Modern Day Black Face Gets Oscar Nod

Downey isn't in Black Face. He's "portraying a character that is portraying a character that is portraying an African American character". Which makes it ok, yea?

Downey isn't in Black Face. He's "portraying an Australian actor that is portraying a character that is portraying an African American soldier". Which makes it ok, yea?

We all know Black Face is just plain wrong, especially since its 2009, 16 years after the last infamous white actor in black face incident. We also know that movies and tv shows nowadays are SORTA getting away with this kind of stuff by making racist jokes that are self-referential, ironic, or just plain ridiculous (see 30 Rock and The Office). So when I heard that Robert Downey, Jr. in Tropic Thunder was going to play it Black Face, I thought, Uh Oh. But when I saw it, I was SORTA ok with it. He played  “the dude playing a dude, disguised as another dude” with a dose of mental instability to justify the dark toned skin make up. AND they added a real African American actor that called him out on it throughout the entire movie. So it didn’t cause as much controversy. But what hasn’t been getting any news is the fact that Downey was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for the role (except for this LA Times blog entry I found). Which is surprising cause to my knowledge, this is the first time anyone from the Frat Pack/Ben Stiller crew that’s been nominated for an Oscar. Maybe they were more adventurous on the pick cause we all know the Academy was just picking four runner-ups to the most obvious choice for a best supporting actor Oscar in YEARS.  But somehow, this just doesn’t feel right…  Is this another case of white liberal Hollywood trying to make the Downey role seem more relevant than it really is? Did Downey really cross major racial divides to show how Hollywood in 2009 KNOWS that black face is soooo wrong that if they portray it on the silver screen as being ridiculous and irrelevant that it makes it ridiculous and irrelevant in real life? Or was the role sooo funny that Hollywood just plan thought it was hilarious enough for a nomination?

Either way, Hollywood just said an actor portraying a black face character was one of the top five best performances of  2009. And I honestly have no idea what this means in the whole scheme of things… And let’s not get into the movie’s portrayal of Vietnamese guerilla drug soldiers (named Byung?) and mentally disabled people…


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