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Stephen King faces backlash over comments on Oscars diversity

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kyanewest

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In yet another year of Oscar nominations that saw a paucity of recognition for women and artists of colour, the response has been almost exhausted – after all, hasn’t it all already been said?

“Congratulations to those men,” quipped Issa Rae, reading out the all-male list of nominees for best director this year – reminiscent of Natalie Portman’s introduction of the “all-male nominees” last year. People wrote opinion pieces about the stereotypical roles for which people of color are awarded and reminded us that yes, there were female directors who were good enough for the best director slot this year, too.

Stephen King took a different stance. Early on Tuesday morning, he spoke about the three Oscars categories in which he is able to nominate: best picture, adapted screenplay and original screenplay. He said that diversity is not a consideration for him when he votes as a member of the Academy. “I would never consider diversity in matters of art. Only quality. It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong,” he said on Twitter.

He has since been criticized by leading Hollywood names and authors saying his argument centers on the idea that quality and diversity are mutually exclusive. The director Ava DuVernay called King’s comments “so backward and ignorant you want to go back to bed”. The writer Roxane Gay tweeted that she was disappointed that King only believed in “quality from one demographic”.

King later tried to clarify his comments, saying that he believed in giving people a fair shot, adding: “You can’t win awards if you’re shut out of the game.”

Some have been left unsatisfied with his response. The former Obama adviser Brittany Packnett tweeted that the way we measure quality remains exclusive, and that representation falls short when white narratives are the only ones deemed quality.

She ended with a nod to the notion that ideas are not considered truly tasteful until worn on the right “type” of person – asking: “‘Ghetto until proven fashionable,’ right?”

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/jan/14/stephen-king-oscars-diversity-criticism

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I think he meant that when he votes for movies he's not going to vote for a movie just because the cast is more diverse but because the screenplay, cinematography, plot etc is well done... but the way he said it was very reckless. Maybe he didn't mean that and he really is not for diversity but this is what i'm understanding.

Thoughts? :excuseu:

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Trillion Reasons
2 minutes ago, kyanewest said:

I think he meant that when he votes for movies he's not going to vote for a movie just because the cast is more diverse but because the screenplay, cinematography, plot etc is well done...

I think, that's exactly what he meant. And I agree with this position. 

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Smcgibben

The way he worded it sounds slightly problematic, but overall I agree with what he actually means. It’s best to look at the film as a whole and not focus solely on diversity. 

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Gypsy Life

I think the meaning behind his tweet is clear as day. People who can't properly read and analyse a sentence, that's on them. Stay in school kids.

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Ryusei
5 minutes ago, Trillion Reasons said:

I think, that's exactly what he meant. And I agree with this position. 

Tbh this and while some non-nominations can be seen as serious snubs, the problem starts with the employment of actors, directors etc. not with the oscars themselves although the diversity of the voters still isn't very big and you also know it's a problem when you can exactly predict "the academy will like this". 

When there isn't much to choose from it's also harder to get chosen unfortunately. 

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nenhures

If we lived in a world where everyone gets equal opportunities and has equal chances of getting their work recognized or even financed in the first place then I would agree. Unfortunately we do not live in such world and it's reductive and naive at best or straight up ignorant at worst to look at it in such a simplistic way.

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Giorno Giovanna

I totally agree with King, let the movie, the story, acting, soundtrack, etc. speak for itself, and not expect the movie to be great just for having a diverse cast. 

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Ally Campana
16 minutes ago, nenhures said:

If we lived in a world where everyone gets equal opportunities and has equal chances of getting their work recognized or even financed in the first place then I would agree. Unfortunately we do not live in such world and it's reductive and naive at best or straight up ignorant at worse to look at it in such a simplistic way.

This. Let’s not act like everyone is given an equal chance in the film industry.

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ShayCristoforo

I think the real issue is being avoided. I agree that you should mostly judge based on quality, but the real issue is about eligibility.
The root of the problem is barrier to entry. There are barriers that prevent certain types of stories from getting noticed; or nominated.
And that's because certain stories and the ones telling/making those stories aren't granted as much merit from the start. 

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lifeasgeorge
6 minutes ago, TioBernie said:

I get what he’s saying. But who decides what’s “quality“ tho?

THIS. The issue isn’t necessarily King’s comment in voting for quality and not taking diversity into consideration. That makes sense.

The real issue is the lack of diversity in the committees/voters that decide on the nominations. They’re predominantly cis-white males which means the nominations are being made strongly through the lens of only one background. That’s why women and POC find it hard to receive nominations in the first place. It’s the way these institutions are set up so that it’s harder for minorities to be deemed as “quality.”

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Faysalaaa

Atleast they should have a good argument.. their argument is they should nominate Jlo :sharon:

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TylerBR97
52 minutes ago, kyanewest said:

I think he meant that when he votes for movies he's not going to vote for a movie just because the cast is more diverse but because the screenplay, cinematography, plot etc is well done... but the way he said it was very reckless. Maybe he didn't mean that and he really is not for diversity but this is what i'm understanding.

I’m sure this is what he meant and that’s exactly what I interpreted from it. I fully agree

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