Letter: Anger about Oscars invites bad move to tokenism

Oscar anger invites bad move to tokenism

To the editor:

On hearing that there was an impending Oscar boycott protesting the lack of black nominees, Charlotte Rampling, the distinguished British actress and one of this year's nominees, committed a monumental faux pas by stating that this action could be construed as "racist to white people," for which she was chastised by John Seven in his Jan. 26 column, "Oscar flap shows separate but equal not enough."

There are elements in our society who would have us believe that every perceived slight must be rectified despite any unintended consequences, and here I will proffer the unconscionable thought that perhaps the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences felt that there was no black actor who put in an award-meriting performance this year. If one chooses, however, to believe the converse that the Academy is prejudiced to blacks then how does one reconcile that belief with the fact that Sydney Poitier won the Oscar for best actor in "Lilies of the Field" against stiff competition as far back as 1963 and that blacks were nominated as recently as 2012 and 2013? Then that would indeed be an incredulously radical social pivot for an Academy which shuns public controversy.

There is little question in my mind that this adverse publicity-fearing Academy will insure a black is nominated next year and in the foreseeable future, which will lead this writer to wonder whether such a nomination is based on achievement or whether it represents a "token" or "show" nomination. In response to these nominations, well-intentioned but alas delusional social activists will go about giving each other congratulatory "high fives" for remedying a feigned social injustice, and who will be the ultimate loser but none other than the talented black actor who is left to wonder if he "truly" won an Oscar.

Laszlo Melchiori, North Adams


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