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Tom Tangney

The Oscars don’t have a problem, Hollywood does

Will Smith, left, and Jada Pinkett Smith attended the Oscars in March of 2015, but have said they are boycotting the 2016 awards because of the all-white acting nominees. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Tom Tangney will not be boycotting this year’s Oscars.

“I’m not saying there aren’t cultural biases in the academy,” Tangney recent said on KIRO Radio’s Seattle’s Morning News. “However, it’s not that the Oscars have done a terrible job recognizing black actors.”

The Oscars, the film industry’s annual Academy Awards, have claimed headlines recently and not because of the discussion over nominations. Rather, some have objected to the fact that African American actors and actresses were not nominated this year &#8212 specifically actress Jada Pinkett Smith and her husband, Will Smith. The two are boycotting the Oscars and are asking for others to do the same.

But film critic Tangney says placing blame on the Oscars is pointing the finger in the wrong direction.

“I’m a good, social Liberal. I’m as knee-jerk of a Liberal as you can get, so I love the idea that we need to be more open to diversity than we are, whether it’s Microsoft and the high tech industry or the movies,” Tangney said. “But to complain about the awards in the movie industry is really backwards.”

“It’s basically a numbers game &#8212 94 percent of the academy is white, only 2 percent of the academy is black,” he said. “Let’s imagine 94 percent of the movies are white oriented, and 2 percent of the movies made are black oriented. If you are talking about the cream of the crop, what are the chances that 2 percent would be represented in the top eight or five best actor or actress nominees?”

Tangney notes that Denzel Washington, Jamie Foxx, and Forest Whitaker have all received Oscars within the past 10 years. Lupita Nyong’o, Octavia Spencer, Jennifer Hudson, and Mo’Nique have as well.

“All in the last 10 years, that’s higher representation than the percent of the number of black people in the Academy,” Tangney said.

“Remember, it was only two years that “12 Years a Slave” won best picture, screenplay, best supporting actress, and all were African American recipients,” he said.

The issue that should really be talked about is the lack of diversity in Hollywood where films start &#8212 not the end result which is the awards, Tangney said.

“Hispanics are even less represented than African Americans. So you do need to change the industry,” he said, further noting that 77 percent of academy voters are male.

“Fair is fair. We need to change the industry. Don’t complain about the voting,” Tangney said.

Tom Tangney on KIRO Radio


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