When the Oscar nominees were announced this year, the news was less about those nominated and more about those who weren't. Some call it racism, some call it odds, some call for change, some are calling for boycotts. So do you think the Oscars are too white?
Let's start with the facts:
- This is the second year in a row in which absolutely ZERO minorities have been nominated for any of the categories. That means Black, Asian, Hispanic, etc.
- This is the fourth time this decade that the best picture race is entirely white
- The nearly 6,000 member Academy is 94% Caucasian
- The academy is 77% male with a median age of 62
- Invitations to join are basically limited to high ranking professionals who are nominated by at least two peers and once admitted, you are in for life.
- Only Academy members can select the nominees.
(From The Economist)
These years are far from the first whitewashing in Oscars history: no actors from ethnic minorities were nominated in 1995 or 1997, or in an extraordinary streak between 1975 and 1980. Throughout the 20th century, 95% of Oscar nominations went to white film stars. It is an embarrassing anachronism that the prevalence of white Academy electors has been allowed to continue into the 21st century, a trend that the Academy's (black) president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, has vowed to end.
Could the “whiteout” be a statistical glitch? If the data were random, such a glitch would be hugely unlikely. A 2013 survey of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), an American union for film performers, suggests that 70% of its members are white. If all of the Guild’s members were equally likely to receive Oscar nominations, regardless of race, then over a two-year period 28 out of 40 nominations would be of white actors. The chances of no single person of colour being nominated across two ceremonies would be exceptionally small—even during a 15-year span, the odds of seeing at least one sequence of back-to-back whiteouts are around one in 100,000.
The Oscars do need to diversify in gender, age, AND race...basically the whole lot of it if there is going to be an actual representation of what the country is watching and responding to and thinking is worthy of an Academy Award. I mean, as a country, we ask for a jury of our peers in court, do we not, because we know that generally speaking, people are more likely to have a fair trial or at least one that can't be seen as being completely unfair or biased because of race or gender. To say or imply that there are no talented minorities of any race is obviously innaccurate, but how do you get a group of 94% aged Caucasian's to see this? There isn't even real diversity in the white actors and actressess nominated. It's basically the same pool of about 10 people, then someone new is thrown a bone, and that's about it. The Academy wonders why in recent years, its viewership has not found a steady increase, but more of a steady slow decline. If the so called highest award in your profession is an Academy Award, then I don't understand why it is unreasonable that no matter who you are, you should want to actually be nominated for such a thing. All the white actors nominated, want the same exact thing the minority ones want, but odds are, well, ever in their favor.