The Lack of Diversity in the 2015 Oscars
FOLLOWING the announcement of the 2015 Oscars nominations, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have received much criticism for their lack of diversity. All 20 of the actors and actresses nominated for this year’s awards are white. Shortly after the announcement was made, the hashtag ‘#OscarsSoWhite’ began trending worldwide.
Critically acclaimed film Selma was highly anticipated to be nominated for several awards including Best Actor. While Selma is in the running for the Best Motion Picture, David Oyelowo’s impressive portrayal of Martin Luther King was overlooked by the Academy. They also missed out on the opportunity to make history by nominating the first ever African-American woman in the Best Director category, Selma’s Ava DuVernay.
The lack of diversity in the Oscar nominations can be seen as a reflection of the lack of diversity within the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences itself. In a Los Angeles Times article published in 2012 it was revealed that 94 percent of the Academy’s members were white and that 77 percent of them were men.
However, the Academy aren’t solely to blame either. While I don’t agree with the lack of diversity in any way, it’s also up to the film industry itself to be more diverse with it’s actors and actresses. After all, you can only vote for the films the industry produces. The Academy President, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, a coloured woman herself, said that as the Academy “continues to make strides towards becoming a more diverse and inclusive organisation, we hope the film industry will also make strides toward becoming more diverse and inclusive.”
Unfortunately, it wasn’t just actors and actresses of colour who were noticeably left out. Women were clearly left out of the running for their roles in directing and writing including Angelina Jolie’s superb directing of Unbroken and Laura Poitras’ directing of Citizenfour. Also, all eight of the nominees for the Best Motion Picture were based on stories which centred around males.
Taking a look at Vanity Fair’s Hollywood Special, the lack of diversity within the Oscar nominees are quite evident. There are 10 of 2014’s most admirable actors and actresses involved in the Oscars spread with only one being coloured – David Oyelowo.
Cheryl Boone Isaacs hopes that the Academy will include a more diverse range of nominees in the future as she said she “would love to see and look forward to see a greater cultural diversity among all our nominees in all our categories”. We can only hope to see a greater amount of diversity next year.
Photo c/o slashfilm.com