Earlier today, the nominations for the 88th Academy awards were released. Not surprisingly, unlike like last year, there was an overwhelming shut out of POC actors, screenwriters, and directors, with the exception of Alejandro G. Iñárritu (The Revenant).
Of all the actors nominated, NONE are POC. There were stand out films such as Creed, Straight Outta Compton, Beasts of No Nation, and Concussion. Creed, with a black director (Ryan Cuglar) and lead black actor (Michael B. Jordan) as well as Straigh Outta Compton (F. Gary Gray) garnered nominations for a supporting actor (Sylvester Stallone) and for best original screenplay (Jonathan Herman) respectively. Variety reported that for the screenplay race, of the 17 individuals nominated, there were no racial minorities, and only four women. What does this mean? Does it mean that there were no POC’s talented or accomplished enough to be nominated in the big money categories? That is what many commenters on the major entertainment news sites are arguing. There is a bit more diversity in the artisan categories such as Costume Design and Makeup and Hairstyling, but this year has proven a very bleak one. #Oscarssowhite trends once again.
I’m not saying the Academy should nominate just any film with a major minority presence just to save face, but are they really watching what they see? Is it truly a matter of talent? Or is there something more going on? I’m not being a conspiracy theorist, just wondering. Currently in the Academy, there is a domination of white men over 50- which plays a HUGE factor into nominations annually. Should there be a push for more diversity in the Academy. Tenure and industry experience is what is required to join.
There are multiple reports about the scant diversity of the film as is. This goes back to a prior post of mine. You can’t win award for roles that aren’t there in the first place, and for the roles that are there, you can’t win if you aren’t nominated. POC’s still have trouble being cast in major motion pictures. There are primarily white nominees because there are barely any POC films to choose from to begin with, which stems from issues at talent agencies and film studios who keep POC talent from emerging, and keep POC films from being made. The nominations prove that film is light years behind television. There is more diversity in front of and behind the camera.
Was Chris Rock hired to host in order to lessen the blow and possibly attract what little minority audience the Academy Awards already have, and also try to improve already slipping ratings? Knowing Chris Rock’s track record, he will definitely have something to say about the lack of diversity at this year’s awards show, and surely step on some toes. I will be watching, but for him alone.