With a wardrobe of dapper suits, thick-rimmed glasses and goofy Brit demeanour, John Oliver is slowly becoming the face of satirical US television. Last Week Tonight With John Oliver is a Brooker-esque current affairs show which also undertakes important investigations into social injustice. From FIFA corruption to bizarre abortion laws, nothing escapes Oliver’s eye. His sardonic tone was first formed as writer on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show a few years back so it’s no surprise that his own show has become an online success. This week he and his team tackled #OscarsSoWhite with a guide to Hollywood Whitewashing asking ‘How Is This Still A Thing?’
The Oscars (and Hollywood) have been criticised this year for a lack of diversity in its award nominations – in fact Oliver’s video accurately describes them as ‘whiter than a yeti in a snowstorm fighting Tilda Swinton’. Instead of just addressing the nomination controversy – Oliver’s video attempts to get to the root of the problem, by criticising the lack of roles for non-white actors. Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton, stars of Exodous: Gods and Kings are the wrong end of some of the harshest jokes, due to their ill-advised casting in a film about Ancient Egypt, as well as Mickey Rooney, Jake Gyllenhaal and Marlon Brando, all of whom have played contentious roles during their careers.
Take a look for yourself and see how Hollywood’s race problem is in fact as old as dirt and be prepared to be shocked at the some of the stuff Hollywood is still getting away with.