Once again, the Academy has failed to recognize actors and directors of color, in what has sadly become an expected yearly story. When the 2016 Oscar nominations were released, the internet quickly realized that the only non-white nominee is director Alejandro Iñárritu. Excluded from nominations entirely were African Americans, Asians, and most Latinos.
The Oscar has been active for 88 years, yet no African American woman has ever received a nominated for best director. Despite box-office success and a 99% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes for Selma, Ava DuVernay was not nominated in 2015 for best director. In the award’s history, only 14 black actors have received awards for their acting. There has also been criticism that the black actors usually only gain nominations for stereotypical roles such as slaves and drug addicts.
2015 had a boost of films featuring actors of color. Yet, actors of Beasts of No Nation, Concussion, Straight Outta Compton, Tangerine and Star Wars were excluded from this year's nomination. The only nomination for Creed, a film directed by a black man starring mainly back actors, went to Sylvester Stallone. Some people have argued that actors of color are not nominated because they do not deserve it, but many of the snubbed films are critically acclaimed, with recognition from other awards such as the Golden Globe and SAG-AFTRA.
The exclusion of actors of color is a repeat of the 2015 Oscars. #OscarsSoWhite, a hashtag that emerged during the 87th Annual Academy Awards, resurfaced as disappointed fans and critic voiced their frustration.
The hashtag #OscarsSoWhite represents the racial makeup of the Academy and the exclusion of minorities. A 2012 study performed by the Los Angeles Times found that the Academy is composed primarily of old, white men—shocking, we know. LA Times found that 94% of Academy voters are white, 77% are male, and the median age of voters is 62. The demographic may account for why people of color are so underrepresented.
Academy president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, expressed disappointment about the reveal, and stated that the Academy has been making an attempt to increase the diversity of voters, but it has been “moving too slowly.” For the last two years, viewership for the Oscars have dropped. The 87th Academy Award saw a 16% drop in viewers.There is no indication of how the nominees will affect viewership, but here some of the top tweets from #OscarsSoWhite.