Oscar award nominations snub minorities in film


Infographic by Sydney Bauer

By: Duke Staff

Seen by many as the most prestigious award in film, the Oscar is a treasure coveted by almost anyone working in the industry.

Unfortunately, not all minorities are given the chance to compete for this momentous achievement.

For the second year in a row, the Academy has chosen to fill all eight of its acting award nominations with white actors.

Adding insult to injury, films starring black actors, such as “Concussion,” found themselves snubbed on any of the other Oscar categories unless a white person was involved.

“Creed” got Sylvester Stallone a nomination for best supporting actor while Michael B. Jordan was left behind, and “Straight Outta Compton” was only nominated for best original screenplay.

It is shameful that this has occurred the same year that “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” a film starring a black actor, drew in more audience members than any other movie of the year.

Several celebrities are protesting. Director Spike Lee, who previously won an honorary Academy Award, has promised not to attend this year’s ceremony. Idris Elba, who starred in “Beast of No Nations,” also spoke out against the Oscars’ all white selection and called it anti-American Dream.

This is, unfortunately, nothing new. In the entire 87 years of the Oscar’s existence, 92 percent of winning actors have been white, 99 percent of recognized actresses have been white and 98 percent of awarded writers have been white.

Seemingly, and hopefully just coincidentally, the only time black people have won Oscars is for their roles in movies about slavery, something that Daily Show host Trevor Noah pointed out last week. “Twelve Years a Slave” and “Django Unchained” both received Academy Awards and both deal with slavery in America.

Last year, when similar complaints came up, the Academy simply claimed that there were no notable black directors or actors that year. That certainly isn’t true now.

The simple fact is that the Academy needs to change. The voting committee’s demographics are very similar to its winners — mostly white.

A stunning 93 percent of the Academy voters are white and are on average 63 years old. The Academy is utterly out of touch with the modern film industry and needs a leadership overhaul to prevent instances such as these from occurring.

Until then, ignore the Oscars. Don’t watch them. It will send the Academy the message that people are not happy with open racism on display.