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The Reflection

2016 Oscar nominations cause controversy due to lack of diversity

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The Academy hosts an annual Nomanees Lucheon before the Oscars award Show. The Show will premeire on Febuary 28th. Photo courtesy of oscars.org

The Academy hosts an annual Nominees Luncheon before the Oscars award Show. The nominees for Best Picture are The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Mad Max, The Martian, The Revenant, Room, and Spotlight. The show will premiere on February 28. Photo courtesy of oscars.org

The Academy Awards is one the the most prestigious events for Hollywood, recognizing the best and brightest actors, directors, and overall production contributors of the greatest films of the movie industry. But what happens when some of the most notable and talented members of the industry don’t receive rightful recognition because of the color of their skin? The Oscar Nominations of 2016, for the second year in a row, include essentially no people of color, when the films of the year had plenty of spectacular movies with casts full of POC actors and actresses.

There were incredible movies honoring black lives that didn’t receive recognition, while their white actors and writers did, like Sylvester Stallone in Creed and Andrea Berloff and Jonathan Herman for Straight Outta Compton. Both films were filled with black actors who gave incredible performances and both even had black directors, all who were ignored in the nominations (NY Times).

The categories of the Oscars that don’t include any POC nominations include Actor in a Leading Role, Actress in a Leading Role, Actor in a Supporting Role, Actress in a Supporting Role, Cinematography, Costume Design, Directing, Film Editing, Music (Original Score), Production Design, Writing (Adapted Screenplay), and a few more. These comprise virtually all the categories of nominations, with the only categories that are not all white being Best Documentary and Original Screenplay. The Academy missed wonderful performances such as John Boyega in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Samuel L. Jackson in The Hateful Eight, Michael B. Jordan in Creed, O’Shea Jackson Jr. in Straight Outta Compton, Will Smith in Concussion, Idris Elba in Beasts of No Nation, as well as directors and writers like F. Gary Gray for Straight Outta Compton, Ryan Coogler for Creed, and Uzodinma Iweala for Beasts of No Nation.

There is an obvious inequality in Hollywood that is highlighted in the Academy’s nominations, and notable Hollywood stars like Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee, both announced on Martin Luther King Jr. Day that they would not be attending the Oscars for this reason (Forbes). Sylvester Stallone for Creed contemplated boycotting the award show as well, but director Ryan Coogler said that he should attend to represent the film. Halle Berry, who in 2002 was the first and only woman of color that has won Best Actress, is also very upset over the controversy according to Variety.

Pinkett Smith, Lee, Berry, among other influential figures, are trying to show that the industry can no longer tolerate this inequality of the actors, actresses, directors, and writers who work just as hard as the white majority. Many people taken their opinions of the topic to twitter and have brought light to the issue with the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite which was started by April Reign, an attorney and blogger.

Sierra Veenkant

I'm Sierra Veenkant, I am in 11th grade and this is my first year on the newspaper staff. I am a competitive dancer and dedicate a lot of my time to that. I write the beat reports on the Enviornmental Club for the newspaper and enjoy writing other articles relating to the arts.


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