Another year, another chance to snub actors and filmmakers of color.
This time—again—it was the Academy Awards whose recent nominations were alarmingly white despite a year of successful diverse films. Even worse, among the Black films in the mix, their only nominations went to white people, Creed’s Sylvester Stallone and the screenwriters of Straight Outta Compton.
Ain’t that something?
And of course, the Academy’s first Black president Cheryl Boone Isaacs had to make a statement about why the #OscarsSoWhiteAgain.
She told Deadline, “Of course I am disappointed…But this is not to take away the greatness [of the films nominated]. This has been a great year in film, it really has across the board.”
However, Boone Isaacs acknowledged that the Academy has been slow to embrace diversity, saying, “You are never going to know what is going to appear on the sheet of paper until you see it. We have got to speed it up.”
No kidding, girl; it’s only 2016. Tell us something we don’t already know.
Yet Reginald Hudlin, a producer for this year’s Academy Awards, was more enlightening with his critique of why these films were shut out.
“I thought there was an extraordinary amount of Oscar-worthy work by black artists and they all got overlooked. But that doesn’t change the fact that those movies are there, those movies are great, audiences love them and they were some of the biggest box office of the year. So America’s clear, the world is clear as they are celebrating them. I hope they are not being punished for their success,” he also told Deadline.
And like Hudlin said: it’s not like there weren’t any contenders of color to pepper the monotony of this year’s nominees.
Where were the noms for Concussion’s Will Smith, Creed’s Michael B. Jordan, Beasts of No Nation’s Idris Elba, Sicario’s Benicio Del Toro or the cast of Straight Outta Compton? What about Viola Davis for Lila and Eve (which may not have been the best film, but a stunning performance nonetheless), Chiraq’s Teyonah Parris and Tangerine‘s transgender stars Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor? Not to mention, there were no directing noms for Spike Lee or Ryan Coogler.
The only person of color to be nominated for a major award was director Alejandro González Iñárritu for his film The Revenant, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio.
And while the Oscars may be just one symptom of a huge diversity gap problem in Hollywood, if Boone Isaacs is really serious about getting her squad up to par, perhaps it’s time to really change that fact that of the 6,261 Academy voters, 94 percent are white, 77 percent are male and the average age is 63 years-old.
Because in order to be nominated for an Oscar, our films shouldn’t only have to cater to those folks’ sensibilities.