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In Oscar Surprise, White Males Are Shut Out

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Kwak Sin Ae and Bong Joon Ho win Oscar for Best Picture for "Parasite" at the 92nd Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 9, 2020. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Big winners in the 2020 Academy Awards illustrated a possible reaction by Oscar voters to widespread criticism of white-male domination of the nominations. In the end, the most prestigious non-acting awards left white males shut out. PARASITE, a brutal dark comedy from Korea with no whites in the cast, swept Best Picture, Best International Film, Best Original Screenplay and Best Director.

In another surprise, Best Adapted Screenplay went to JOJO RABBIT and Taika Waititi, who identifies as Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand.

Finally, Best Film Score went, for the first time, to a woman:  Icelandic composer Hildur Gudnadottir for the dreary, demented JOKER.

Such choices may silence angry accusations of lack of diversity, while the PARASITE sweep illustrates an odd tendency to honor films with modest domestic box office receipts—as with BIRDMAN or HURT LOCKER in recent years.

Hollywood elites seem determined to show they’re neither racist nor mercenary—even at the expense of slighting more worthy achievement.

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