Despite Moonlight's Oscar Nominations, Hollywood Is Still Racist

Courtesy of A24

This must be the year of the black movie. The Miami-made film Moonlight is nominated for eight Oscars at this Sunday's ceremony.

But Hollywood has a long way to go before it can claim that African-American movies and TV shows are on equal footing. In fact, Moonlight's success doesn't make up for all the years the Academy of Arts and Sciences has snubbed films that address racial inequality and the struggles of black people.

For instance, Hollywood never recognized the phenomenal N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton two years ago. The movie was a box office hit and featured Oscar-worthy performances from the actors who played three of the founding members of the iconic rap group. One of the best was Ice Cube's son, O'Shea Jackson Jr., who played his father.

Let's hope Jenkins continues telling stories about Liberty City. Otherwise, Hollywood is no different from Trump.

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Yet Straight Outta Compton got only a token nomination for Best Original Screenplay. The same year, the Academy handed only two nominations to Selma, a period movie about the defining moment of the civil rights movement. This one certainly deserved the award for best movie of 2015.

Illustration by Alex Izaguirre

Now, two years later, after enormous backlash for not recognizing black films, the Academy has showered Moonlight with nominations for best director, best cinematography, and best picture, among other categories. Though it would be great to see Barry Jenkins, the Liberty City native who wrote and directed Moonlight, take home a few Oscars, Hollywood is not the liberal society it claims to be.

For all its resistance to President Trump, Hollywood's film industry is a racist institution. It offers only token recognition of African-Americans. Remember that Moonlight was made at a fraction of the budget normally afforded blockbuster productions.

Let's hope Jenkins can use his newfound superstar status to continue giving local kids acting roles and telling stories about Liberty City. Otherwise, Hollywood is no different from Trump.

Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.

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