The Corner

The Oscars: Two Options

Here we go again. I quote a news report:

Producers of the upcoming Academy Awards telecast may be caught between Chris Rock and a hard place.

The comic actor is facing pressure to bow out as host of the 88th annual Oscars — with less than six weeks to go before the Feb. 28 telecast — over the mounting calls for boycotting the awards in response to the lack of diversity among the Oscar nominees.

On Monday’s holiday celebrating Martin Luther King Jr., both Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith announced they would not be attending the Academy Awards to protest a second straight year without a black actor receiving a single nomination.

I wrote an essay about this a year ago — or an essay sparked by the same issue, namely the Oscars and race. It was called “A Tragic National Pastime: America and its ‘race rows.’” If you’d like to read it, go here. I won’t attempt to recapitulate the piece. But here is a paragraph:

I see only two solutions to Oscar-related “race rows”: equanimity in the face of disappointment, or quotas. Yes, quotas, whether explicit or implicit. These would be insulting and outrageous, of course: “black slots” at the Oscars. The very notion is repulsive. But the other route, equanimity in the face of disappointment, can be difficult, for all sorts of people.

Honestly, I see no other way — no way out but those two. There was once a movie, No Way Out. Had a limo scene.

But I digress …

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