Lack of diversity in nominees reflects poorly on the Academy Awards

Published by adviser, Author: Amber Cannon - Campus Life Editor, Date: January 26, 2016

The lack of diversity in the nominations for the 88th Annual Academy Awards, or the “Oscars” caused quite a controversy on news outlets and social media all around the world.

To say that I was shocked that the nominations included zero black people is an understatement. Not only was I shocked, but I was utterly annoyed and disappointed in The Academy.

There are movies and actors and actresses that should have at least gotten the courtesy of a nomination. Whether they win or not doesn’t bother me, but the fact that black people weren’t nominated, when they should have been, baffles me.

Let me start by rattling off movies and actors that should have been nominated.

The first actor that I can think of that definitely should have been nominated is Michael B. Jordan for his role as Adonis Creed in “Creed.”

His performance in that movie was beyond spectacular. Not only did he embody the boxer Adonis Creed and take actual punches during the movie, but he also got incredibly fit for his role, which anybody can see during the movie.

What is even more shocking to me is that Sylvester Stallone, who, of course, played Rocky Balboa in the film, got nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role. He definitely deserves the nomination and I’m not demeaning his performance in the movie, but if the Academy is going to give a nomination to Stallone, who was a supporting actor in the movie, they should have thrown a nomination at Jordan as well.

Will Smith also should have received a nomination for his role in “Concussion” and Idris Elba should have been recognized for his role as a West African warlord in “Beasts of No Nation.”

Finally, the actors who playedthe rap group “N.W.A” in the film, “Straight Outta Compton,” deserve more  recognition than a nomination for Original Screenplay, which in reality, has nothing to do with the actors in the movie.

In a video I came across on Twitter, based on a 2012 LA Times survey, within the 87 years that the Academy has existed and out of the 2,947 awards given, only 31 of those awards have been given to black people. The video also went on to state that no black person has ever won an award for Best Director, despite Ava DuVernay’s great work in “Selma.”

Minorities as a whole got snubbed at the Oscars and most of the world knows it. People on Twitter even went as far as creating the hashtag “#OscarsSoWhite.” Even the Academy felt the backlash of their lack of diversity. On Jan. 22, the Academy put out a letter titled, “Academy Takes Historic Action To Increase Diversity.”

In the letter, the Academy states,”The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences approved a sweeping series of substantive changes designed to make the Academy’s membership, its governing bodies, and its voting members significantly more diverse. The Board’s goal is to commit to doubling the number of women and diverse members of the Academy by 2020.”

The letter goes on to say, “In order to immediately increase diversity on the Board of Governors, the Academy will establish three new governor seats that will be nominated by the President for three-year terms and confirmed by the Board.”

The fact that the Academy wants to make a change now, after most of the world accused them of being “so white,” is very unethical. The Academy should have already had a diverse range of people on their board to speak up for the minority and them wanting to make this change by 2020 is entirely too far away from now.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the actors and movies nominated don’t deserve to be. Leonardo DiCaprio’s acting in “The Revenant” was stunning and he absolutely deserves to be nominated and win an Oscar for Actor in a Leading Role. Matt Damon in “The Martian” and Michael Fassbender in “Steve Jobs” definitely deserve to be nominated for their brilliant acting as well.

Even though no black actors and actresses received nominations for the Oscars, that doesn’t discredit the amazing work that they have done within the past year. It would be nice for them to at least have been nominated.

Hopefully within the next couple years, minorities will be noticed for the great work they do on and off-screen, instead of just being recruited by the Academy to host, present awards and perform.

For what it’s worth, I’ll be watching the Oscars just to finally witness Leonardo DiCaprio get the award he so rightfully deserves.


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