The Oscars Strike Out On Diversity With Nearly All-White, All-Male Nominees

The Oscars Strike Out On Diversity With Nearly All-White, All-Male Nominees

Welcome to 1998 — the last time that the 20 nominees for Oscars in the acting categories were all-white. Adding insult to injury, all of this year’s nominees for best writer and best director are male. Only the inclusion of Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu for the excellent Birdman, saves the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science from complete disgrace.

There was plenty of potential for things to be different, for the nominees to more closely resemble the viewing audience. Selma was nominated for best picture, but director Ava Duvernay was ignored. The Academy could have hit a double for diversity with Devernay, who is both black and a female.

The confounding nature of the Academy’s attitude was best expressed in a tweet by actor/comedian Patton Oswalt:

Precisely. Selma is one of the best pics of the year — but all of the elements that went into it are ‘meh’? Not worthy of mention? How does that compute? A second opportunity to hit a double was with the remarkable black actress Carmen Ejogo, whose portrayal of Coretta Scott King was sensitive and nuanced. And then there’s the staging of the three tense and moving marches across Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge. They alone were worthy of directing and cinematography nods.

The problem becomes apparent with a 2012 study by the Los Angeles Times. The paper laid out the demographics of the Academy, which no doubt haven’t changed much in the last three years. Oscar voters are about 94% white, 77% male, 2% Black, and less than 2% Latino. Their median age is 62, with 86% being age 50 or older. Thankfully, there are two categories — best actress and best supporting actress — that are reserved for women, or they might never get a nomination. The snub for the movies of 2014 also included Angelina Jolie who, as director of Unbroken, was nominated for a Critics Choice Award.

Director Duvernay put the best face on the situation with her own tweet, giving credit to her cast and crew:

But Variety magazine threw out the best food for thought, should the Academy care to chew on it. It quoted the opening joke of last year’s show, when 12 Years A Slave won for best picture and had a slew of other nominations as well. Host Ellen DeGeneres anticipated the outcome with these words:

“Possibility number one: ’12 Years a Slave’ wins best picture. Possibility number two: You’re all racists.”

Even a best picture award won’t erase the countless slights that exist in the list of nominations this year. What does the Academy have to say for itself? So far, the silence is deafening.

Photo courtesy of wikipedia.org.

Deborah Montesano is a writer and political activist, who has just been freed from decades of wandering in the Arizona desert. She is now stunned to find herself actually living in progressive heaven — Portland, Oregon. READ MORE BY DEBORAH.

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Deborah Montesano is a writer and political activist, who has just been freed from decades of wandering in the Arizona desert. She is now stunned to find herself actually living in progressive heaven — Portland, Oregon. READ MORE BY DEBORAH.

ReverbPress Mobile Apps ReverbPress iOS App ReverbPress Android App ReverbPress App