• Anna

Hollywood, the American dream ?

Everybody knows Hollywood, right ? Located in Los Angeles, Hollywood is a kind of dream. Most the movie stars are coming from Hollywood, most of the big movies are coming from Hollywood… what isn’t coming from Hollywood ? maybe diversity ?

Viola Davis during her speech at the Emmy awards in 2015

I think that everyone has more or less an idea of what Hollywood is. There is a reason, it’s one of the biggest film industry in the world and it’s making a lot of good movies with big stars in them. Being a part of this must be incredible. It’s a goal for a lot of people, such as Mia. She’s the protagonist of the movie Lalaland, by Damien Chazelle. This movie shows both sides of Hollywood and how hard wanting to be a part of this industry is. Mia is trying to reach her dream job which is being a famous actress. She had to do sacrifices like her relationship. She failed at a lot of auditions but she kept going. If you give up, you’ll never reach your goal, you have to be really perseverant. You can be a very good actor but if you don’t have contacts or luck, it could be very hard. But it’s not impossible because (spoiler) Mia has succeeded thanks to her work. But is it all about efforts ?

Sometimes actors may put the same efforts as other but because of their appearance they could simply not make it. It’s mostly a problem of skin color. People of color are way less represented, and I obviously talk about natural skin colors, because a green skin in zombie movies don’t seem really disturbing for the directors.

Viola Davis denounced that during her speech at the Emmy awards. She said that she’s seeing “a line” which is separating white people from people of colors. It’s not possible for her to go over that line because she’s black.

But in terms of physical things that actors can change, like weight, the requirements are really high. You have to sometimes change your appearance by making big diet or a lot of sport. It’s something that is very problematic. Sam Clafin, an actor who played Finnick in The Hunger Games denounced that during an interview at The Sydney Morning Herald. "They literally made me pull my shirt up and were grabbing my fat and going, 'You need to lose a bit of weight'" he also said that he “he felt like a piece of meat”. If it sounds familiar, it's because women are also going through this all the time. They make a big deal of the actor’s body.

Who’s “them”? The directors of course. They are the ones who are writing the roles and deciding of what their character should look like. And maybe that if they were more minorities who could access the position of directors more roles for minorities could be written. Did you know that only 10% of the directors were non-white people? Viola Davis resumed that in her speech. She said “the only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity”, and she was right.

By the way, the same year Viola won her Emmy, the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite was launched. April Reign created this in 2015 because all the stars nominated were white. This campaign is very important, but does it makes things better ?

We can see progress in Marvel movies for example. The movie Black Panther takes place in Africa, so basically almost the entire cast is black. Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman and Black Widow are also good examples. Women are more emphasized than before, especially in this kind of roles, they’re not only cooking or being the love interest of the male main character.

Women even win Oscars in other category than actors now ! Yes, this is something new. For example, if we look back at the nominees for the Oscar of the best directors between 2014 and 2019 only one woman is on the list, Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird. And obviously, she didn’t win the Oscar. But in 2021, a miracle happened. Chloé Zhao received the Oscar for Nomanland and became the first woman of color to have this honor. However she’s not the first woman, only the second (not more, should not exaggerate). Another miracle happened in 2010 when Kathryn Bigelow won the same Oscar. And who could have except that, this year in 2022 Jane Campion won this Oscar for The Power of the Dog.

So, we can say that Hollywood is something big which is making great movies, but it’s also really idealized. If one day we don’t have to use the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite anymore Hollywood will be greater.


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