Oscars lack diversity revealing partiality toward whites

Clarissa Wong, Staff Writer

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The Oscar nominations of 2016 have recognized movies such as “The Big Short,” “The Revenant,” “The Martian,” and “The Danish Girl.” Once again, the nominations have been criticized for their lack of ethnic and racial diversity. Since the first Oscar Awards Ceremony in 1929, the prominent awards show has been accused of nominating predominantly whites. According to Time Magazine, only 6.4 percent of the actor nominees in the past 87 years have been non-white.

There have been many successful movies that have featured directors and actors of color, notably “Creed” and “Straight Outta Compton.” In both productions, the casting and directing were mainly African American-driven, but the only nominees for both movies were white men. In fact, this is the second year in a row in which only white actors and actresses have been selected for the top four categories. The Oscar nominations of 2016 have sparked so much outrage that it has revived last year’s popular hashtag, #OscarsSoWhite.

The problem isn’t that there aren’t any actors, actresses, or directors of color out there. Just to name a few, Will Smith, Idris Elba, Steve Yeun, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Sofía Vergara, and Viola Davis are some well-known Hollywood celebrities of color. These non-white movie stars, as well as others, have been nominated in other popular award shows such as the Golden Globes and the Emmys, so it’s not a case of whether they have talent. Many could make the argument that actors and actresses of a “minority race” are just as talented as white ones are, so why are the majority of them unrecognized in the Oscar nominations?

These acts of not-so-discreet racism were what 2016 Oscar host Chris Rock dubbed as “sorority racist” in his monologue during the Oscars. Put simply, Hollywood doesn’t look down upon blacks in a derogatory manner, but it definitely is more partial towards whites, who have dominated this industry since its birth.

However, who the Academy nominates is nothing that we can control. It will take years, even decades, until minority races have equal representation in the entertainment industry. The US has made so much progress since the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s that some might even think that racism is nonexistent in this country. However, based on the lack of representation of people of color in Hollywood, we are far from where we need to be.

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