Let's just state the truth right here, right now. The Academy Awards made a huge mistake this year, and the 2015 SAG Awards didn't do much better. As you know, the Oscar nominations did not recognize any kind of diversity in film whatsoever, and it's truly disappointing that people have argued that the films in the 2014-2015 season are to blame, but that's utter nonsense, since there were so many options for diverse nominations. And on Sunday, we saw once again that diversity in Hollywood has a long way to go. But! And that's a very small "but," even though the SAG Awards struggled, but they did, however, manage to address diverse projects, despite the fact that diversity was not well-represented in their film nominations.
The telecast always begins with quick speeches from different actors about why they became an actor, or some funny story from their younger acting days, ending the speech with, "I'm an actor." On Sunday night, two African Americans were able to share their stories: House of Cards' Mahershala Ali and Orange is the New Black's Uzo Aduba. This was the first sign of better things to come.
The diversity recognition kept coming when Aduba later won the award for Best Female Actor In A Comedy Series and she gave a beautiful speech that showed her classiness and genuine gratitude. She and her castmates later won for Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series, which was doubly great for diversity, thanks to the well-rounded diverseness of the whole cast.
Then came the infuriating. One of the worst snubs that both the Oscars and the SAG Awards had was their lack of love for Selma. During a montage for all of the great film and television work that was produced in 2014, the SAG production team showed a clip from the Ava DuVernay film, which infuriated some people, since the film's recognition seemed too little, too late.
But the real high point of the night was when Viola Davis took home the award for Best Female Actor In A Drama Series for her role in How To Get Away With Murder. She gave one of the greatest feminist and diversity-celebrating speeches in recent years and thanked Shonda Rhimes and her show's creator for thinking "a sexualized, messy, mysterious woman could be a 49-year-old dark-skinned African American woman who looks like me.”
Oscars, take notice. The SAG Awards film nominations may have been as lacking in diversity as your nominations, but they still found ways to show that diversity and equality go hand and hand.
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