The Oscars Can’t Joke Its Way Out of Its Race Problem

All this joking in front of the curtain doesn’t make up for whatever’s going on behind it. And on an even larger scale, the producers and executives who have the greatest control over what movies get made and who gets cast in the first place (that would be the likes of former Sony head Amy Pascal, who was caught in the Sony leaks making arguably racist remarks) could stand to do the same. The evening’s uncomfortable handling of race came to a close when Sean Penn announced Mexican-born Alejandro González Iñárritu as Best Director, by first wondering aloud, “Who gave this son of a bitch a green card?” For the record, Penn, who starred in the director’s 21 Grams, was “joking,” and Iñárritu apparently took it as such. But the moment was just one more needless example of “hipster racism” at its finest—the well-meaning majority “calling attention” to racial disparities while quietly patting themselves on the back.



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