On Feb. 28, the world’s most renowned actors, directors and producers will gather in the Dolby Theater to watch Chris Rock host the 88th Annual Academy Awards.
While Rock, Michael B. Jordan and The Weeknd will be hosting, presenting, and performing during the ceremony, many African Americans are angered and annoyed by the Oscars complete disregard for minorities within the Academy.
During last year’s Oscars, Twitter’s top trend was #OscarsSoWhite after most audience members and many actors noted the tremendous amounts pale faces walking down the red carpet. Going into the 2015 Oscar season, the announcement that Rock would host the festivities was followed by huge anticipation for an actually diverse ceremony thanks to the host and a plethora of amazing diverse films.
My personal favorite movie of 2015 was the particularly diverse NWA biopic, Straight Outta Compton. It was a box-office success no critics foresaw, but yet came away with a $201 million profit, certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and numerous award nominations. Despite all of this, the only nomination Straight Outta Compton received from the Academy was Best Screenplay. In a production filled with talented black men, the one old, white Jewish guy got the nom. Sound fishy?
To be fair, the year was filled with great movies…maybe there were just better actors and producers this year, right? So maybe if we looked at another critically acclaimed movie like Creed, a sports drama by award winning director Ryan Coogler, we’ll see more deserving nominees. Oh wait…no, they didn’t, because the only person from that movie nominated was an old, white Italian-American…
The list continues as the Oscar nominees in just about every televised category feature white men — and sometimes white women if the Academy is feeling frisky. God forbid a black actor, director or producer be more talented than the white guys! That’s just un-American! Un-lawful! Against every belief the 90 year old probably racist white guys that populate the Academy have!
As Idris Elba, the snubbed star of Beasts of No Nation said, America is the place people go to achieve their dreams. Those who feel like they cannot progress in their own country come to the land of the free to do what they want. We are supposed to be the most diverse, open country and yet every minority continues to be snubbed from the most prestigious and important influence in current day arts and sciences.
And yes, I am aware the Academy has put in place a plan for 2020 after recent backlash, but in all honesty we shouldn’t even need to come up with a plan. The Academy shouldn’t need to find a way to include blacks. They should objectively look at art and judge as if none of the actors, directors and producers are any different — because they’re not, they’re all people working every minute of the day to create something beautiful and influential. Who cares if they’re black or white?