Why Are Nepotism Kids in Hollywood Getting So Worked Up Over an Article?
If there was a poll for what the word of the year would be, the last few weeks are a strong argument for “nepotism.” Over the last few years, with so many new actors, models, etc. being attached to a famous last name, it has become more and more apparent that nepotism is a problem. Not a new problem, of course, but still. Then New York Magazine put out a piece titled “An All But Definitive Guide to the Hollywood Nepo-Verse” and a shit storm emerged. Even actors who have made a career so definitive that people have forgotten their gilded roots have decided to chime in.
The piece breaks down the connections of a myriad of personalities across industries. It separates nepo-babies with famous relatives from industry babies who have like a relative in the industry, but not notable people. It doesn’t put any judgment on the talent of said actors, but it does acknowledge that the idea of a meritocracy is flawed when it comes to acting. Anyone with a knowledge of cinema history can see that stories of actors who came out from nowhere and launched long-term careers have gotten rarer—the same as in the U.K., where there are becoming fewer and fewer working-class actors. The difference isn’t just about talent and connections, but how that inheritance allows actors to not have to hustle in the same way.
So many of these nepotism actors have talked about working their butt off once they get into the room, but getting in the room is the hardest part. How many working actors are dealing with weird job schedules in order to make ends meet and struggling to get to auditions, pay for headshots, etc? It is not an easy job to keep up with all of these things and the ability to not worry about them is a privilege.
“Talent” also gets thrown around as justification for success as if talented people who never got an opportunity or had to make difficult choices don’t exist. Talent doesn’t erase privilege, nor does it make the talent of Angelina Jolie, Jane Fonda, or others less real. They have talent and lots of these younger stars have had to work in order to make their careers stick—but the ability to be mediocre and then grow is a privilege, as is the chance to even have your talent seen by the right people in the first place. The ability to be cast in a small role in your father’s movie matters. I can have empathy for not wanting to be judged by your parent’s legacy, but the well runs dry when they can’t recognize the large issues.
I care about us being able to raise up new generations of actors and that comes with investing in the arts so that everyone can be part of it, not just the elite.
(image: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)
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