On Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, two prominent names in the film industry decided to boycott the 2016 Academy Awards. Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith both took to Social Media to express why they will not be attending this year’s award show.
This is the second year in a row there no actors of color were nominated in the four Best Actor Categories. Last year, this inspired the hastag #OscarsSoWhite and this year, #OscarsSoWhiteTheSequel. Since the January 14th nominations were announced, Twitter has been blowing up with the hashtags, and everyone is wondering how much fun/difficulty host Chris Rock will be having this year.
The biggest Oscar snubs of this year seem to have a trend. Those who were not nominated included Will Smith for Concussion, Idris Elba for Beasts of No Nation, Todd Haynes for Carol, and a personal favorite performance of mine this year: Oscar Issac in Ex Machina (No Best Supporting Actor?!) Anyone who saw Creed or Straight Outta Compton know that these movies are deserving of a few big nominations. There is no appeasement for Creed’s only nomination to be Sylvester Stallone for Best Supporting Actor and the only ‘nod for Straight Outta Compton being for Best Original Screenplay– written by a writing team of Caucasian writers. There is one woman present in this ‘nod, buried under all of the white males.
Critics (myself included) were in awe of Director Ryan Coogler’s poetically raw and uncut boxing scene in Creed, and personally, one of my favorite scenes in any movie of this year has to be the opening scene from Straight Outta Compton. Why hasn’t F. Gary Gray’s Straight Outta Compton’s Black actors in the film given any recognition? Sure, he didn’t do a perfect job, but neither did George Miller’s spotty (yet satisfying) take on Mad Max: Fury Road, with nine nominations this year.
Alejandro G. Iñárritu is the sole POC in the best directing category this year for The Revenant, which also includes a plethora of talented Native American Actors. Thankfully, Leo DiCaprio’s acceptance speech at the Golden Globes spotlighted the talented actors, at least a little. Iñárritu took the Oscar for Best Picture and best directing in 2105.
Let’s think back to 2014, where the wins of foreign filmmakers outnumbered the Americans . Did the Academy, made up of a supposedly diverse group of people, feel that they needed two years of #OscarsSoWhite to cleanse the palate of the Hollywood? The POC of Hollywood have the talent, but where is the recognition?