Sunday March 2nd saw the 86th Academy Awards, and what a great night it was for diversity. As you will doubtless already know the award for Best Supporting Actress went to Lupita Nyong’o’ for her role in 12 Years a Slave, the Best Director award went to Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity, (making him the first Latino to win in that category), and the Best Picture award went to Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, making him the first Black man to win in the category. So have we turned a corner? Has the battle to increase diversity in Hollywood already been won? Well hold your horses. Things are no doubt getting better, but before you crack open the champagne, bare in mind the composition of Academy voters. Remember that still 94% are White, and 77% are men. Progress is coming, ………..but slowly.
Diversity at the Beeb
Back in Blighty it’s the hot topic that just won’t get away (hopefully). The year kicked off with culture minister Ed Vaisey putting it on the agenda, then Lenny henry came up with his plan nicknamed ‘the Henry Papers’. Now Baroness Lawrence has weighed into the debate about diversity in the media when she addressed an assembled crowd of media pundits at the BBC Radio theatre last Friday.
“If you truly want to reflect society you have to put things in place to make it happen,” Lawrence told an audience at a New Broadcasting House event organised by the BBC and the Royal Television Society.
“They majority of people do have qualifications, they do have everything they need and yet there is still a barrier. If you look at the top level, who is at the top? That needs to change. Once you see all these changes, you will begin to see people want to come here. If you see nobody reflecting you, you feel there is no point in trying, they won’t accept me.”
Click here to read the Guardian’s report on the event.
Amazon get into On-line streaming
There’s been a lot of change in the way we watch movies and TV over the last few years. Not so long ago we would either watch TV live or recorded on our VCR’s and renting movies to watch at home was dominated by high street stores like Blockbusters. Then came streaming services like Love-Film and Net Flix, and the Blockbusters chain is a thing of the past. It seems that nowadays, not only do people want to watch movies in the comfort of their homes, but they want to make their selection, and pay for their rentals without having to leave their homes either. Internet retail giant Amazon, no longer content with selling us books and DVDs, have gotten in on the live streaming game, by taking over Love-Film and incorporating it into their new Amazon Prime Instant Video service which launched in the UK last week. Prime Instant Video offer subscribers access to its VoD catalogue of 15,000 TV shows and films and unlimited use of its premium delivery service for £79 per year. Amazon is also to ramp up the amount of UK content it commissions and has called for producers to bring it original ideas. Scripted drama and comedy are its priorities, (it has stepped in to revive cancelled BBC drama Ripper Street as its first UK original order) but it also has an eye on kids’ content.
“We want to deliver a whole range of great exclusive content,” said Tim Leslie, vice-president of Amazon Prime Instant Video in the UK and Germany. “We want any and all [producers] to come to us, and we want great local content.”
But just so you don’t forget about Netflix, they’ve made this spoof ad mocking the idea of Amazon using drones for home deliveries.
Last year, about the time that Spike Lee was trying to drum up some money for his next flick via crowd funding, he was reported as saying that he wouldn’t be able to get his biopic Malcolm X made today, unless Malcolm was wearing a cape. He was decrying the fact that the only big budget flicks that Hollywood wants to make these days are Super-hero movies. But its not all bad. There are now three superhero projects in the pipeline featuring actors of colour.
The new Spiderman movie features Jamie Foxx as villain Electro.
And a new Batman series Gotham will feature Jada Pinkett Smith. Jada (wife of Will Smith) will play villainous gangster Fish Mooney in the TV adaptation by Fox network. The series will focus on a young Jim Gordon, to be played by The O.C.’s Ben McKenzie, before he was given the job of Gotham City’s police commissioner, as well as classic Batman enemies.
And the career of Michael B. Jordan goes from strength to strength. After featuring in the Variety magazine Oscar special, he has been cast as Johnny Storm in the new Fantastic Four movie.
So Spike, as the saying goes, if you can’t beat them, join them!
And finally, for the funniest thing I’ve seen online this week, we’ll keep with the Oscar theme. That legendary Oscar ‘selfie’
That’s all for this week folks. But if you can’t wait until next week for your next fix of TV news , stay tuned to the TVC facebook page for daily updates.