#OscarsSoWhite has been trending all over the media for the past week, after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominated all white actors for the second year in a row. There has been speculation that this is due to the demographic of the voters, which is composed of 94% caucasian, 77% male, and has an average age of 63. In 2016, this is not representative of demographic of moviegoers, the industry, or even the past year’s films.
Ironically, there were films with black actors, directors, and screenwriters that did receive nominations -- but only for the white people involved. For example, Creed was written and directed by Ryan Coogler and starred Michael B. Jordan, both of whom are black men; however, the only nomination for the film went to obviously white Sylvester Stallone. Furthermore, Straight Outta Compton starred primarily young, black actors and was directed by black F. Gary Gray, but the movie was only nominated for its screenplay (which was written by two caucasians).
While these nominations failed to acknowledge the minorities involved, some notable work from the past year has been completely overlooked altogether. Beasts of No Nation’s Idris Elba has been nominated for Best Performance and Best Supporting Role by the Golden Globes and BAFTA awards, but the film as a whole received zero nominations from the Academy Awards. The year before, British actor David Oyelowo was also ignored for his performance as Martin Luther King, Jr. in the highly acclaimed Selma. The film was also directed by Ava Du Verney, who could have potentially been the first black woman up for Best Director … if she would have even been nominated.
This being said, the Academy Award´s lack of diversity also encompasses other minority groups and women in all categories. For example, one of the only non-white nominations from the past two years has been Mexican Alejandro González Iñárritu. However, only 4 women have ever been nominated for best director, of which Kathryn Bigelow is the sole winner. Also, Ian McKellen has recently pointed out the lack of homosexual Oscar nominations, saying, "It's not only black people who've been disregarded by the film industry, it used to be women, it's certainly gay people to this day."
The controversy has sparked a wide range of reactions from a number of celebrities, including the ceremony’s host, Chris Rock, who has since rewritten his opening monologue in response. A number of celebrities, including Jada Pinkett Smith and husband Will Smith, are publicly boycotting the awards. On a different note, Charlotte Rampling, nominated for best actress, says the push for more diversity is ¨racist towards white people¨ and that “...maybe the black actors didn’t deserve to make it to the final list”. The Academy's board of governors has quickly responded to the controversy by promising to double the number of minority and female members by 2020. Amidt all of the high-intensity conversation surrounding the awards, maybe one of the best responses has been SNL’s hilarious yet very satirical spoof of the entire ordeal.
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