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Slow motion: Diversity at the Oscars still a work in progress

Slow motion: Diversity at the Oscars still a work in progress
From CBC - January 24, 2018

At first glance, the 2018 Oscar contenders seemto reflect a changing tide in Hollywood.But for many, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences still has a long way to gotowardtrue diversity.

"This is a year where we have seen a lot of the wealth spread across many deserving films," according to JenYamato, film reporter for the Los AngelesTimes.

"Post #OscarsSoWhite, the academyreally aggressively tried to make its membership more inclusive and to bring in more young people, and I think we are seeing the result of that. We are seeing a wider range of movies being recognized."

And if the eventual winners' circle includes notable contenders like Jordan Peele'ssharp racial satire/horror debutGet Out, Greta Gerwig'snuanced mother-daughtertale Lady Bird or Mudboundcinematographer Rachel Morrison (the first female cinematographer ever nominated for the Oscars), "it would tell us that the industry is not closed off to recognizing diverse voices, new voices and different voices," Yamatonoted.

That said, there's still a long way to go, she pointed out.

"We should not lose sight of the fact that Hollywood has so much work to do, particularly with women, particularly with minority representation. A lot of other people are still largely left out of the conversation, left out of storytelling and left out of awards season."

Vancouver actress and writer Carmen Aguirre, for instance, decries the entertainment industry's generallack ofLatinxrepresentation.

"Isee zero or next to zero Latinx representation on the screenand when it's there, it's either a woman holding a broom or a man holding a gun, engaging in criminal behaviour," she told CBC News from Vancouver.

Though encouraged by the kudos for Mexican filmmaker GuillermodelToro, whoseThe Shape of Waterleads the Oscar race, and the foreign-language film nomination for Chilean transgender dramaA Fantastic Woman, she sees a need to be more vocal about representationin Hollywood as well as at home in Canada.

"We the Latino people havenot been as outspoken as our African-American brothersand sisters. We should take theexample from them and get as outspoken as they have. Maybe that would help change things."

Who are the storytellers?

"In some ways, looking at the list of nominations, you can see the progress:Lady Bird, amazing.Call Me By Your Name, amazing.Get Out, amazing.But those are set up against a sea of the same in Hollywood,"said RachelGiese, a writer,cultural commentator andeditor-at-large for Chatelaine magazine.

A changing industry?

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