Global Gathering — With one look at the 20 actors that were nominated for this year’s Oscars, it’s easy to wonder - where is the diversity in Hollywood? This is the second year in a row where minorities have been overlooked. Last year’s awards host Neil Patrick Harris called out the Academy’s failure to recognize minorities when he opened the Oscars with the quip, “Tonight we honor Hollywood's best and whitest -- sorry brightest.”
It has been surmised that one of the reasons that black actors, writers, producers or directors have not often been recognized is due to to the membership of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Of the more than 6200 Oscar voters, 94% are white and most of them are older men.
As writer Mark Harris posted on Twitter, “The older, white, male votership doesn't hate women, gays, black people. They're just not as interested in their/our stories.”
Telling those stories with their outstanding performances were Idris Elba and Abraham Attah (Beasts of No Nation), Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson (Creed),Oscar Isaac (Ex Machina), Will Smith and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Concussion), Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor (Tangerine), Benicio Del Toro (Sicario), and the ensemble cast of Straight Outta Compton. Yet the Academy didn’t nominate any of the actors.
In an L.A. Times article, producer and academy member Stephanie Allain wondered how “Creed” and “Straight Outta Compton” were overlooked, “For the two black movies that made over $100 million at the box office, touched a nerve and are artistically fresh, only white people were nominated. How does that work?”
Another reason cited is that just not enough roles go to people of color. Minorities represented 46% of U.S. moviegoers in 2014, according to a report by the Motion Picture Association of America yet nearly three-quarters of the top 100 grossing movies of 2014 showcased white characters, based on a study by the University of Southern California.
Whatever the reason may be, the Academy will need to do better. The Twitter hashtag #OscarsSoWhite emerged last year when only white actors were recognized and was quickly revived this year.
"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,” American writer, film director, and producer Reginald Hudlin told the Associated Press. He will produce the February 28 awards ceremony hosted by comedian Chris Rock.
The academy's president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, also expressed her disappointment to the Associated Press that Compton was overlooked for a nomination. But Isaacs, who is black, added that diversity in the entertainment industry is coming, albeit slowly, “What is important is that this entire conversation of diversity is here and we are talking about it,'” she said.
Best actor nominees: Bryan Cranston, Matt Damon, Michael Fassbender, Eddie Redmayne, and Leonardo DiCaprio — Reuters
Best actress nominees: Brie Larson, Saoirse Ronan, Charlotte Rampling, Jennifer Lawrence, Cate Blanchett — Reuters
Best supporting actor nominees: Mark Rylance, Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Sylvester Stallone and Mark Ruffalo — Reuters
Best supporting actress nominees: Alicia Vikander, Rachel McAdams, Rooney Mara, Kate Winslet and Jennifer Jason Leigh — Reuters
Lenny Abrahamson, George Miller, Adam McKay, Alejandro Inarritu and Tom McCarthy — Reuters