john-dudley_web.jpgThe 2010 Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, displayed another year of offensive racial discrimination toward minorities.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) recognizes the excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors and writers.

The four top categories for individual actors and actresses — Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress — saw another year in which African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and others suffered gross discrimination.
The 2010 Best Supporting Actress award went to an African-American woman, Mo’nique, who played a poor, abused and abusive mother of a daughter who was knowingly exposed to incest in the movie Precious: Based on the novel Push by Sapphire.  Mo’nique is one of only four black women to win the Best Supporting Actress award in 82 years, and she is one of only five African-American women to ever win.

There has only been one African-American woman to win Best Actress in 82 years, and that was Halle Berry in 2001.  She played the role of Leticia Musgrove in Monster’s Ball, an extremely poor single mother and waitress whose husband had been given the death penalty.

When only five African-American women have won the Best Actress or Best Supporting Actress award in 82 years, it means that there is only one black female winner every 16 years.  So why do African Americans watch the show?  Maybe it’s time for African Americans to hold their own Academy Awards show, and to boycott the Oscars.

AMPAS maintains a voting membership of 5,835 as of 2007, but somehow there has only been one female Hispanic-American winner for Best Supporting Actress: Rita Moreno in West Side Story in 1961.

Penelope Cruz was Spain's first female Oscar winner, giving Hispanic women a grand total of two female winners in eight decades.  There has been only one Asian Best Supporting Actress winner: Miyoshi Umeki, for Sayonara in 1959. 

Obviously, this is a disgrace.  Where is the diversity in the winners?  Why are other races being excluded?

Movie connoisseurs know that women such as Dorothy Dandridge, Cicely Tyson, Diahann Carroll, Ruby Dee and Angela Bassett have never won, even though they have delivered Oscar-worthy performances.

That is not to mention actresses such as Raquel Welch, Meg and Jennifer Tilly, Jennifer Lopez and Selma Hayek, who could easily be added to the list of winners.  Instead, what we see every year is an awards ceremony that does not accurately or professionally represent the United States. What we see is a highly financed private party for one race of our society.

The discrimination by the Academy Awards is appalling, and its selection of winners is pathetic.  It would behoove those who have been excluded to celebrate and recognize themselves, and hold their own awards ceremony.

Instead of excluding actors and actresses by race, the Academy Awards should include them.

John Dudley is a freelance writer who lives in Miami Beach.