Hollywood is a very reactionary community. One which tries to please the masses while balancing what will actually make them, consistently, a large amount of money. Hence why it’s not just the quality but popularity which often determines who does and does not get nominated. Leading to the topic at hand: Are we in an age where diversity has become the norm, or has tokenism just evolved into affirmative action?
Over the years, a lot of firsts have happened for Black, Latino, and also Asian actors. Just last night Aziz Ansari because the first Asian male actor to win in his category and Sterling K. Brown the first black man to win in his. Yet, so comes the question if they’ll even be nominated next year. For that is the sort of problem with these award shows when you’re a person of color. It is hard to know when you are nominated, much less win, if it is because of your talent and work, or because of the next evolution of tokenism – affirmative action.
I mean, look at Taraji P. Henson, Viola Davis, Gina Rodriguez, and Tracee Ellis Ross – where were their nominations? Especially in terms of Gina Rodriguez and Tracee Ellis Ross after winning not too long ago? Has the quality dropped with How To Get Away With Murder, Jane The Virgin and can someone dare say Black-Ish isn’t accolade worthy? And I know, there can be the argument of “Why make this a color thing?” or “Why don’t we care more about our own awards shows?” That’s not the argument here.
The question at hand is, where is the consistency? There are other shows which have just been nominated, never won, that are repeatedly nominated. Heck, for an interesting example, look at Tina Fey for 30 Rock. She won twice, back to back, and was just nominated for the remainder of the show’s run. Also, there were years Desperate Housewives dominated the entire category they were in, and yet if you look at women of color, just being nominated more than two years in a row, is a struggle. What gives?
Could the Golden Globes, arguably the most diverse of the major award show dedicated to Television or Film, just be trying to avoid the kind of scrutiny the Oscars repeatedly has gotten? Maybe, to maintain their ratings, every now and then throw a bone so that viewers still keep that sort of gambling addiction mindset of “This time, they’ll bring it home?” Needless to say, as various social movements come about, there is a need to question when are people simply being placated and when are there actual changes being put in play?