This year, the Academy Awards have received a lot more scrutiny in the weeks between its announcement of the nominees and the actual ceremony than ever before. That's of course because of the whole #OscarsSoWhite debacle, which is exactly what it sounds like: the Academy is overwhelmingly composed of white people, and so nominations and wins heavily skew towards white actors, directors, writers, and so on.
The Academy has pledged to take swift action with respect to diversifying its membership, but the reality is that it'll probably take a long time for those efforts to show meaningful results. In the meantime, the outrage sprouting from a lack of diversity in the acting categories for a second consecutive year will have to keep the conversation afloat. Unless another awards show enters the fold to shake things up itself.
That very well may happen, as it turns out. In a major deal with the Fusion cable network, Russell Simmons' All Def Digital has locked up a time slot for a one-hour version of the inaugural All Def Movie Awards. In no coincidence, it'll air opposite ABC's live broadcast of the 88th Academy Awards on Sunday night, February 28.
Although Simmons said the show is "not the Black Oscars," he did acknowledge it eventually "could be," and the films up for the best picture prize are Beasts of No Nation, Chi-Raq, Concussion, Creed, Dope, and Straight Outta Compton — all films featuring prominent African-American leads, and all largely snubbed from meaningful Oscar competition.
What's more is that the winner will be chosen via a general vote cast by the public, and Tony Rock, whose brother Chris Rock is hosting the Oscars, will slide into his own hosting gig at the event. Call it what you want, but its message to the bigger, older awards show it's playing against is clear.
Cover image: Warner Bros. Pictures via YouTube