For the second year in a row, the Academy Awards have been criticised for the lack of diversity in their nominations. The 20 nominees in the best actor/actress and best supporting actor/actress categories are all white, making the world question if there were actors of colour that made a mark in the last year.
From “The Revenant” to “Room”, all the nominees of 2016 are worthy of receiving the Oscar nod. However, there also came out many movies focusing on black culture and many artists of colour that were part of some of the most brilliant cinemas in not just Hollywood that got snubbed.
The fact that their works go unrecognised is not only shameful because it showcases the systematic bias that is still existent, but also because this lack of diversity questions the legitimacy of the Academy’s choices, thereby black-marking those group of artists who worked equally hard and did receive a nomination.
Many claim that the Academy Awards are given out based on talent and not on race. That, in turn, means there were no Oscar-worthy movies created by Black people in 2015. “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah addresses this question, and Roy Wood Jr., one of the chief correspondents of the show, asks him to name a movie he did like from 2015.
Noah chose “Creed”, which is one of the most critically acclaimed box office hits from the last year, and Roy pointed out that despite the phenomenal performances by Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson, the only person that got nominated for an Academy Award from the movie is Sylvester Stallone – the only white actor in “Creed”. The duo then pointed out that the only way for a Black-centric movie to get nominated is for the movie to be about slavery and oppression.
2015 had actually been a great year for Black cinema, with movies like “Straight Outta Compton” and “Beasts of No Nation”. The fact that the actors of these movies, especially Idris Elba, who portrayed an African warlord in the “Beasts of No Nation”, were snubbed speaks volumes about the Academy voters’ judgement.
Will Packer, a member of the Academy and a Hollywood producer, wrote on his Facebook page regarding the team behind “Straight Outta Compton”: “…To a team that I think was egregiously overlooked by The Academy — Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, F. Gary Gray and Scott Bernstein — what you did was incredible. Many people have no idea about the YEARS that you labored to bring an incredibly challenging and complicated biopic to the big screen.”
Meanwhile, Spike Lee, recipient of a 2016 Honorary Oscar, has decided to boycott the ceremony this year, and so has Jada Pinkett Smith, whose husband Will Smith whose role in “Concussion” was snubbed by the Oscars.
“#OscarSoWhite”, the Twitter trend that was created last year amid similar accusations is making a comeback on social media platforms.
#OscarsSoWhite… Again. I Would Like To Thank President Cheryl Boone Isaacs And The Board Of Governors Of The Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts And Sciences For Awarding Me an Honorary Oscar This Past November. I Am Most Appreciative. However My Wife, Mrs. Tonya Lewis Lee And I Will Not Be Attending The Oscar Ceremony This Coming February. We Cannot Support It And Mean No Disrespect To My Friends, Host Chris Rock and Producer Reggie Hudlin, President Isaacs And The Academy. 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!! It’s No Coincidence I’m Writing This As We Celebrate The 30th Anniversary Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday. Dr. King Said “There Comes A Time When One Must Take A Position That Is Neither Safe, Nor Politic, Nor Popular But He Must Take It Because Conscience Tells Him It’s Right”. For Too Many Years When The Oscars Nominations Are Revealed, My Office Phone Rings Off The Hook With The Media Asking Me My Opinion About The Lack Of African-Americans And This Year Was No Different. For Once, (Maybe) I Would Like The Media To Ask All The White Nominees And Studio Heads How They Feel About Another All White Ballot. If Someone Has Addressed This And I Missed It Then I Stand Mistaken. As I See It, The Academy Awards Is Not Where The “Real” Battle Is. It’s In The Executive Office Of The Hollywood Studios And TV And Cable Networks. This Is Where The Gate Keepers Decide What Gets Made And What Gets Jettisoned To “Turnaround” Or Scrap Heap. This Is What’s Important. The Gate Keepers. Those With “The Green Light” Vote. As The Great Actor Leslie Odom Jr. Sings And Dances In The Game Changing Broadway Musical HAMILTON, “I WANNA BE IN THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS”. People, The Truth Is We Ain’t In Those Rooms And Until Minorities Are, The Oscar Nominees Will Remain Lilly White. (Cont’d)