Hollywood has been getting schooled for their history of opting against nominating black filmmakers, black actors and movies for the most prestigious awards like the Oscars.
Amidst great backlash of recent in the past few years, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has said to and have kept good on having more diversify in its ranks.
The Academy has invited 842 new members from 59 countries, 50 percent of whom are female and 29 percent are people of color, according to reports from THR.
Among actors for the Academy class of 2019 are; Elisabeth Moss, Letitia Wright, Sterling K. Brown, Tom Holland and Winston Duke.
Winston Duke being added is such a big deal for many reasons. Duke was born in Trinidad and Tobago and moved to the U.S. with his mother, Cora Pantin, and sister when he was nine years old. And attended Yale School of Drama where he received a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Acting, graduating 2013.
Winston Duke is the type of actor that allows for the ordinary black man to see himself in. He’s the regular guy, the guy not trying too hard to be a sex symbol or a clown. He is a millennial and it shows in his versatility from being a dominating presence to a dad joke telling goof with his wits about him. Before Winston stole every scene he was in, in Marvel’s Black Panther, we only really had 2 types of black men in 90% of all movie roles. The bigger than life jacked up action hero that is Dwayne the Rock Johnson or we had the equally attracted Michael B. Jordan who more closely fits a model than an actor. Then you have Idris and Denzel, two much older men who charm cannot be duplicated.
We needed someone our age who looked like us, acted like us and we got it in Winston Duke. Not only do we have him in great movies but now our voice will e heard through him in the ears of the Academy. This will hopefully assist in studios greenlighting more block buster films with black leads, as well as Oscar nom worthy films. Because they will have to acknowledge the landscape of the voters look vastly different then the days of Casablanca and Gone with the win.
This equally as important should open the door for more black filmmakers to confidently tell black stories and not be overlooked. In the history of the Academy only 6 black directors have been nominated for Best Director. Winston Duke and the influx of black and brown Academy members should change that in the very near future. The organization behind the Oscars has worked to dramatically expand its member roster over the past several years to become more inclusive and globally focused and Black people are being prominently featured in that focus and all of Us, even our tethered versions are excited about that.