The nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards were revealed last week, ahead of next month’s glittering ceremony in La La land – and it seems not much has changed in the new decade.
Once again, the organisers of the Oscars have come under fire for a lack of diversity while drawing up their list of the crème-de-la-crème in film, with not a single woman nominated for the coveted Best Director award. American actress Issa Rae summed up the disappointment when she announced the nominees, quipping stony-faced, “Congratulations to ALL those men”.
The lack of women and people of colour being nominated for Oscars really highlights the extent to which there are still so many industries and careers dominated by white men, especially at the top, where all the major decisions are made.
It’s an issue I see regularly in the sporting world, too.
In recent years I have been on a number of judging panels for sporting awards, and usually the group is very male-dominant.
Yes, there may be one person representing parasport and perhaps one woman, but it’s often just tokenism and when you are the minority voice in a large group, it really is quite hard to make your presence felt or have an impact on the outcome.
So, when it comes to nominations for such high-profile awards as the Oscars, I would be very interested in finding out the make-up of the judging panel.
I must admit, the only film I have watched from the nominee list is also the same one that has picked up the most recognition.
On the flight to Australia a couple of weeks ago I watched Joker, which has received 11 nominations, including nods for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor.
Joaquin Phoenix stars as the infamous villain, and I found the film to be incredibly powerful, so it doesn’t surprise me at all that the Academy chose to shower the cast and crew with so much praise.
But, as well as being a remarkable story, I found the film was important for another reason outside of simply entertaining the masses.
It really showcases the complex challenges faced by people who have mental health issues – especially the lack of understanding from wider society.
The storyline, and Phoenix’s excellent portrayal, hammers home just how many issues can be traced back to traumatic events from childhood and how important it is to receive the right counselling.
We really are all products of our environment, and that really rang true for me towards the end of the movie when Joker discovers the true – and incredibly harrowing – story of his past.
There is more awareness and understanding than ever before around mental health but there’s still a long way to go, so films like Joker will really help.
Perhaps if Joker takes home a heavy load of gongs, it will make a big impression on an issue that is no laughing matter.