Oscar Diversity

See the Entire History of the Oscars Diversity Problem in One Chart

Last week’s Oscar nominations have sparked outrage for their lack of diversity with zero non-white nominees in the acting categories for the second year in a row. An analysis of the full 92-year history of the Academy Awards shows that Hollywood’s highest honors have lagged the population on issues of race and representation.

Not Entirely Convincing Use of Very Low-Tech Blood Squib

About 30 seconds into this clip, Ali Kerim Bey (Pedro Armendáriz) gets shot in the arm and appears to rub fake blood on his sleeve where he’s supposed to’ve been shot.

In his 2000 book Fade to Black: A Book of Movie Obituaries, author Paul Donnelley writes that Armendáriz was diagnosed with lymph cancer at the start of 1963. The filmmakers then rushed to complete his scenes. In June 1963, aged 51, Armendáriz was admitted to Los Angeles’ UCLA Medical Center with neck cancer. According to Donnelley, “On the 18th, he shot himself through the heart with a gun he had brought with him to the hospital.” From Russia… was released in October of the same year.

In his book Duke: The Life and Image of John Wayne, Ronald L. Davis writes that Armendáriz and 39 actors and crew for the movie The Conqueror — which was shot near an atomic testing site in Nevada — eventually died from cancer. (Though, this number appears to fluctuate depending on the source and Armendáriz didn’t technically die from cancer. Also, many cast and crew members were, allegedly, heavy smokers.)

Philosophy in Rick and Morty

I found the comments in this video on the meaninglessness of existence pretty interesting, especially as Reese Witherspoon says the same thing in the movie Wild (which I just happen to have watched recently) while pointing to this poster:

YouAreHere

The poster is in a classroom and she expresses frustration that kids are being taught that they’re “insignificant.”

I found that scene kind of horrible because, one, I don’t know why it should follow that acknowledging our place in the cosmos should automatically lead to depression at our “insignificance” and, two, the apparent alternative is either (a) not teaching kids the truth about our place in the cosmos or (b) not actively reminding them of this. I find both options pretty deplorable.

Carl Sagan, as usual, has a better way to frame our cosmic situation (aka “insignificance”). He says that, while it certainly should cause us to think of our chauvinisms as petty and insignificant, it should also cause us to reflect on the fact that our self-awareness can be viewed as a rare gift that we can squander on petty disputes, greed, and reality TV, or that we can use to satisfy what he sees as our deep-running need to explore the cosmos and reality in general.

I’m surprised, incidentally, to hear a philosophy scholar misuse “begging the question.” No, cosmic horror does not “beg the question ‘Are we significant?’ ”; it may, however, invite that question. Also, the presenter here suggests that Star Trek, like “most science fiction,” places humans at the “metaphorical” center of the universe. However, this isn’t true of Star Trek: TNG, Voyager, or Enterprise. I can’t speak for TOS because I haven’t seen enough of it and, what I have seen, I haven’t really liked.