#OscarsSoWhite: Controversy at the Academy Awards

Every year, the announcement of the Academy Awards nominees creates a stir amongst movie fans all over the world, who all have their own ideas of which films and the artists behind them deserve to win. But this year, as in recent years, the announcement has caused more than just a casual debate. The Academy is being criticized for the lack of racial diversity in the nominations and the issue burst its way into the mainstream media immediately with the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite.

Chris Rock is hosting the Oscars this year | oscars.go.com

Chris Rock is hosting the Oscars this year | oscars.go.com

Here is Sinj Karan‘s take on the Oscar nominees with revisions and additions:

Best Picture

1. Mad Max: Fury Road
2. The Revenant
3. Room
4. Mala Mala
5. Tangerine
6. Straight Outta Compton
7. Carol
8. Brooklyn
9. The Martian
10. The Big Short
11. Bridge of Spies
12. Spotlight

Best Director

1. Lenny Abrahamson – Room
2. Alejandro Inarritu – The Revenant
3. George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road
4. Sean Baker – Tangerine
5. László Nemes – Son of Saul
6. Antonio Santini – Mala Mala
7. Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
8. Adam McKay – The Big Short

Best Actor

1. Bryan Cranston –Trumbo
2. Will Smith – Concussion
3. Michael B Jordan – Creed
4. Tom Hardy – The Revenant
5. Leonardo Di Caprio – The Revenant
6. Matt Damon – The Martian
7. Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
8. Eddie Redmaybe – The Danish Girl

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

1. Benicio Del Toro – Sicario
2. Idris Elba – Beasts of No Nation
3. Oscar Issac – Ex Machina
4. Mark Rylance – Brigde of Spies
5. Jason Mitchell – Straight Outta Compton
6. Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight
7. Christian Bale – The Big Short
8. Tom Hardy – The Revenant (Moved to Best Actor)
9. Sylvester Stallone – Creed

Best Actress

1. Teyonah Parris – Chi-Raq
2. Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl
3. Brie Larson – Room
4. Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years
5. Kitana Kiki Rodriguez – Tangerine
6. Jennifer Lawrence – Joy
7. Cate Blanchett – Carol (Moved to Supporting Actress)
8. Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

1. Rooney Mara – Carol
2. Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight
3. Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs
4. Charlize Theron – Mad Max: Fury Road
5. Cate Blanchet – Carol
6. Rachel McAdams – Spotlight
7. Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl (Moved to Best Actress)

Best Original Screenplay

1. Straight Outta Compton
2. Ex Machina
3. Trumbo
4. A Pigeon Sat on a Branch and Reflected on Existence
5. Inside Out
6. Trainwreck
7. Bridge of Spies
8. Spotlight

Read Karan’s article on the Oscars here.

The Revenant leads the nominations with 12 nods.

The Revenant leads the nominations with 12 nods.

Alternatively, could the criticism the Academy is facing be seen as unfair? C.L. Illsley gives her perspective:

Most (if not every) year when the Academy Award nominations are announced, there are always a number of choices that I disagree with but this year the growing controversy over race has cast a shadow not only over the awards but the Academy itself.

As a film lover my concern is that the growing uproar regarding the lack of diversity and absence of black nominees will taint the accomplishments of those individuals and films that did get selected for awards. Because all of the acting nominees are white, does that somehow suggest that their work doesn’t deserve to be recognized and honoured? Many of these actors/directors/writers have spent their entire careers trying to reach the pinnacle of their industry which (right or wrong) is what the Academy Awards represent. The issue of systemic racism within the Academy is a serious one that should be investigated thoroughly but boycotting this year’s ceremony will only take away from the achievements of the people who were nominated by questioning if they were selected because of the colour of their skin rather than the merits of their work.

Also, this issue appears to have been spearheaded by Jada Pinkett Smith which makes me wonder that if all the nominations were exactly the same, except that her husband [Will Smith] had received a nomination for his work in Concussion, would she still be leading the call to boycott?

The 2016 Academy Awards air Sunday, February 28th.