Academy Awards remain controversial

Chase Ochsner, IV Leader Columnist

Many people know the famous question, “Who wore it best?” when it comes to describing the well-known Academy Awards. From the red carpet to the star-studded after-parties and everything in between, people everywhere tune in to watch the 89-year-old ceremony. The 2017 Academy Awards were quite a success for independent films.

Tying for the most nominations for one film is the critically-acclaimed “La La Land” (2016) with an astounding 14 nominations. The film was directed and written by Damien Chazelle, who also directed and wrote the Academy nominated film “Whiplash” (2014). “La La Land” now ties for most nominations for a film with “Titanic” (1997) and “All About Eve” (1950).

“La La Land” tells the story of Mia, who serves coffee to successful actors on the Warner Bros. studio lot, and Sebastian, a jazz-lover who dreams of opening up his own jazz club. As the story progresses, the musical numbers become more intense and so does the romance.

“La La Land” was beautifully shot. It took over a year to edit the film and Damien Chapelle even managed to close the EZ Pass ramp connecting the 110 and 105 Freeway, twice.

Other critically-acclaimed independent films are “Moonlight” (eight nominations), “Manchester by the Sea” (six nominations) and “Hell or High Water” (four nominations).

The 2016 Academy Awards brought up an important problem on the lack of diversity in minorities nominated. This idea sparked the Twitter trend #OscarSoWhite due to the second year in a row of all the nominees being Caucasian.

While this year’s Academy nominees are more diverse, a new problem arose.

The current twitter trend is #OscarSoMale based on the lack of gender diversity in nominees. Women only represent 20% of this year’s nominees. While the world is caught up on equal pay for women and men, Hollywood seems to be lacking.

As usual, people tend to blame the Academy. However, the Academy’s nominees are chosen by the Board and the winners are chosen by the members. A member is someone who works in the industry and picks the winner from his or her field.

For example, producers vote for Best Picture because producers are the recipient for the award. Instead of blaming The Academy, one should look for the source, which is the studios.

Although the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), also known as the Oscars, is less than 100 years old, the Academy has gone through numerous changes.

The Academy was founded in 1927 by Louis B. Mayer, who was serving as head at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios.

The Academy was originally called the International Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, but Mayer decided to drop “International”.

The categories during the first ceremony, which was held on May 16, 1929, included Best Picture, Best Directing—Comedy, Best Directing—Drama, Best Actor, Best Actress, and seven others. Currently, The Academy has 24 categories, which break down into four acting awards instead of two and one directorial award.

Tune in to ABC on Feb. 26 at 6:00 PM CST to see the Oscars.