Alejandro G. Iñarritu just made Oscar history. ‘The Revenant’ filmmaker took home the Academy Award for Best Director on Sunday, the third time in the awards’ history a director has won in two consecutive years. Joseph L. Mankiewicz was the last director to win the award back-to-back in 1950 and 1951, following John Ford’s ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ and ‘How Green Was My Valley’ wins in 1941 and 1942, respectively.
There’s not shortage of controversy around this year’s Oscars. But there is a shortage of roles for people of color in Hollywood — or at least that’s the argument that tends to get made by those who think that it’s not fair to blame the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for selecting an all-white field of acting nominees (for the second year in a row). The fault, they claim, lies with the Hollywood filmmakers who don’t make opportunities for actors of color in the first place. The system of honoring actors is merely a reflection, supposedly, of the larger system of moviemaking, and all its flaws.
In a Variety exclusive late on Friday, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences announced that they had dumped two of the five scheduled performances of the Best Original Song nominees from this Sunday’s upcoming telecast. Ordinarily, the news that the notoriously lengthy Oscar ceremony would be shortened in any way at all would be cause for celebration, but the particulars of this decision should give readers pause. It’s true that the song performances can be the most time-consuming parts of the show, and though they’re definitely the least necessary, it’s some real bull-tonky that the show would appear only to cut the performances without adequate star-power behind them.