On Thursday, Jan. 14, the 2016 Oscar nominations were announced during a special two-part news conference that took place inside the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ Samuel Goldwyn Theatre in Beverly Hills, California
For the second consecutive year, all 20 slots went to White actors. So who was overlooked? Idris Elba in Beasts of No Nation, Samuel L. Jackson in The Hateful Eight, Tessa Thompson in Creed and Jason Mitchell in Straight Outta Compton, to name a few. Naturally, social media had a few words for the Academy for its consistent lack of diversity with the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite.
— Mark S. Luckie (@marksluckie) January 14, 2016
It appeared that everyone, including Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, got in on the action. “Of course I am disappointed,” she told Deadline. “But this is not to take away the greatness [of the films nominated]. This has been a great year in film, it really has across the board. You are never going to know what is going to appear on the sheet of paper until you see it — we have got to speed it up.”
Following the lack of diversity for the 2015 Oscar nominations, Isaacs — who happens to be the first Black president of the Academy and only the third female to hold the role — put an initiative in place called A2020 to encourage the industry to provide opportunities for women and minorities in film.
“The Academy has no power over Hollywood. We have nothing to do with hiring,” she said in a statement at the time. “What we can do, however, is to get them to widen their normal stream of thought.”
Oddly enough, people of color buy about half of all movie tickets in the United States but comprise a mere 25 percent of roles on-screen. In other words, Isaacs is correct in saying that in order to make a real impact, we must begin with the hiring process. Or better yet, continue to make our own films. Needless to say, #OscarsSoWhite was a sentiment felt Twitter-wide. Hit the flip to follow the movement.