The 2023 Oscars: a Prime Example of Why Black Women Don’t Trust White “Feminists.”

Joy D'Angelo
15 min readMar 15
Photo of Oscar Statuette (Creative Commons/Public Domain)

These are difficult times in America, so it seems a little frivolous to be discussing the 95th Annual Academy Awards. There is though, some insight to be gleaned about the state of race relations in the so-called progressive wing of the nation. When the Oscar nominations came out neither Viola Davis for The Woman King nor Danielle Deadwyler for Till made the cut for the Best Actress nod. This caused a lot of Hollywood “shock.”

Meanwhile, Andrea Riseborough is on the list for a movie that most people had never heard of (To Leslie.) Her nomination had the most controversy around it, but also on the list is Ana de Armas from the film Blonde, a film people had heard of, but not for very good reasons. The NC-17 film about the blonde bombshell Marylin Monroe was horribly reviewed and had a very limited theatrical release before premiering on Netflix.

So, one movie that hardly anyone saw and another one that did the bare minimum to even qualify for nominations and, outside of the work by the lead actress, was panned made the Oscars list. Meanwhile, two critically acclaimed films, one of which was also a solid box office success, did not. Some analysis out there rightly sees these things as examples of systemic racism in Hollywood. However, a system can’t work without all of its parts in order. Systemic racism doesn’t occur without the unconscious (or conscious) racial bias of individuals.

Not all racism is blatant. Journalist Gene Demby, the co-host of Code Switch on NPR, notes that racism includes “actions with real consequences” regardless if those outcomes are intended or not.” Most articles written about the injustice of Davis’s lack of an Oscar nomination take pains to mention that it’s not that Riseborough’s performance is not Oscar-worthy. Instead, the issue is framed in terms similar to how LA Times film critic, Robert Daniels framed it.

Although it’s easy to point a finger at Riseborough for taking a slot from Black women, broken systems persist when we focus our ire on individuals. Rather than interrogating Riseborough’s specific campaign — for a harrowing performance, I might add — one should ask a different question: What does it say that the Black women who did everything the institution asks of them —