The Race for the Gold Logie: Are Australia's Multicultural Gold Logie Nominees an Answer to #OscarsSoWhite?

Benjamin Quirk / Adelaide University | 20-Jul-2016
As the Australian TV Week Logies nominees were announced, eyes were directed towards the race for the eminent Gold Logie, awarded to the nation's most popular TV personality. However, this year, it was not the professional work of the nominees that drew attention, but rather the racial diversity of this year's pool
As the Australian TV Week Logies nominees were announced, eyes were directed towards the race for the eminent Gold Logie, awarded to the nation's most popular TV personality. However, this year, it was not the professional work of the nominees that drew attention, but rather the racial diversity of this year's pool. For the first time in well over twenty years, the nominees were not all White-Caucasian. This year, Waleed Aly and Lee Lin Chin have received nods for their work on The Project and SBS World News. Quickly, it was discerned that in its 58-year history, the Gold Logie has never been awarded to a person of colour or international descent. The diversity of the 2016 Logie nominations was astounding to many.

Earlier in the year, the Academy Awards were surrounded with a controversy of racial discrimination when for the second consecutive year, all nominees in the major acting categories were white. Subsequently, the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite resurfaced and led to the boycotting of the event by industry celebrities such as Will Smith and Spike Lee. While the Academy rightfully defended itself by justifying that nominations are based on merit not race, and despite desperately trying to defuse discontent by hiring African-American comedian Chris Rock as its host, the Oscars were unsuccessful in shaking the controversy, with the hashtag becoming the butt of Rock's slightly slanderous opening monologue.

The contrast that can be drawn between the nominees at the Logies and the Oscars is undoubtedly a distinction of multi-culturalism. This leads me to question, while the Gold Logie nominees are determined by the votes of the Australian public, were the inclusions of Waleed Aly and Lee Lin Chin made in response to the controversy of the Oscars in attempt to avoid the creation of #LogiesSoWhite? I personally consider Waleed Aly and Lee Lin Chin to be outstanding nominees as both have developed into iconic figures in modern Australian television. I would also consider both their work far more deserving than that of previous winners Scotty Cam who converted his Gold Logie into a beer opener, or Karl Stefanovic who used his speech time to comment on the excellence of his wife's ass. Host of Channel Nine's breakfast program, Today, Lisa Wilkinson found herself in hot water after joking that despite a spray tan, she was still "too white" to receive a nomination. Thus, the race for the Gold Logie has caused quite the stir.

Nonetheless, while the Logies will remain Australia's B-grade attempt to replicate an award show that has the prestige of the Oscars, industry insiders can rest easy knowing that they have finally stepped into the the 21st century and acknowledged the diverse array of talent in Australia, and I hope that this will lead to the greater representation of cultures on channels other than SBS.

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