Since the announcement of the 2015 Oscar Nominees this morning, a flurry of both excitement and condemnation has overtaken the social media stratosphere. Where are the women? Where are the people of colour? There hasn't been this few nominations of women and people of colour since 1998! How could we be going backwards?!
Yet while my outrage at the whitewashed, male exclusivity of this years nominees burns through my idealistic soul, I find myself excited, as well, to have films included that feature such inspirational, courageous and influential leaders as Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Alan Turing in The Imitation Game and Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything.
Did many films deserve more nominations than they received? Without a doubt. But compared to nominees of past years, these films are incredibly relevant to the challenges and social justice issues that we are still dealing with today.
And so I am conflicted.
I feel that as a woman with her own production company focused on bringing social justice issues to the forefront of audiences minds, I must - and do - side with outrage. However, having seen these three films, I must say that I am also a little relieved that films with relevant content, complex story structures and beautiful design have been recognized by the Oscars at all.
Is the battle for equal rights over? I wouldn't even say we're close. Are we moving backwards instead of forwards? More and more so... But maybe instead of everyone complaining about The Academy doing exactly what they do every year, we could celebrate amazing films without the dang Academy.
I read a wonderful article by Joel Mark Harris entitled "The 1 Thing You Need To Make Money Writing" which, I found, was not so much about making money but about the importance of leadership in writing.
The idea of leading through one's writing is the crux of what I want The Purple Stapler to achieve. It is the song that sings in my heart as I trudge onward trying to fund projects that I believe in. Because what is the point of writing or creating work of any kind that is not relevant? Work that doesn't say something meaningful or ask for the betterment of human lives?
Martin Luther King himself said "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?"
These films feature leaders who saved millions of lives and revolutionized the world. They deal with social justice, civil rights and the struggles of disease. By making these films today, the filmmakers have lead their audiences to ask just that: what are you doing for others? They are some of the best, most poignant films that I've watched in a very, very long time and they have inspired me to continue fighting for equal rights.
Women and people of colour got left behind this year in the 2015 Oscar Nominations and the tragedy of that loss echoes across many lives, including my own. But the war is not over and I don't know about you, but I would rather try to focus on the positives as we press forward.
I am a strong believer in excellence speaking for itself and not needing awards to make a difference. Though it is powerful to be recognized and Ava DuVernay 100% deserves at least a nomination for best director - every time someone watches Selma, they witness the horrors of racism. And maybe, just maybe, more people will do something about it.
So lets keep up the fight. Lets push forward towards equality for all PEOPLE - all genders, sexes, races, nationalities, religions, sexual orientations, you name it. Lets keep making films that challenge The Academy's perception of what makes an award worthy film.
And lets celebrate the wonderful films made this year that did fight for those rights by bringing awareness and diversity to the screen despite The Academy's perpetuation of white male privilege.