Another year, another whiteout at the Oscars. Last year’s lack of nominations of actors and creators of color sparked the hashtag #OscarssoWhite. This year, folks are invoking the tag, created by April Reign, once again, to speak out against Hollywood’s abysmal track record.
A major part of the problem, is that world of film still hasn’t caught up to the world of TV. Television used to be considered a death knell for an actress’s career. But, in the past few years we’ve seen seasoned talents like Viola Davis, Kerry Washington, and Taraji P. Henson heading to the small screen, and earning major recognition. Davis, Henson, and Washington, among many others, have been outspoken about the challenges they’ve faced in film.
And just like last year, there’s an acclaimed work by a black filmmaker that’s notably absent. In 2015, the absence of Ava DuVernay’s Selma was surprising, save for a “Best Picture” nomination, leaving both DuVernay and star David Oyelowo out in the cold. This year, filmmaker Ryan Coogler’s Creed is nowhere to be found. Beasts of No Nation is also missing in action.
The only beacons of color on the list, Straight Outta Compton, and What Happened, Miss Simone?, “Best Original Screenplay” and “Best Documentary Feature” were both helmed by white creators.
While some are claiming that this 2-year trend is merely a “dip,” a 2015 study on diversity in Hollywood reveals what most of us already know. Despite the election of a black woman to the post of Academy President, this is more than a dip, it’s an ongoing problem, over 100 years in the making.