Black actors snubbed for second year in a row

Actor John Krasinski (left) and Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced the nominees for the 88th Annual Academy Awards in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater.
Actor John Krasinski (left) and Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced the nominees for the 88th Annual Academy Awards in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

The frontier survival epic The Revenant landed a dozen Oscar nominations, establishing Leonardo DiCaprio as the early favorite to finally win his first Oscar. The movie with the next most nominations was Mad Max: Fury Road with 10, followed by The Martian with seven, and Bridge of Spies, Carol and Spotlight with six each.

While the members of the Academy have nominated a fine slate of actors and actresses, it has failed to include any minorities for the second year in a row. The omission is glaring since a number of laudable performances were ignored, such as Will Smith’s in¬†Concussion, the sort of character-driven drama Oscar ordinarily tends to reward.

 

Michael B. Jordan in 'Creed,' the cast of 'Straight Outta Compton,' and Will Smith in 'Concussion" were all overlooked by the Academy this year.
Michael B. Jordan in ‘Creed,’ the cast of ‘Straight Outta Compton,’ and Will Smith in ‘Concussion’ were all overlooked by the Academy this year.

Also overlooked was Michael B. Jordan for his impressive turn in the title role of Creed, although his co-star Sly Stallone was nominated in the Best Supporting category. Curiously, the critically-acclaimed Straight Outta Compton garnered only one nomination for its screenplay which was written by four White scriptwriters.

These embarrassing oversights ostensibly reflect the lack of diversity in the Academy’s ranks, despite the fact that its president, Cheryl Boone Issacs, happens to be African¬†American. Why do not only¬†Blacks, but Asians, Latinos and Native Americans have such a hard time making the grade?

Well, the voters are reportedly 93 percent White and 76 percent male with an average age of 63, which helps explain why a tour de force on the part of a minority might fail to register a blip on the radar. Given the demographic trend toward an increasingly ethnically-mixed populace, it is incumbent upon the Academy to figure a way to seriously consider every color of the country’s wonderful rainbow if it wants to ensure that the Oscars remain relevant in the 21st Century.

Editor‚Äôs Note:¬†The response to this year‚Äôs lack of diverse Oscar nominees was intense and far-reaching ‚ÄĒ from calls to boycott by Jada Pinkett-Smith and other actors of color, to the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag on Twitter and other social media. In response to the criticism, the Board of Governors of the¬†Academy¬†of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences approved measures to ‚Äúdouble the diverse members by 2020.‚ÄĚ For more information, go to www.oscars.org/news/academy-takes-historic-action-increase-diversity.

 

Partial List of Academy Award Nominations:

Best Picture

The Big Short

Bridge of Spies

Brooklyn

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Room

Spotlight

Best Actor

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo

Matt Damon, The Martian

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs

Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett, Carol

Brie Larson, Room

Jennifer Lawrence, Joy

Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years

Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Directing

Adam McKay, The Big Short

George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

Alejandro G. I√Ī√°rritu,¬†The Revenant,

Lenny Abrahamson, Room

Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

 

For the full list of nominees, go to www.oscars.org/oscars/ceremonies/2016. The Academy Awards airs February 28 on ABC.

Kam Williams welcomes reader responses to kam_williams@hotmail.com.