February’s Dick-in-a-Box Goes To…

The votes have been submitted and results tallied. After much debate among the award selection committee the lucky recipient of February 2013’s Dick-in-a-Box has been chosen. Your winner? The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences… aka, the organization that created and hosts the annual Oscars ceremony. But really, anyone associated with organizing and putting on the annual show (including this year’s host Seth MacFarlane) has earned a share of this month’s award.

It should be noted that the committee is basing this award on more than just this year’s Oscars broadcast. We consider it to be more of a lifetime achievement for “the Academy.” We liken this to the Academy’s practice of finally awarding an actor, who’s had a career full of Oscar worthy performances, with a long overdue statuette (a la Denzel Washington’s Best Actor win in 2001). They’ve certainly established a long history full of Dick-in-a-Box worthy moments if you ask us and it’s high time they received some recognition for it.

How did the Academy win this months award? What, Seth MacFarlane’s performance as host wasn’t reason enough for you? By now I’m sure you’ve heard plenty of criticism about MacFarlane, so I won’t repeat all that’s already been said. I suggest Googling “Seth MacFarlane” if you need a refresher (the top hits are all about his performance), or you can just check out this video on Gawker:Here Are All of Seth MacFarlane’s Predictable Sexist, Homophobic, and Racist Oscar Jokes.”

I do want to make one quick point on his performance however. Many of MacFarlane’s supporters have defended the “boobs song,” calling it a parody. I would argue that if he was in fact attempting parody then he failed. It’s one thing to have a juvenile response to breasts but the man includes rape scenes in his boob count! To watch a rape, fictionalized or not, and giggle about visible boobs is just plain disturbing. By the way (and this is not meant to in any way defend MacFarlane), it should be noted that many of the media outlets attacking MacFarlane for his “boobs song” are notorious for themselves publishing pictures and pieces on “nip-slips” and “sideboob.” MacFarlane himself points out this irony on Twitter (by linking to this Huffington Post article).

Fact is, the problem of objectifying and sexualizing actresses on Oscar night (and beyond) is much bigger than MacFarlane’s lame jokes. The whole red carpet discussion pre and post Oscars is focused on what these women are wearing and how they look. Take for example Joan Rivers and the rest of the “Fashion Police.” Cruelty is apparently the name of the game, as evidenced by this tweet:

Rivers didn’t stop there of course. Check out what else she said about Adele, this time on Dave Letterman’s show:

Have you ever heard the Academy speak out against this sort of treatment of the women it claims to celebrate? I sure haven’t. Can we be all that surprised then that only 4 women in the 85-year history of the Oscars have ever been nominated for best director? Or that the only woman to win the award (Kathryn Bigelow in 2010) wasn’t nominated this year, while just about everyone else associated with her film Zero Dark Thirty seemingly was? In this context MacFarlane’s performance as host was merely a symptom of a much larger problem.

The Academy’s semi-secret membership is apparently 94% white and 77% male and after MacFarlane’s hosting performance (and subsequent lack of any commentary by Academy representatives) one has to wonder about their collective attitude towards not only women, but people of color. Lets not forget that the Academy’s history with race is just as ugly as a talking teddy bear telling “Jews run Hollywood” jokes on national television.

In 85 years, there have only been four black best actor winners, and one… ONE black best actress winner (Halle Berry in 2002). Even worse for actors of color, according to a study titled “Not Quite a Breakthrough: The Oscars and Actors of Color, 2002-2012″ and reported on Colorlines.com; “no winner in any acting category during the last ten years has been Latino, Asian American, or Native American.” There have also been ZERO black or Latin-American born winners of best director in the entire 85 year history of the Oscars. How does “The Academy” respond to these disturbing facts? By giving us Billy Crystal in blackface, duh!

Billy Crystal in blackface at the 2012 Oscars (Source: BET.com)

Yes, you are looking at Billy Crystal in blackface at the 2012 Oscars (Source: BET.com)

So, for their well established history of exclusionary voting, racism, sexism and poor host choices, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is being awarded February 2013′s Dick-in-a-Box. Oh and we’re including this year’s host, Seth MacFarlane, just for being his usual self.

Dick-in-a-Box winners: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences & Seth MacFarlane

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