Steve McQueen‘s slavery-themed film 12 Years a Slave won the top honor at the 86th Annual Academy Awards Sunday night in Los Angeles.
Actor Will Smith, who was awarded a Razzie on Saturday for worst actor in a flop (After Earth), presented the Best Picture Oscar Award to 12 Years a Slave.
Director McQueen said: “Everyone deserves not just to survive but to live… I dedicate this award to all the people who have endured slavery and the 21 million people who still suffer slavery today.”
It was another “end of white guilt” moment for the Oscar Academy who have conditioned audiences to believe that black actors are only at their best when they portray slaves or humble domestic help.
Earlier in the telecast, Oscar host Ellen Degeneres quipped, “Possibility Number One, 12 Years a Slave Wins. Possibility Number Two, you’re all racists.”
The great actress Hattie McDaniel, the first black actor to win a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as Mammy in the epic Gone With the Wind in 1939, once said, “Hell, I’d rather play a maid than be one.”
The irony that is lost on us is that we are still playing maids 75 years later, and we are still playing slaves 200 years after slavery was abolished in America.
Black people who don’t know any better will take pride in McQueen’s achievement, but until the Academy’s old guard respects black actors for roles other than slaves, humble housemaids and drug addicts nothing will change in Hollywood.