No one’s ever claimed that Hollywood movies reflect the breadth of society, but this year’s Oscar nominees look more like attendees of a Trump rally in South Carolina than the face of the modern American populace.
Without a single person of color nominated in any of the acting categories for the second year in a row, a firestorm of protest and counter-protest has swept across social media. Some have called for a boycott of the ceremony, while others claim that to demand recognition solely on the basis of color is reverse racism. Nevertheless, the fact remains that there were some fantastic performances by people of color that were inexplicably overlooked. The Academy Awards have never been a paradigm of diversity, it’s just that in 2016 people feel that the climate of the times should result in rainbows rather than snowstorms.
#belowthelinesowhite? Hollywood’s Rank &
With large-scale domestic manufacturing off-shored and de-unionized, Hollywood film and television production may now be the most heavily unionized private-sector industry in the American economy. I had no idea when I started in the labor movement in the 1980s that I would get my foot in the (back) door of “the business” by working with some of the entertainment industry unions and guilds. Today’s “above the line” unions include the Directors Guild, the Writers Guild and the newly-merged SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists); “below the line” unions encompass the IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees – also called the “IA”), the Teamsters and others.
Though I barely knew which end of the camera to look through, I was first hired-on for some interesting projects by IA Local 600 – the Cinematographers Guild. When three regional camera locals were consolidated in the mid-1990s, I wrote and edited mail-outs to members about the merger and,