Academy Award Nominations Revive 'Oscars So White' Complaints

Actor John Krasinski and president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Cheryl Boone Isaacs announce the nominees for Best Actor in a Supporting Role during the 88th Oscars nominations announcement on Thursday.
Actor John Krasinski and president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Cheryl Boone Isaacs announce the nominees for Best Actor in a Supporting Role during the 88th Oscars nominations announcement on Thursday.

#OscarsSoWhite is the latest Hollywood sequel.

For the second year in a row, only white actors and actresses were named as contenders for Oscar awards during a live announcement Jan. 14 ahead of the 88th annual Academy Awards ceremony.

Other than Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu, no other person of color was represented among the top categories for Oscar gold.

Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and actor Leonardo DiCaprio
Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and actor Leonardo DiCaprio

The Washington Post points out that of the “37 percent of the U.S. population, minorities bought 46 percent of the $1.2 billion in tickets sold in the United States last year,” diversity wasn’t represented by the Academy this year despite a black Academy president in Cheryl Boone Isaacs–the first African-American president of the organization–a black producer in Reginald Hudlin and a black host in Chris Rock, who now has plenty of fodder for his opening monologue.

“In a year with an extraordinary number of great performances by black actors that were embraced by audiences and embraced by critics, for them all to get ignored is tragic,” said Hudlin following the announcement.

“Action needs to be taken to make sure that the industry as a whole is more inclusive with the hiring and the mentoring and the promoting of diverse product and diversity among filmmakers,” echoed Isaacs.

The hashtag “#OscarsSoWhite” trended yet again on Twitter after the early morning announcement Thursday that “The Revenant” led with 12 nods, followed by “Mad Max: Fury Road” with 10, and “Brooklyn,” “Spotlight,” “The Martian,” “Bridge of Spies,” “The Big Short” and “Room”–all largely white-led films.

Noticeably, the Best Picture category can include 10 nominees, but only eight received recognition, leaving out critically acclaimed contenders “Straight Outta Compton,” “Creed,” “Concussion” and other films that featured a black actor in a lead role, including Samuel L. Jackson in Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” and Gotham Award-winning transgender actress and Independent Spirit Award nominee Maya Taylor in indie favorite “Tangerine.”

Of the major contenders, it’s black-Canadian crooner The Weeknd, real name Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, who scored a major nod for “Earned It” in the Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original song) category. “What Happened, Miss Simone” received a nod for best Documentary Feature for the black signer-pianist’s life story.

Interestingly, white actor Sylvester Stallone was recognized among a largely black cast in “Creed” with a Best Supporting Actor nod, and white scribes Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff got nods for their story on black rappers N.W.A.’s rise to fame in “Straight Outta Compton.”

Independent Spirit Award-winning actress Heather Matarazzo was among the voices crying foul on minorities being shunned this year. “You know what I’m NOT doing February 28th? Watching the Oscars. Instead I’ll be watching Beast of No Nation and Tangerine. ,” she tweeted.

Seemingly–and ironically–predicting the outcome, Chris Rock powdered his hands white in an early Oscar promo. “You might have to put some of that powder on your face this year, ,” New York Times writer Charles M. Blow said of the ad spot on Thursday.

 

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