the Best Movie category, why would they be chosen over the two actors who did? I think the answer is reverse discrimination. Hollywood was just too politically correct.

This is not to say or suggest that either Halle Berry or Denzel Washington are not great actors. They are.

If Black actors have not won any Best Actor awards. Perhaps it is because they do not appear in the type of movies that usually win those awards. Or, perhaps it is because there are so many fewer dramatic Black actors. Or, because there are too few Black producers and directors. Or, perhaps when Black actors have been nominated, they were up against better movies.

There are a host of reasons why Black actors might have not won any Best Actor Awards until now. But; the one reason I reject totally out of hand; is endemic discrimination in Hollywood at the Academy Awards.

What Whoopi Goldberg, Denzel Washington and Halle Berry did in their overt charges of discrimination, was to diminish the real reason for winning an Oscar, which is acting ability.

If the Academy Awards were open only to White actors, this would be an obscenity, and a reason to be pissed. But; it is not. The Academy Awards is open to everyone, regardless of color, race, language or national origin. And to suggest otherwise, is in itself, an obscenity.

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One Comment

  1. Howard….what an amazing article. Thank you so much for what you do. In fact, you’ve even (over the years) taught me things about my own country (America) that I’d either overlooked or never grasped. Keep up the great work. It enhances my life tremendously and makes me work even harder, in my own small way, to do my part in helping to try to get this great nation back on her feet.

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