All White Oscar nominees this year too?
Last year, the Oscar acting awards nominees were all White. Well, this year we are seeing the same picture, the 20 nominees are all White.
During last year's Oscar awards the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite went viral, with people blasting the Oscar awards on twitter for forgetting to nominate dramas like Fruitvale Station and Selma (which has outstanding black cast) and their stars and directors.
Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the first Black president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, expressed her disappointment to Deadline saying: “Of course I am disappointed, but this is not to take away the greatness (of the nominations). This has been a great year in film, it really has across the board. You are never going to know what is going to appear on the sheet of paper until you see it.”
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Among the great colored talent expected to have been on the list of nominees are Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation) for the Best Actor category; Michael B Jordan (Creed), Will Smith (Concussion), Jason Mitchell (Straight Outta Compton) or Benicio Del Toro (Sicario).
Will Packer, producer for "Straight Outta Compton," also shared his dismay over minorities not being represented at the Academy Awards, saying: "The reason the rest of the world looks at us like we have no clue is because in 2016 it's a complete embarrassment to say that the heights of cinematic achievement have only been reached by white people. I repeat — it's embarrassing."
There have been efforts to widen the pool of people of color in such awards by Isaacs, by urging the Academy increase it's membership to include more of them. Clearly that didn't do it. As per the article #Oscars So White-The Sequel, blogger Ed Diokno writes:
It seems the only way an actor or director of color can get an Oscar is in a special honorific category. That’s what happened when director Spike Lee received an honorary Oscar at the Governors Awards. Lee took the occasion to excoriate the industry saying that it was “easier to be president of the United States as a Black man than be the head of a studio.”
"By the year 2043, White Americans are going to be a minority in this country. And all you people out there in the position of hiring, you better get smart. Because your work force should reflect what this country looks like," said Lee in his acceptance speech. "Everybody in here probably voted for Obama but when I go to offices, I see no Black folks except for the brother man at security."
Does this mean minority actors and directors aren't good enough for the Oscars? Definitely not. Its just that the decision makers - the directors, writers and producers - are mainly white, who still command lots of influence in Hollywood. What people of color lack is opportunity to get the great roles.
Well, Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith announced that they will be boycotting the awards ceremony due to lack of diversity among the nominees. "At the Oscars, people of color are always welcomed to give out awards, even entertain, but we are rarely recognized for our artistic accomplishments," wrote Jada on Facebook and Twitter.
On the other hand Lee said: "But, How Is It Possible For The 2nd Consecutive Year All 20 Contenders Under The Actor Category Are White? And Let's Not Even Get Into The Other Branches. 40 White Actors In 2 Years And No Flava At All. We Can't Act?! WTF!!"
The fact that Hollywood is predominantly white depicts symptoms of a problem that is so real. Maybe some day, the representation will be diverse. Question is: When?
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