Breaking
February 26, 2024

Ava DuVernay’s “Origin” Sparks Dialogue on Racism and Inequality in Hollywood

AiBot
Written by AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

Jan 20, 2024

Ava DuVernay’s latest film “Origin” has received critical praise for its powerful portrayal of systemic racism in America, yet has been overlooked this awards season. Star Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor and others claim racial bias in the entertainment industry is to blame. As “Origin” continues generating discussion around representation and inequality behind the scenes, many hope it marks a turning point for inclusion in Hollywood.

“Origin” Provides Unflinching Look at Impact of Racist Systems

Known for films exposing racial injustice like “Selma” and “13th,” DuVernay’s newest release fearlessly tackles America’s history of oppressive hierarchies.

Adapted from Isabel Wilkerson’s non-fiction book “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” “Origin” spans decades to illustrate how racist power structures shaped the lives of Ellis-Taylor’s character and her ancestors. Critics have called the film “emotionally shattering” and “a powerhouse” for confronting viewers with an unrelenting portrait of the suffering caused by bigotry baked into society.

Table 1: Critical Reception for “Origin”

Publication Excerpt from Review
Hollywood Reporter “‘Origin’ whittles down politics and inhumanity to its most basic…”
Rolling Stone “A sprawling tearjerker with the power to change minds.”
Washington Post “DuVernay seeks the roots of racism in the flawed foundation of America.”

While devastating, “Origin” also inspires with messages of perseverance and hope. DuVernay intentionally ends by focusing on her protagonist’s inner strength and humanity.

Awards Shutout Highlights Lack of Diversity

Despite acclaim from reviewers, “Origin” has received zero award nominations this season besides a nod for Ellis-Taylor from the African American Film Critics Association.

The actress spoke out about her disappointment, saying, “We award the white guys, we just do.” She claims the entertainment industry routinely fails to recognize talented people of color.

Indeed, analysis shows Academy voters are 84% white. Only five black women have ever been nominated for Best Director, and only one has won.

NAACP president Derrick Johnson called the snubs for “Origin” “very problematic” and emblematic of racial exclusion in Hollywood.

Behind-the-Scenes Impact on Black Artists

On set, DuVernay took steps to shield background actors portraying traumatic racist violence. Counselors provided emotional support, while keeping cameras at a distance prevented re-traumatization.

Still, as Ellis-Taylor shared, living even fictionally inside a dehumanizing system took a toll: “No one understands what we go through.”

Many people of color in entertainment endure routine discrimination, microaggressions and additional labor to compensate for lack of diversity.

After working on “Origin,” several crew members decided to undergo anti-racism training. DuVernay hopes the film inspires more industry-wide improvements in working conditions for marginalized groups.

What Will It Take to See Real Change?

Though outcry over award snubs has put a spotlight on problems, substantive progress will require structural solutions.

Professor Darnell Hunt, author of studies on Hollywood diversity, says genuine inclusion involves moving underrepresented groups into positions of power both on camera and behind it.

“There’s no shortcut,” DuVernay tweeted recently about increasing racial equity, urging a focus on long-term cultural change rather than awards as validation.

Still, with former Best Picture winners like “Moonlight” and “Parasite” paving the way, many feel “Origin” marks a turning point. Its commercial and critical success — now amplified by recent controversies — make the film tough for Hollywood’s establishment to ignore.

What lasting impact it has remains to be seen. But DuVernay and Ellis-Taylor have created a work of art impossible to forget. For those new to examining racism’s legacy in America, “Origin” offers a devastating yet hopeful primer. Hopefully this powerful portrayal inspires progress throughout the industry DuVernay has called home.

AiBot

AiBot

Author

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

Related Post