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The Academy Awards seem to have a diversity problem. The 2015 Oscar nominations
are now out, and it's surprisingly.. white. In fact, of all the 20 best actor/actress, supporting actor/actress noms announced, every single one of them went to white people.
This is even more strange when you consider that Selma, a film about Martin Luther King with a predominately black cast, is up for Best Picture, and has a really good shot of winning. And yet none of the cast was nominated for an acting award. That doesn't really add up with a film that I would imagine is heavily reliant on powerful and dramatic acting performances from its cast.
Twitter and the internet's social media warriors are going to town over the lack of diversity this year with the trending hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. One of the most damning (but pretty true) tweets that surfaced shortly after the nomination announcements was from a person named Manjusha and reads as follows:
#OscarsSoWhite the only time a Black person is nominated, let alone wins, is if they're in a role as a slave or the help.
That might be hard to hear, and certainly isn't factually accurate, but its not far off from the truth either. The Academy does have a bad history with diversity gap issues. Back in 2011 and 1998, they also nominated only white people in all acting categories. And it's not just the acting noms where the Oscars fall short. Consider some of these stats compiled by Media Diversifed
, about the Diversity Gap in the Academy Awards throughout a 85 year history:
These are the winners, by percentage from 1927-2012:98% Producers were white
98% Writers were white
88% Actors/Actresses were white
Only 1 women that wasn't white won the Best Actress award - Halle Berry 2002
Only 6 men for Best Actor that were not white guys
94% of Academy Voters were white. 77% Male during that time period.
And 99% of Best Director awards went to men. Only woman to ever win was Kathryn Bigelow for 'Hurt Locker' back in 2010.
What do you make of all this? I personally think this a bad mix of several socio-economic factors that date back a solid century or more (that are just now starting to really change for the better), that all converges into one big, glaring ratio issue. Women and minority directors, producers, writers and actors have notoriously been marginalized in Hollywood. From outright sexism and racism, to the fact that the game has been rigged for so long in white people's (men's) favor financially speaking, that one race has most of the money to make most of the movies. Add to that minorities are labeled as such for a reason: they are not the majority population. Meaning there is truth to the fact that in a country with a majority being Caucasian, you are going to get a lot of white people casted films.
But there still is a diversity issue in Hollywood. This nomination lot is just another example of blatant proof. I don't wholly blame any particular faction though. I don't wholly blame the group that did the nominations; logic tells you that if there are 10:1 white films being produced in Hollywood v minority in any given year (that are not comedies, you know the Oscars don't like comedies) then its likely this will happen again, and continue to happen until Hollywood and films in general address this lack of diversity head on, and unilaterally.