Last week saw the announcement of this year’s Oscar nominees. There was some controversy surrounding the academy’s selection of directors and actors as the nominees are all white. This was seen as a snub by Hollywood as they overlooked the great talent coming from black director Ava DuVernay (Selma) and the yellow actors from The Lego Movie, which did not even see a Best Picture nomination.
Many felt that this exclusion was outrageous and Reverend Al Sharpton plans to sit down with academy members this week to discuss the role of black and minority people in the film industry.
With Hollywood’s preference for white film makers, is there a solution that can be reached in order to get recognition for black people in the film industry? One proposal has been gaining traction, and this is to bring back into style the ‘blackface’ performance.
Blackface was quite popular in the golden age of film making and the first ever mainstream ‘talkie’ The Jazz Singer (1927), featured Al Jolson – a white actor – putting on black face paint and performing a musical.
For decades, this was the closes that Hollywood got to having a black actor in a leading role and while seen as racist now, it was all the rage back then when racism did not exist.
If more films in the modern era emulated this lost art form, would it give rise to black filmmakers/actors getting more recognition? One could make a very compelling argument that Schindler’s List would have been riveting had Liam Neeson done the role in blackface.
Let us know what you think in the comments below, this is certainly a topic that will dominate the film industry in 2015