#OscarsSoWhite – Or Are They?


When the nominations for the 88th Academy Awards were announced this past Thursday, many predictable faces, such as Brie Larson, who has garnered acclaim for her role as Joy Newsome in the adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s novel Room, and films, like the Steven Spielberg directed Bridge of Spies,  were honored for everything from their production, to their screenplays. Unsurprisingly, The Revenant and Mad Max: Fury Road topped the nomination toll, receiving twelve and ten a piece.

What many were surprised with, however, is the omission of major nominations for African-American powered films, like the biographical drama, Straight Outta Compton, which has already received well over a dozen awards and many prestigious nominations, including ‘noms’ from the Critics’ Choice Awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards. These ‘noms’ also include Michael B. Jordan for his role as boxer Adonis Creed in Creed, which earned him his first Golden Globe.

Though the nominations were announced approximately a week ago, social justice warriors and frequent moviegoers alike have taken to social media, expressing their annoyance with the Academy failing to recognize achievement by African Americans in film through the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, which trended on Twitter and Facebook for days following the nominations.

A common argument against this movement is that the men and women that make up “The Academy” are put in a trustworthy position and wouldn’t favor one film or actor over the other because of prejudice. However, this isn’t the first time #OscarsSoWhite has trended or been seen as a major problem. This is the second consecutive year that all acting nominations were rid of African-American contenders for the most sought after award in the film industry.

So, what could it be? Entertainment Weekly asked six white males why they believe Straight Outta Compton was “robbed” of a nomination. While one argued that many of the older white men most likely didn’t see the film, which caused them to not even consider the movie, another said that it could be due to the flawed voting system.

The Academy runs on a presidential ballot system, meaning that members only list their personal favorite of the choices instead of ranking them. So, though I’m sure several members enjoyed Straight Outta Compton, there’s a chance it could have been everyone’s second favorite. Though unlikely, it’s an unfair argument to jump right out and call everyone in The Academy a racist for not liking one movie powered by African-American leads as much as others. That being said, The Academy’s blatant lack of diversity in nominations definitely gives people, especially African-Americans, the right to speak their minds.

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