Actor cites misogynoir in Oscar snub
Danielle Deadwyler says racism and misogynoir played a role in this year’s Academy Awards nominations, where she and Viola Davis were overlooked in the best actress category.
Going into Oscar nominations last month, Deadwyler was widely seen as a likely nominee for her lauded performance as Mamie Till-mobley in “Till.” But the best actress field didn’t shake out as expected: Both Deadwyler and Davis were left out.
Davis, an Oscar winner for “Fences” and four-time nominee, had been celebrated for the historical epic “The Woman King.”
That two prominent Black actors were among the most striking snubs has been seen by some as a reflection of racial bias in the film industry. The day after the Oscar nominations, “Till” director Chinonye Chukwu posted on Instagram: “We live in a world and work in industries that are so aggressively committed to upholding whiteness and perpetuating an unabashed misogyny towards Black women.”
Asked for her reaction to that comment on an episode of the “Kermode & Mayo’s Take” podcast posted Friday, Deadwyler strongly agreed.
“We’re talking about people who perhaps chose not to see the film — we’re talking about misogynoir — like it comes in all kinds of ways, whether it’s direct or indirect,” she said. “It impacts who we are.”
Misogynoir refers to misogyny and prejudice directed at Black women.
That Deadwyler and Davis were edged out of an Oscar nomination is part of what fueled the backlash to the grassroots campaign for actor Andrea Riseborough, who landed a nomination for her performance
in “To Leslie.” The other nominees are Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”), Cate Blanchett (“Tar”), Ana de Armas (“Blonde”) and Michelle Williams (“The Fabelmans”).
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences found no reason to rescind Riseborough’s nomination or take any other action after an inquiry into her campaign.
But the conversation has continued on how money, race, status and connections can influence awards campaigns. “The Woman King” director Gina Prince-bythewood said last week that she questioned how people in the film industry are using their social capital.
“People like to say,
‘Well, Viola and Danielle had studios behind them.’ But we just very clearly saw that social capital is more valuable than that,” Prince-bythewood told
the Hollywood Reporter. “That type of power is exercised in more casual ways in social circles … There may be diversity on your sets but not in your lives. And Black women in this industry, we don’t have that power.”
Deadwyler said on the podcast it was everyone’s responsibility to ensure an equitable playing field.
“Nobody is absolved of not participating in racism and not knowing that there is a possibility of its lingering effect on the spaces and the institution,” she said.
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