I was waiting for an online conversation about this but so far there’s been very little.
In light of the recent, ahem, revelations (wink), that the Academy is mostly white, male and middle aged, I’m wondering why more people didn’t question Billy Crystal’s decision to appear in Black face during the Oscars telecast.
Instead, I heard a few questions about Sean Coombs. What’s he doing here? He was an executive producer of Undefeated, the documentary that took home the Oscar. There were grumblings about Chris Rock’s quite correct observation about the lack of roles for African American actors in animation. (Of course there are star turns, from Eddie Murphy in the Shrek franchise and Samuel L. Jackson’s performance as Frozone in The Incredibles. Black women? Christiana Milian did voice Kim Possible.) Throw in a few mild jokes about Ms. Spencer and Ms. Davis and her hair.
But not a peep about the black face which Wikipedia describes as a form of theatrical makeup used in minstrel shows, and later vaudeville, in which performers create a stereotyped caricature of a black person.
The possibilities are tantalizing. A jab at Eddie Murphy for ditching the Oscar hosting gig? A celebration of the old time values of The Help?
Did you notice the black face? What did you think? Did you decide to simply luxuriate in the glamour of the evening?