USC experts look at the Oscar nominations and the state of the film industry
Film, music, media and marketing pros discuss the issues surrounding Hollywoods annual celebration of itself
With Tuesday mornings Oscar nominations fresh in our minds, USC experts weigh in:
La La Land: Rooted in nostalgia as much as music
The success of La La Land brings up fascinating questions as to public taste in movies and musicals. Does the public yearn for movies with less violence and sex? Does the public yearn for simpler, more everyday singing in musicals rather than the belting and processed sound of today? Is the looking backward to the older, sweeter musicals in general and to The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and Les Demoiselles de Rochefort from the 60s, in particular, a one-time exception or a template for the future?
Assistant professor of musical theater at the USC Thornton School of Music
#IndustrySoWhite bigger problem than #OscarsSoWhite
There cant be many nominees [of color] until people are given the opportunity in prominent, meaningful roles. The Oscars are the end of the line. When those opportunities come at the front end, then the nominations will probably flow accordingly. And if they don’t, then youll really have a pushback.
It has to be a top-down as well as bottom-up change. At some point youre going to have to come in and make changes. You have to change the consciousness.
Professor of critical studies at the USC School of Cinematic Arts
Were seeing entrenched inequality. Whether were studying gender, race, ethnicity, LGBT or characters with disabilities, were really seeing exclusionary forces leaving out anybody thats not a straight, white, able-bodied man.
Creating more equitable content requires taking steps to counter implicit and explicit biases. Lets ensure that no more stories, role models or time are lost simply because the film industry does not keep pace with the population.
Director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalisms Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative
Oscar cachet = box office cash
When used in marketing campaigns, this validation stamp increases the desire of moviegoers to see the films and the talent being honored. It also keeps the movies in theaters longer boosting box office receipts. And it substantially increases downstream revenues from DVD sales, streaming, downloads and cable TV revenues.
The talent sees you, the studio, are investing in him, and theyre doing the same. The rule of thumb, for talent, is that they pay their publicity people double during awards season.
Assistant professor of clinical marketing at the USC Marshall School of Business