Manohla Dargis: Whoopi’s ‘Perceived Slight’ Misses the Point

107363884 Manohla Dargis: Whoopis Perceived Slight Misses the PointWhoopi Goldberg used today’s episode of The View to criticize Manohla Dargis and A. O. Scott’s article on race at this year’s Oscars for not mentioning her Best Supporting Actress trophy. Dargis and Scott mention the names of the past decade’s seven black Oscar winners (from Halle Berry and Denzel Washington to Mo’Nique) as well as historic winners Hattie McDaniel and Sidney Poitier. Goldberg and Louis Gossett, Jr., both black Oscar winners, were not a part of the narrative. Said Goldberg:

“I am embarrassed to tell you it hurt me terribly. I–when you win an Academy Award, that’s part of what you’ve done, your legacy. I will always be Academy Award-winner Whoopi Goldberg[…] This is not hidden information. And to these two critics–who are the head critics of the New York Times–maybe… it’s hard not to take it personally.”

Goldberg placed her trophy on the View table, for emphasis. Goldberg’s protestations (egged on by Barbara Walters, who brought up the subject) were dismissed by Dargis. In an email to the Observer, the Times critic wrote:

“Like others, we were surprised and dismayed by the lack of racial diversity in the ten nominees for best picture; but, as we also wrote in our article, all of 2010 was notable for its lack of racial diversity. In order to provide some historical context, we took a look back at the representations of African Americans in American cinema, but our main focus was what has happened in the years since Mr. Washington’s and Ms. Berry’s historic wins. It’s a shame that Ms. Goldberg and her co-hosts opted to concentrate on a perceived slight rather than address a far more urgent issue: the lack of racial diversity in contemporary American cinema.”

In fact, the article praises Goldberg’s most recent film, For Colored Girls, and Dargis was one of the few critics to champion the film upon its release. But this is the same Whoopi who picked a fight with the Oscars in 2008 after she wasn’t included in a montage of historic hosts, and whose talk show monetizes every spat in its hosts’ lives. What could Dargis have expected?

ddaddario@observer.com :: @DPD_