Oscar nominations were released recently, and there’s something distinctly “white” about them. All of the actors nominated for Academy Awards are white.
Out of all the nominees for best picture this year, only two films have a director or producer of color and only one features a person of color in the plot.
“Selma” is a best picture-nominee about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala.
It’s the only film out of all the nominees that features actors of color, and it was directed by Ava DuVernay, a black woman. However, she was not nominated for best director.
With all these Wonder bread nominations, and a snub towards those of color, it’s no surprise the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite began trending after the nominations were released, but those tweets are misdirected.
While many people will simply say having one film about a black man directed by a black woman is enough, these people are wrong.
At the very least, it’s important to accurately reflect American society, but that isn’t happening.
Film is supposed to, in certain respects, reflect our culture and our values, and teach us to see ourselves from a new perspective.
Whether cathartic or abstract, film comes from us, so it should represent us as a society.
But we are not a society of 100 percent white people.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization that votes for these films, has 5,765 members according to a study by the Los Angeles Times from 2012.
Out of all those members, 94 percent are white, and 77 percent are male.
So where is all the representation for people of color? No, it isn’t simply being overlooked by the academy. The issue goes much deeper than that.
We used to be called the melting pot, but more often than not, only one type of person is represented on television and in movies.
The academy members are overwhelmingly both white and male, suggesting they are the people who are the most welcome in the film industry. They find success sooner and with more ease than women and people of color.
That’s why it’s almost a scandal that DuVernay was not nominated for best director.