Readers React: The Oscars aren’t the problem; the stories Hollywood chooses to tell are

Oscar statue

An Oscar statue at the announcement of the 88th Academy Awards nominations in Beverly Hills on Jan. 14. 

(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Those who complain about the lack of diversity among the Academy Award acting nominees are really complaining specifically about ethnic diversity. But what about political diversity, cultural diversity and all the other kinds of diversity? (“Oscars 2016: It’s time for Hollywood to stop defining great drama as white men battling adversity,” Jan. 15)

Our changing demographics will certainly support different stories, actors and films. We see a great dependence on classic European history to provide story lines. We must open further the history books of other cultures to expose their stories and heroes.

Years ago I had dinner with a Turkish colonel in Izmir, Turkey. He had bright blue eyes, a bald head, a handle-bar mustache and a tale of how his ancestors were mercenaries from Scandinavia and that he was the ninth generation to serve in the ranks of the Turkish army.

In Hollywood he would be only a bit player, a piece of stage dressing for an improbable movie of white derring-do. There’s a deeper story there, likely never to be told. How’s that for “diversity”?

Carleton Cronin, West Hollywood


To the editor: The Oscar whiteout isn’t an Oscar problem. It’s a movie studio boardroom, development and green-lit production problem.

Were there amazing performances in films by African Americans that were snubbed? I can’t remember any, which tells me these vital stories (like the film “Tangerine”) are not being made inside the studio system.

The problem is not with Oscar.

Alex Downs, Long Beach


To the editor: Why does The Times evidently feel that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is obligated to nominate people of color every year to bolster diversity?

Academy voters should not be obligated to vote for anyone because of ethnicity, and the nominations should go to those whom the members of the Academy feel deserve it. They should not be forced to be diverse for the sake of being diverse and therefore politically correct.

Could it just be that the nominations went to performers who actually deserve it, just as the film “12 Years a Slave” won for best picture in 2014? There were many fine films in 2015, and competition is very, very stiff.

Should we now have affirmative action in the arts as we do in many major universities?

Arthur Szenczy, Santa Monica


To the editor: Hollywood could learn from the advertising industry.

Judging by television commercials, the advertising world understands the massive consumer power of diverse populations; Hollywood does not.

Its continued practice of cultural exclusion is embarrassing.

Louisa B. Caucia, Montrose 

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