Oscars Considered Unbareably White
Hollywood actors and actresses will congregate once again for the annual Oscar/Academy Awards. On February 28th for the second consecutive year, of the 20 available nominations, not a single one went to a person of color. Before this, there was an eight-year stretch of all-white nominees in the 1940s. The Internet has seen a resurgence of the hashtag #oscarssowhite which became vernacular after last year’s nominations were announced.
The knee-jerk reaction is to blame the Academy. According to Los Angeles Times, Academy membership is 94% white and 77% male. We see several overlooked, but not unqualified, black actors who should have made the Oscar nominations this year. First, as Straight Outta Compton’s Eazy-E, Jason Mitchell was in an acclaimed cast working with a black director, but the film’s Oscar nomination went to its white screenwriters. Creed won Michael Jordan and its black director and screenwriters accolades, but the nomination went to white Sylvester Stallone. Idris Elba garnered a Golden Globe Awards, Screen Actor Guild, and BAFTA nomination for Beasts of No Nation, but nothing from the Academy.
Last year, Zendaya, a black actress for Disney Channel’s sitcom KC Undercover, was critiqued ferociously by news reporter Giuliana Rancic. Rancic complained, “I feel like she smells like patchouli oil….” Also, the reporter criticized Zendaya’s hairstyle, dreadlocks. The 18 year old did not take long before she responded to the criticism via social media that night. Approximately 50 minutes later, Rancic apologized with a tweet that seemed like one to circumvent the incident, stating “I was referring to a bohemian chic look. Had NOTHING to do with race and NEVER would!!!”
Although Zendaya accepted the apology, she has risen since not only as a famous actress, but also as a racial equality advocate. The Oscars currently look even less diverse than the Golden Globes. Until the Academy changes to accept blacks claiming its awards, all of the Oscar nominations and awards mean nothing and nobody will care.