Oscars slammed for lack of diversity in nominees once again

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Carly Phares, Head Editor

As the Oscars approach us, the longtime discussion of the lack of diversity in the nominees has also surfaced once again. Critics have called out the Academy Awards for not recognizing women and people of color who deserve the same accreditation as white men.

This year, the awards will air live Sunday, February 9 on ABC. Some of the top films include Tod Phillip’s “Joker,” which took home nearly 11 nominations, with Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman,” Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and Sam Mendes’ “1917” following close behind with 10 nominations each.

Despite 2019 being a big year for film, many critics have found that several were snubbed from the nominees. Lulu Wang’s film, “The Farewell,” a story following a family’s journey back to China to say goodbye to their beloved matriarch, was completely disregarded by the Academy.

“Parasite,” the first Korean film to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes, although receiving nearly six Oscar nominations, did not receive a single acting nod. This is an unfortunately troubling trend for movies with a predominantly Asian cast.

Many critics believe Lupita Nyong’o, winner of supporting actress Oscar for “12 Years a Slave” in 2014, was disregarded for her work in Jordan Peele’s “Us,” as was “Hustlers” star, Jennifer Lopez, for her role in this powerful ode to a true story of women working to make ends meet in a men-dominated world—both women of color who gave phenomenal performances deserving of recognition.

One other glaring issue is the men-dominated director nominees despite outstanding performances from many women directors.

Some include: Greta Gerwig with her critically-praised remaster of a classic, “Little Women,” Lorene Scafaria with her feminsit ode to a true story, “Hustlers,” Lulu Wang with her cry-jerking family drama “The Farewell,” Melina Matsoukas with her social commentary on police brutality in “Queen & Slim,” Olivia Wilde with her take on a high school coming-of-age comedy “Booksmart,” and Marielle Heller with her timely story of kindness defeating cynicism in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.”

In addition, only one black actor received a nomination this year: Cynthia Erivo for best actress in “Harriet,” a story of the heroic abolitionist Harriet Tubman. Halle Berry was the first and only black woman to win in that category in 2002 for “Monster’s Ball.”

When she first heard that the 2016 Oscar acting nominations did not include any people of color, Berry said (in reference to her award in 2002), “that moment really meant nothing. It meant nothing. I thought it meant something, but I think it meant nothing.” 

Activist April Reign’s tweet #OscarsSoWhite went viral in 2015 following the lack of diversity in the nominees, specifically bringing to light the glaring whiteness in the Academy’s voting body.

Reign recently said, “until we see everyone having the opportunity… to see ourselves represented on screen, not just during awards season but all year long, I’ll still continue to talk about #OscarsSoWhite.”

In wake of this controversy, the Board of Governors of the Academy voted in 2016 to make significant changes to their membership, governing bodies, and voting members. Their goal: “commit to doubling the number of women and diverse members of the Academy by 2020.”

The Academy did live up to its promise in diversifying its membership, however, the issue is still clearly prevalent regardless.