If you’ve glanced at Twitter recently, you probably noticed the uproar surrounding the Academy Awards’ absence of racial diversity. Tweets with the hashtag “OscarsSoWhite” are flooding Twitter, and sadly this isn’t a huge surprise. The awards show has been scrutinized in past years for its exclusivity. However, more celebrities are speaking out this time around.
George Clooney believes that Hollywood is “moving in the wrong direction” regarding all-white Academy Award nominations. The actor has been in the business for several years, and his credibility is well-established. Clooney notes that the problem runs deeper than just nominations. At the root of the issue lies an inaccessibility for people of color to be cast in prominent roles, especially non-stereotypical roles. Thanks to his position of power in the industry, his words might open some eyes and ears on this heavy subject.
African American actress, singer-songwriter, mother (and goddess) Jada Pinkett Smith is choosing to skip the upcoming Oscars ceremony in February. Prominent filmmaker Spike Lee stands by her side, boycotting the Oscars to make a statement. Saturday Night Live and the New York Post recently made playful jabs at the situation, mocking the Oscars’ severe lack of diversity. Ironically, African American comedian Chris Rock still plans to host the awards show despite the lack of overall representation for people of color.
The backlash buildup may help transform award show standards for the better. The Academy Awards is finally listening to the criticism, and they vow to make distinct changes in their nomination process for the future. Regardless, there’s no quick and easy way to smooth over the damage that’s been done.