The amount of ethnically diverse Academy Award winners and nominees can probably be counted on one hand.
Last year alone the film, “12 Years A Slave”, a low-budget film directed by an almost unknown African-American director, Steve McQueen, made history by winning Best Picture. Some critics agreed and others believed it won due to its almost controversial issue on slavery. This critic, believes without a doubt, it was the rightful winner.
Yet once again, Academy Awards season is here and so are the nominees. One look at that list and it’s obvious that once again, only white actors have been nominated.
Is it fair? Of course not.
Can we, as the viewers do anything about it? Probably not.
Will this ever change—not only at award shows, but also in the Hollywood business? Who knows.
According to a 2013 article in The Los Angeles Times, “94% of academy voters are white and 77% are male. Blacks make up about 2% of the academy and Latinos less than 2%.”
What we have to accept about these statistics is that it’s a white man’s world, and it probably will be for years to come.
The lack of ethnic diversity in the industry has been receiving a lot more attention over the last couple of years, yet there haven’t been many significant changes. Just 15 African-American actors and eight Latino actors have won an Oscar.
Last year, Mexican born director Alfonso Cuaron was the first Mexican to win a Best Director award.
This past weekend, our very own Pasadena Star News featured a front-page story on Darren D. Dickerson, a veteran entertainment publicist who is currently developing Myriad Honors, a new awards program that will “focus on minority and foreign talent often overlooked by Hollywood.”
After last weeks nominees were announced, the need for activists (if you will) like this is more and more dire. Disappointed over the powerful film “Selma” being overshadowed at the box office by “American Sniper” over MLK weekend, (personally witnessed by yours truly) as well as only its two Oscar nominations, Dickerson plans on having a 75% ethnically diverse voters.
In recent years, this writer has noted that the 18 to 25-year-old bracket of active movie goers think of the Oscars as a big joke because there is never any surprises with the nominees. Earlier this month, “Boyhood” and Michael Keaton of “Birdman” won top honors at the 2015 Golden Globe Awards. What most fans know is that is just a hop, a skip and a jump away from winning an Oscar.
Now, all the nominees have their own right to be nominated in the first place. However, “movie mania” mostly spreads by word of mouth. None of these films would be anywhere without the viewers. Therefore, it’s up to everyone to stop letting themselves be force fed this tiny niche of films as the only “worthy” ones of receiving a gold statue.