Oscars still ‘so white’


MCT Photo

Actor John Krasinski and Academy president Cheryl Boone Issacs announce the nominees for Best Actor. It is hopeful that Leonardo DiCaprio might finally win an Oscar after his fifth nomination. Bryan Cranston’s nomination has been criticized as being merely adequate and an actor of color could have taken his place instead.

When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces their nominees for the Oscars, controversy usually emerges and the nominations for 2015 are no exception.

In the past few years, the biggest complaint about the nominations is their lack of diversity. Twitter has taken this to task with #oscarssowhite All nominated actors for 2015, both leading and supporting, are white. In addition, all films nominated for best picture star and are about white people.

President of the Academy Cheryl Boone Isaacs released a statement saying, “While we celebrate their extraordinary achievements, I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion. This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes.”

Many critics are arguing that the Academy overlooked outstanding performances by people of color like Michael B. Jordan for Creed, Samuel L. Jackson for The Hateful Eight, and Idris Elba for Beasts of No Nation in favor of adequate performances by Academy “favorites” like Jennifer Lawrence for Joy and Bryan Cranston for Trumbo.

Interestingly, the only nomination the predominantly black production Creed received a nomination for was white supporting actor Sylvester Stallone. Black director Ryan Coogler was neither nominated for writing the script nor for directing the movie.

Film critic Ben Mankiewicz said on “What The Flick?!”, “For some reason, Creed is also not nominated for best picture and I definitely think it’s better than a bunch of those movies in the top eight… but Creed never got talked about like that. The only thing it seemed to have momentum for was Stallone.”

A similar thing happened with the predominantly black Straight Outta Compton which was only nominated for its screenplay written by an all-white writing team and not for its director F. Gary Gray or its cast.

While some attribute this lack of representation to Academy membership, others find fault with the sheer lack of opportunities for people of color in the film industry.

On “Indies Are My Jam”, film critic Scott Mantz said, “The fact that we can name like, five actors or a director that should’ve been nominated, it’s not enough. [There should be so many actors/directors of color that] We should be forgetting people of diversity who should’ve been nominated.”

Whether it be through changing the structure of the Academy, trying to eliminate institutionalized racism from Hollywood, or something else entirely, the Oscars need to expand their horizons.