An All White Oscars Is Still A Big Deal

15 January 2016, 15:27 | Updated: 8 May 2017, 17:09

Oscars So White
Nicky Idika

By Nicky Idika

#OscarsSoWhite: Another massive yikes moment for Hollywood

They've done it again. For the second year in a row, The Academy Of Arts And Sciences has put forth a list of film nominees that is definitely fifty shades of white. While many of the nominees for this year's awards can certainly be considered some of the best in their field, the lack of brown faces has not only become frustrating but, sadly, predictable.

"It's an honour just to be nominated," goes the old acceptance speech adage. But some of the best actors in some of the highest grossing films of 2015 don't even get that honour. Idris Elba, for instance starred in the highly buzzed about Beasts Of No Nation and Will Smith's performance in Concussion raised some serious hopes for a gold statue.


As predicted, social media is reacting strongly to the Academy awards fumble.

Last year, the awarding body's big defence was that the films starring actors of colour just weren't good enough. They called Ava Duvernay's directing for the MLK biopic, Selma, uninspired, and brushed David Owoyele's portrayal of the civil rights leader right under the rug.

This year, that excuse is likely to be a lot less plausible. With highly acclaimed performances in Straight Out Of Compton and Creed completely shut out, the snubs feel a lot more deliberate and less reflective of the diverse pool of actors in Hollywood.

And then there's the not so little issue of the Carol snub. Critics hailed Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchet's stunning performances as a lesbian couple in 1950s New York City, and yet the film missed out on a Best Picture nod. Even stranger, the category wasn't even filled and Carol could have easily slotted into two remaining positions for consideration. 

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We've spoken in the past about people's power to tank big films that are problematic but, at this point, we might as well tank every film in Hollywood because the whole system is problematic.

The social media outcry isn't just a bunch of people on the internet complaining about something that doesn't matter. It's the voice of a generation so enamored with the idea of diversity and representation that The Oscars are, to them, an offensive display of homogeneity.

And the Oscars' refusal to get with the times is really starting to stick out like a sore thumb. The film industry, as a whole, suffers from a serious lack of representation but now that television has began to majorly outstrip them, the difference in award ceremonies is stark.

But, considering the fact that the awarding body is mainly white, male, and old, textured stories about people of colour were never likely to get a look in. 

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With women and minorities getting top accolades for television roles (I see you, Taraji, Viola, and Kerry), and gay and lesbian storylines finally being told in prime time and on the big screen, it's hard to believe how backwards the academy seems to be when it comes Oscar time. 

For another year the Oscars are still so white, male, and straight-- and it seems like they might stay that way for a while.