Neil Patrick Harris started the 2015 Academy Awards with a controversial, and powerful, statement. During his opening monologue, the actor and comedian said: “Today we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest.” Although he immediately apologized, explaining that he meant to say “brightest,” Harris made his opinion quite clear.
The How I Met Your Mother star is not alone in his criticism of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Numerous civil rights organizations, including the National Action Network, have spoken out against the lack of diversity among the 2015 Oscar nominees.
— Nerdy Wonka (@NerdyWonka) February 23, 2015
As reported by Los Angeles Times, this year’s nominees in the acting and directing categories were overwhelmingly caucasian. In fact, all 20 nominees in the acting category are white.
— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) February 21, 2015
Darnell Hunt, director of UCLA’s Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, blames a lack of diversity within the academy itself.
“It really does speak to this disconnect between the industry and America… The academy is overwhelmingly white, overwhelmingly male and most membership is in their 60s. There’s a certain taste and culture there… that isn’t very inclusive of diverse points of view.”
Currently, nearly 94 percent of academy members are white and 77 percent of the members are men. Although the academy has attempted to add “more women and minority” members, it could take decades to achieve true diversity.
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) February 23, 2015
Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs denies a lack of diversity within the academy. However, she believes “chitter-chatter” about those working in the film industry is “good news.”
“The good news is that the wealth of talent is there, and it’s being discussed, and it’s helpful so much for talent — whether in front of the camera or behind the camera — to have this recognition, to have this period of time where there is a lot of publicity… “
As reported by Huffington Post, the 2015 Oscar nominees were announced in January. Following the announcement, outraged fans created the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, which became a popular trend on Twitter.
#OscarsSoWhite the most black you’ll see tonight will be the men’s tuxedos.
— ᴅᴏʟʟᴀʀ (@callmedollar) February 22, 2015
Less than one month later, Neil Patrick Harris chimed in with his own Twitter post. While attending the Oscar Nominees Luncheon, Harris snapped a “selfie” with the Oscar nominees in the background. Describing the photo, Harris stated that the nominees “all look so white!”
— Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) February 3, 2015
Neil Patrick Harris’ 2015 Academy Awards monologue will likely remain a point of controversy. However, it was not entirely unexpected.
[Image via Getty]