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.
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’s Note: The response to this year’s lack of diverse Oscar nominees was intense and far-reaching — 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 “double the diverse members by 2020.” For more information, go to www.oscars.org/news/academy-takes-historic-action-increase-diversity.
Partial List of Academy Award Nominations:
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
Adam McKay, The Big Short
George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
Alejandro G. Iñárritu, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.