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Stephen King faces backlash for saying 'quality' should matter in Oscar nominees over 'diversity'

Discussion in 'Politics Discussion' started by AGXStarseed, Jan 15, 2020 at 5:28 AM.

  1. AGXStarseed

    AGXStarseed Well-Known Member

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    (Not written by me)


    Legendary horror author Stephen King is facing backlash on Tuesday for his commentary on this year's Oscar nominations, stressing that the "quality" of the art should matter over "diversity."

    On Monday, the Oscar nominations were revealed, and the Academy was slammed for both not having any female nominees for Best Director and for the numerous snubs of people of color among the other categories.

    King weighed in on the controversy on Twitter.

    "As a writer, I am allowed to nominate in just 3 categories: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Screenplay. For me, the diversity issue -- as it applies to individual actors and directors, anyway -- did not come up. That said... I would never consider diversity in matters of art. Only quality. It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong," King wrote.

    The "Shining" mastermind was criticized on social media. But many of his critics offered polite responses to the famed writer.

    "With the utmost respect, I think this is quite a bit unfair. When films created by people of color, irrespective of quality, constantly get overlooked by institutions that are predominately comprised of white men, there is an implicit bias at work here," Zora senior editor Morgan Jerkins said.

    "Sir, respectfully saying you as a white man can’t really say that. You had more advantages and opportunities than a person of color would have. They have been wrongfully held back in so many ways just because of their color skin, Twitter user David Weissman told King.

    "With all due respect, I'm afraid that a meritocracy could work only if the game weren't rigged," author Laura Lippman said.

    King later attempted to explain his tweets.

    "The most important thing we can do as artists and creative people is make sure everyone has the same fair shot, regardless of sex, color or orientation. Right now such people are badly under-represented, and not only in the arts," King said. "You can't win awards if you're shut out of the game."

    Among the four acting categories, the only person of color nominated was Cynthia Erivo, who earned a nod for her lead performance as Harriet Tubman in the biopic "Harriet."

    Critics pointed to several acting snubs including Jennifer Lopez in "Hustlers," Lupita Nyong'o in "Us," Awkwafina in "The Farewell" and Eddie Murphy in "Dolemite Is My Name" as those who would have improved the diversity among the Oscar nominees.

    There was also a big outcry for the snubs among female directors, including Greta Gerwig of "Little Women" and Lulu Wang of "The Farewell," who were shut out of the Best Director race by five male directors.

    Source: Stephen King faces backlash for saying 'quality' should matter in Oscar nominees over 'diversity'
    Related: Stephen King Says Art Should Be Judged On 'Quality' Not 'Diversity,' Gets Torched By Leftists Online , Ava DuVernay is not happy with Stephen King's views on diversity - CNN
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020 at 5:35 AM
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  2. SDRSpark

    SDRSpark Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Knowing that I know absolutely nothing about movies (I don't even know who was nominated, let alone who won, and have no clue who any of the actors mentioned are, because I really could care less about movies in general)...

    I generally agree with King. However, I can't say whether there were or weren't women or people of color who were worthy of the nomination (I'm guessing there were but see my above comments about being clueless).

    I think lowering the bar for certain people based on socio-economic status etc. is demeaning. I don't want it lowered for me.

    Edit: spelling.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020 at 11:04 AM
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  3. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Seems a hopeless argument in either direction IMO. Meritocracy with so many politics outside the reach of government is a blueprint for failure. Equally award categories by race alone would subject to the same politics. And even if government controlled such decision-making processes, that could remove considerations of merit from the equation altogether.

    Solution: Eliminate such awards altogether. They're so subjective that much of any decision in terms of who wins, loses, places or doesn't place at all will always be the subject of controversy.

    I have to agree with actor George C. Scott in this instance. That actors should remain peers- not competitors when it comes to artistic expression. Leave the business and politics of the entertainment industry to the studio moguls. Not the artists who make film and television what it is to their audience.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020 at 10:03 AM
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  4. SDRSpark

    SDRSpark Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I agree. That won't happen because awards shows are huge money makers, but I agree.
     
  5. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I just see film award shows as advertising platforms for the "big screen" and little else.

    Commercials lasting two and a half hours or more. :rolleyes:

    Pity though. When I was a kid, I used to love the Oscar Awards. When a great deal of time was devoted to actually showing what each nominated film or role was about. Nowadays it just seems like a variety show where every once in a while someone gets bleeped by the censors or does a pitch for some cause unrelated to film.
     
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  6. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I'm not certain that 'quality' over diversity is the key here. Quality in films requires an open-ended budget, insider connections with studios, access to very expensive actors and actresses, good writers and lots of time. And even then, some of the high budget films with great expectations sink at the box office. Few people have those connections outside of the film community. That's why 'blockbuster' movies tend toward being rewrites and part three's of the same plots over and over. Personally the last hollywood movie I enjoyed and liked was over four years ago.

    Don't know if you are familiar with Mr. King's books, I am, with most of them. They are chiefly a white male world interspersed with a few non-white characters and some stereotypical female characters.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020 at 10:40 PM
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  7. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Most of his stories seem to take place in the state of Maine.

    Maine isn't exactly a state I'd call "diverse" in terms of its overall population. Though technically females slightly outnumber males there as well. He's also is a baby-boomer. The first generation to enter a job market with affirmative action. Though probably not an issue for writers. Frankly his perception doesn't really come as a surprise to me.

    Go figure...
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020 at 12:26 PM
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  8. AGXStarseed

    AGXStarseed Well-Known Member

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    True, but you do get some "diamonds in the rough" that also become popular despite a low budget and unknown actor/actresses.
    One that springs to mind is Sam Raimi's 1981 film The Evil Dead, which was made for less than $500,000, was filmed mostly with the support of Raimi's friends and family and yet not only was a hit with positive reviews, but spawned its own franchise across sequels, comics, games and a TV show among other things (on a related note, Stephen King gave The Evil Dead a rave review).

    Here's some more: 20 Low Budget Movies That Became Massive Blockbusters | Hypable
     
  9. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    They are the exception though, unfortunately. I've seen most of the movies on your link with the exception of two and enjoyed them all.
     
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  10. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    He was living in a trailer with his wife I believe when one of his first books was picked up by a publisher. Success did not come easily to Steven King, while writing and working in a laundry and it took quite a while. He eventually taught english at an academy. That's not to say his writing is not good, it is. He invented a style of writing that's all his own. And that's to be admired. He's been hugely successful with his mystery and science fiction and horror blending stories. With a bit of fire and brimstone thrown in for good measure. I've enjoyed many of his books. Although quite a few have familiar plots and ideas that I've encountered before.
     
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  11. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Odd to realize that I've never read any of his books, yet seen so many of his stories adapted to film.

    It's his endorsement of the limited television series "The Haunting Of Hill House" that will inevitably prompt me to buy the DVD of season one sight unseen. Not to mention in terms of literature, I was always a Shirley Jackson fan.
     
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  12. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Have you ever read The Lottery? Her short story. The basis for many movies including the Hunger Games.
     
  13. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Oh yes. :cool:

    Loved the Hunger Games series of films as well.
     
  14. tducey

    tducey Well-Known Member

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    I agree with King. The Oscar nominated movies should reflect how good they are not who's in them.
     
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  15. Kalinychta

    Kalinychta Well-Known Member

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    That’s rich coming from Stephen King. His novels are the literary equivalent of junk food. They have no artistic value. They’re the 20th Century version of the penny dreadful.

    Quality doesn’t count when you’re a woman and/or not caucasian. Movies about women are dismissed as “chick flicks”—as in, no one except women could possibly relate to other women as human beings. Same goes for films with predominantly black, Asian, etc. characters. If Stephen King were Stephanie King from Harlem, NYC and wrote the same stories but with black and/or female characters, we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now because he would probably have never been published to begin with. So he can shut his pie hole about diversity. He doesn’t know what it’s like to be a second class citizen.
     
  16. mw2530

    mw2530 Well-Known Member

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    I agree with King as well.

    The above quote disgusts me. In life, everyone faces challenges and everyone has advantages and disadvantages. They come in my forms. Some people have to overcome disabilities. Others, might have to grow up in a less than ideal home environment. Some of us grow up poor. Some grow up rich. It seems like all we hear about are disadvantages due to race. To make an assumption that all white men or women hold privileges over all men and women is a ridiculous statement and that is essentially what this Twitter user does here. I imagine Stephen King accomplished what he has because he had talent and worked hard. Not because he is white. Same goes for whoever was nominated for the various awards. I'm sure there are plenty of others that worked hard and were not nominated. But not everyone can win. Unfortunately, rather than celebrating and recognizing the award winners, some seem to want to discount their accomplishments.
     
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  17. mw2530

    mw2530 Well-Known Member

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    Seriously? Quality does not count when you are a woman and/or not caucasion. So does that same statement apply to any career? That is a pretty bold statement. Chick Flicks is just a term for a movie that generally appeals to women as opposed to men. Similar to how a war movie probably appeals more to men than to women.
     
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  18. Kalinychta

    Kalinychta Well-Known Member

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    You omitted the rest of my paragraph, so I’m going to paste it here again, because it’s important:

    “If Stephen King were Stephanie King from Harlem, NYC and wrote the same stories but with black and/or female characters, we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now because he would probably have never been published to begin with.”

    Do you disagree with this?
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2020 at 11:22 PM
  19. mw2530

    mw2530 Well-Known Member

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    I do not agree.
     
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  20. Trophonius

    Trophonius Active Member

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    He's right, "diversity" shouldn't be a factor to consider in favor, this is, a film should not receive prizes or nominations merely because the director is black or the cast is Asian or whatever. The idea that some social groups should have additional benefits in recognitions of any kind, is one I very much reject.
    However, I do think that nominations and awards should make an attempt to consider the quality of the film itself without paying particular attention to big money-making hollywood productions as it is usually done. But it won't happen, because these big awards were worthless before, and will be worthless in the future — the only reason they promote "diversity" now is because it has become a sort of fashionable household name which can be use to gain attention and therefore make more money.

    Having said that, there are two other words that have become pretty popular, "Stephen King", and the name is usually enough to make any piece of senseless garbage into a big-seller because somehow the media has pushed the idea that King is a good writer down everyone's throat. If quality were important, this wouldn't have happened.
    Stephen King complains are just like Katy Perry complaining that pop music is empty. This man's whole career is based on using the most common tropes and using whatever is popular to appeal to the masses.
     
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