It’s been a great year for films — but, unfortunately, the same can’t necessarily be said for movie recognition. For the second year in a row, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the exclusive group responsible for nominating and choosing Oscar winners, neglected to give any minorities nods for best performance of the year.
When the 2016 Oscar nominations were announced, several red-carpet stars voiced their concerns over the lack of nonwhite nominees, including Oscar winner George Clooney. The 54-year-old actor told Variety why he thinks the film industry is “moving in the wrong direction.”
“I don’t think it’s a problem of who you’re picking as much as it is how many options are available to minorities in film, particularly in quality films,” Clooney said before pointing out that around 2004 actors such as Don Cheadle and Morgan Freeman were nominated for Oscars. Accordingly, he said:
“All of a sudden, you feel like we’re moving in the wrong direction. There were nominations left off the table. There were four films this year: ‘Creed’ could have gotten nominations; ‘Concussion’ could have gotten Will Smith a nomination; Idris Elba could have been nominated for ‘Beasts of No Nation;’ and ‘Straight Outta Compton’ could have been nominated. And certainly last year, with ‘Selma’ director Ava DuVernay — I think that it’s just ridiculous not to nominate her.”
And Clooney isn’t the only one who finds the absence of diversity within the Oscar universe unsettling. The stars below also have criticized the academy for the disturbingly blatant so-called whiteout.
David Oyelowo: During the Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Awards Gala in Los Angeles, the actor, who portrayed Martin Luther King Jr. in the film “Selma,” called out the academy for failing to nominate black actors.
“A year ago, I did a film called ‘Selma,’ and after the Academy Awards, [academy President] Cheryl [Boone Isaacs] invited me to her office to talk about what went wrong then,” Oyelowo told reporters. “We had a deep and meaningful [discussion]. For 20 opportunities to celebrate actors of color, actresses of color, to be missed last year is one thing; for that to happen again this year is unforgivable.”
Cheryl Boone Isaacs: The academy president released a statement Monday saying the “lack of inclusion” of the 2016 Oscar nominees left her “heartbroken and frustrated.”
Snoop Dogg: The rapper employed Instagram to reveal he’s not tuning in to the 88th Academy Awards presentation.
“What the f--- am I going to watch that bull---- for?” he rhetorically asked in a video stating his frustration.
Idris Elba: An actor snubbed by the academy for his performance in “Beast of No Nation,” he revealed his feelings regarding the lack of Oscars diversity while speaking before a group of British Parliament members Monday.
“When you don’t reflect the world, too much talent is actually trashed,” Elba said. “Talent is everywhere, opportunity isn’t, and talent can’t reach opportunity unaided. Change is coming, but it’s going to take its sweet time.”
“We cannot support it, and [I] mean no disrespect ... But, how it is possible for the second consecutive year all 20 contenders under the acting category are white? And let’s not even get into the other branches,” Lee wrote in a lengthy caption. “Forty white actors in two years and no flava at all? We can’t act?! WTF!!”
— Spike Lee (@SpikeLee) January 18, 2016
Jada Pinkett Smith: The actress revealed in a video post on Facebook that, like Lee, she’ll also be boycotting the 2016 Academy Awards show.
“Maybe it is time we pull back our resources and we put them back into our communities, into our programs, and we make programs for ourselves that acknowledged us in ways that we see fit, that are just as good as the so-called mainstream,” Pinkett Smith said. “We are dignified people, and we are powerful — let’s not forget it. So let’s let the academy do them with all grace and love, and let’s do us differently.
Michael Moore: The “Bowling for Columbine” director told TheWrap that he “absolutely” supports Lee and Pinkett Smith in the boycotting of the Oscars.
“I thought about this all day, and I don’t plan to go to the show, I don’t plan to watch it, and I don’t plan to go to an Oscar party,” Moore said. “And I say that as a proud member of the academy, as someone who still sits on the executive board [of the documentary branch], as someone who knows full well that [academy President] Cheryl [Boone Isaacs] and [CEO] Dawn [Hudson] are doing their best to fix the situation.”
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) January 19, 2016
The 2016 Oscars presentation airs on ABC Sunday, Feb. 28.