It was refreshing to watch the 86th Annual Academy Awards. I normally don’t watch acting award shows because I’m far from a movie/TV show buff; I haven’t seen most of the movies nominated for Oscars. This year I decided to tune in because “12 Years a Slave” was up for several awards, as well as Hollywood Sweetheart Lupita Nyong’o and Virginia’s very own Pharrell Williams. I haven’t seen “12 Years a Slave” [but now I must].
My favorite moment of the night was seeing Lupita win Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Her speech when she won was the most heart-warming part of the night; she was so humbled, so appreciative, and so very ecstatic. She told us that “no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid” and I love her for this. She gave us all hope and inspired anyone out there chasing a dream to keep pushing. As a black woman there’s no denying the racial barriers we have to fight through. Research conducted in 2012 by the Los Angeles Times reports that 94% of Oscar voters are white and 77% are male; a mere 2% were black and 2% were hispanic. In psychology, you learn about similar-to-me bias, in which people are more likely to favor those who look like them. With this being the case often unconsciously, Oscar voters are more likely to vote for those similar to them [whites in this case]. This bias is one of the main reasons I don’t often watch awards shows such as the Oscars. But I decided to watch this year and I was pleasantly surprised. “12 Years a Slave” took home Best Picture (the most prestigious award of the night) and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Another exciting win was Robert Lopez, who won for Best Original Song and became the youngest EGOT winner [a person who possesses a Tony, an Emmy, a Grammy and an Oscar]. I can’t lie about the fact that I was rooting for Pharrell because “Happy” is literally the most amazing song out right now (puts you in an undeniably good mood). Not only was I rooting for Pharrell because of his amazing song, but because he is also a Virginia native from the 757 area.
All in all, the show was great, Ellen was hilarious and I am hopeful after seeing more colors being recognized. Slowly but surely racial barriers are eroding in the academy, which is promising news for young aspiring actors of all shades.
*Forgot to mention a great victory for Mexican Alfonso Cuaron!