Oscars snub diversity, stars boycott

Vanity Fair released its most recent cover — an Oscar statuette, set in white instead of its familiar gold, with the words, “Shame on Us,” written over it.

The magazine cover is a nod to the uproar over the continued lack of diversity within the Academy Awards. The 20 nominees up for Oscars in individual acting categories are all of Caucasian descent, and has prompted the Twitter world to trend #OscarsSoWhite in response.

This is the second year in a row the Academy has seemingly denied people of color acting nominations, stirring up accusations of racism within the Academy voters. Chris Rock, actor-comedian, is hosting the event and playfully tweeted, “The #Oscars. The white BET Awards,” following the announcement of nominees.

“I think it’s a little bit ironic because Hollywood tends to lecture the rest of the country on their values,” said Michael Eaton, associate professor of film studies. “I do think that there is obviously more diversity in the recording industry, for example, than there is in the entertainment industry. Music arts is full of African Americans who are succeeding and winning Grammys. The entertainment industry is less integrated than that industry, but it’s also a very high bar to get to the level to be nominated for an Academy Award.”

Jada Pinkett Smith, actress, has been vocal about the situation and posted a video where she announced she will be boycotting the awards, airing live Feb. 28. Joining her is her husband, Will Smith, whose leading role in “Concussion” was met with mixed reviews and was denied an Oscar nomination.

“I think that Hollywood claims they’re moving forward because they do things every once in awhile, like a female director will be nominated or win something, but also with African Americans, it’s give and take,” said Grayson Bell, senior public relations major and president of United club at California Baptist University. “We just need to be better in diversifying, not just when it comes to race, but it is disappointing when you see somebody of color do a fantastic job and not get anything.”

On Jan. 22, the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences publicly announced a massive series of substantive changes to increase diversity within its membership. By 2020, the goal is to double the female and minority representation. Voting status will be reviewed every decade and if someone has been nominated for an Oscar, they are granted lifetime voting rights.

“I feel like there needs to be more diversity in the voting pool because it is mostly just older, Caucasian men,” said Ruby Torres, CBU alumnus. “There needs to be more diversity, not only to have more people be nominated, but to let others have a say
in it.”

About Chloe Tokar

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