It is no secret that award shows are popular. From their spectacular openings and regal red carpets to the intense buildup and subsequent excitement of finding out who gets what award, people can’t seem to stop talking about them in the hours, days and even weeks before. But even those who love them are not afraid to criticize some pretty noticeable faults within them, and a main one, especially in the past few years, has been the lack of diversity.
On one hand, there have been clear inequalities in several different instances. A prime example was this year’s Academy Awards (Oscars). When the nominees were announced, the public quickly showed their outrage at the fact that there were no female nominees for best director and only one person of color was nominated in the major acting categories. Though films with female directors got nominations for awards like Best Picture and Best Costume Design, people were still upset that the hard work and dedication behind the films seemed to be ignored. However, many award shows are working towards diversity.
First up on the list, Awkwafina made history when she became the first Asian American woman ever to win a Golden Globe for Best Actress. At this year’s Oscars, Janelle Monae opened along with an entirely African American dance ensemble (it has been speculated that this was like an almost apology for the lack of representation) and Zack Gottsagen was the Oscars’ first presenter with Down Syndrome. The movie “Parasite,” a critically acclaimed South Korean film, also won Best Picture, becoming the first foreign film to win this award. In addition to this, the Grammys saw a diverse group of singers, rappers and even instrumentalists including host Alicia Keys, Lizzo, BTS, Demi Lovato, Camilla Cabello and Lil Nas X.
So while there is definitely and always will be room for improvement, award shows this time around have appeared to set themselves on the right track. Perhaps they could take the positive reception of increased inclusion to heart and give better representation of women, minorities and other groups of people going forward. Future generations of people in the film and entertainment industry will likely benefit from seeing people like themselves in these nominees. That is the best thing about inclusion: it inspires.