In its annual awards season supplement, the Los Angeles Times did a cover on “A Shift In Focus” in the industry where women are concerned… and all of the ones featured are white. Three of them are in movies that are in the awards mix this year; one of them, Diane Kruger, won Best Actress in Cannes and is inexplicably wearing a top that looks like she built it out of a broken jacket ten minutes ago; and two of them, Annette Bening and Kate Winslet, aren’t in the awards conversation at all, which completely bones the potential argument that the LA Times needed women who are au courant to what’s happening nomination-wise (although Bening’s tiny Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool theoretically could sneak in, but Winslet’s execrable Woody Allen vehicle Wonder Wheel will not). Ava DuVernay — whose diverse and hotly anticipated A Wrinkle In Time comes out in March — should be in the mix. Octavia Spencer is great in a supporting role in The Shape of Water, which is getting awards love. Viola Davis is timeless. What about Laverne Cox, who is not in the awards conversation but brings a successful trans actress of color into the picture? Where is that perspective going to come from as-is? You get the gist.
I’m also curious whether any of these actresses thought, “There is something awfully homogenous about this.” Twitter has been aflame with this. I get that it’s hard to speak up — but this is also a time in which so many women are obliterating that argument by standing up and shouting their truths. Jessica Chastain has not been one to keep her mouth shut about inequity and injustices, for example. Do we think they didn’t know who else was on the cover until they showed up? The failure here, for me, is with the LA Times. And yes, the participants could’ve expressed concern, but a) it’s possible they did, but worried that flouncing off the set would end up threatening the larger message somehow; and b) I’m not sure how to lay blame for that without having been there. I could see them being caught up enough in a story about gender equality that they didn’t stop to think about the color palette until it was too late.
I genuinely don’t know. I’m legitimately curious what you all think. It’s the Saturday before Christmas and I am WAY behind on my planning, so my brain isn’t working very coherently or cohesively right now. I’m not trying to make excuses for the participants, but I don’t know how much blame is fair to lay at their feet; I do tend to think this fish rotted from the top and that is with the LA Times. It shows a lack of vision and planning and possibly imagination. And some of that is with the entire crux of the story, because it boils down to this: In 2017, we shouldn’t be able to discuss a shift in storytelling where women are concerned without immediately including diversity of all stripes in those arguments.