If you have been paying attention to anything other than the 2016 presidential election, one of the stories you may have heard is about how there is a lack of diversity at the Academy Awards, aka the “Oscars.” Looking at Hollywood over the past period of years, it is easy to see that there have not been a lot of films where the lead roles have been played by non-white actors. Very few of those actors have been nominated for Oscars, and even fewer have won.
When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the 2016 Oscar nominees in January there was an immediate backlash. Every performer nominated for an acting Oscar is white. And the film Straight Outta Compton, which received critical acclaim, was almost completely shut out. It received one nomination — for “Best Screenplay.” And the screenwriters who received the nomination are white. People took to Twitter to complain, and the hashtag “#OscarsSoWhite” started trending.
Celebrities joined in the criticism, too. In an interview with Variety, George Clooney points out some of the films and performers that should have gotten Oscar nominations:
There were four films this year: ‘Creed’ could have gotten nominations; ‘Concussion’ could have gotten Will Smith a nomination; Idris Elba could have been nominated for ‘Beasts of No Nation;’ and ‘Straight Outta Compton’ could have been nominated.
Clooney says that the Academy used to do a better job of recognizing the work of black performers and filmmakers. He also points out that as bad as it is for black actors, getting your work recognized is even harder for Hispanics.
Of course there are those who think that the concern about diversity is all a big joke. Rush Limbaugh, for example. On January 19 Limbaugh offered his opinion that black artists like Spike Lee, who had registered their unhappiness with the Oscars, are the real racists. He told his radio audience:
Here are these guys, these people that preach to everybody else about diversity and racism, and they have their own bigotry and racism on display.
The folks who do a Danish podcast about films have put together a montage of almost every movie nominated for a 2016 Oscar. The intent was to salute the nominees, but along with doing that, the four minute video also shows just how few performers of color, or films aimed at minority audiences, have been nominated. You’ll see some non-white faces, but don’t blink. You’ll miss them. Seriously.
Here’s the video, via Vimeo:[vimeo 155541290 w=500 h=281]
Featured image via Ivan Bandura/Flickr