For the second time in a row, the Academy Awards white washing the Oscar nominees, has resulted in the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. Now, the president of the Academy has decided to come forward yet again to express her frustration for the second time about the lack of diversity in the nominations.
According to Deadline Hollywood, the president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, reacted in a way that was both diplomatic, but clearly frustrated as she spoke about the diversity problem among the nominations. As stated, this is the second year in a row that there’s a severe lack of people of color nominated. This year we have no minorities in the acting categories and whistle blowers took to social media again to protest.
— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) January 14, 2016
African American centered films like Beats of No Nation, Concussion, Straight Outta Compton, and actor Michael B. Jordan as well as director Ryan Coogler, were all left out of the nominations. While Michael B. Jordan wasn’t expected to be nominated, director Coogler, who single-handedly revamped the Rocky franchise, and created a relevant piece of work for people to love and build on for years, was expected to earn a nomination.
Of the problem that’s facing the Academy for the second time in a row, Boone told Deadline that she is disappointed. “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. You are never going to know what is going to appear on the sheet of paper until you see it.”
She continued, “We have got to speed it up.” In addition to the African American community, the only person from the Latin community featured was Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu for the Leonardo DiCaprio helmed film The Revenant.
Last year, when called on for a comment, Cheryl Boone Isaacs was hopeful despite Selma failing to receive more nominations, even though critical praise was strong. In a statement, she said the following.
“In the last two years, we’ve made greater strides than we ever have in the past toward becoming a more diverse and inclusive organization through admitting new members and more inclusive classes of members.”
— ThinkProgress (@thinkprogress) January 15, 2016
That said, should the Oscars really be blamed, or does this highlight a bigger problem in Hollywood? Where roles for black actors and actresses just don’t exist as much as they do for Caucasian actors and actresses? Where names like Taraji P. Henson, Viola Davis, and Kerry Washington are celebrated on television, a medium that seems to be having a clear golden age in storytelling, and on the other side is film, which seems to be lacking.
Sure, we have our Denzels and our Will Smiths, but should they be expected to carry a whole community? While the Academy is currently heralding and marketing Jennifer Lawrence, it has never made a huge deal out of Michael B. Jordan, especially when he gained major buzz for Fruitvale Station in 2014.
In March of 2015, UCLA’s report wanted to get down to the bottom of this, and to the shock of no one, the report found that these decisions are made at the top level, and that diversity problems stem from a lack of minorities in executive roles. According to the report, “Overwhelming white and male executives coupled with predominantly white rosters in the industry’s top three talent agencies are mainly to blame for the lack of diversity Hollywood.”
The study, which was authored by Dr. Darnell Hunt and Dr. Ana-Christina Ramón said of their findings the following.
“Because of the high risk associated with the typical project — most new television shows fail, most films underperform — individual stakeholders in the industry (typically white and male) look to surround themselves with other individuals with whom they feel comfortable, with whom they feel they have the best prospects for producing a successful project.”
Who do you think is to blame?
[Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images]