The Oscars are continuing what seems to be a long standing tradition by leaving women and people of color off their nomination list. The announcement of the 2020 Oscar nominations on Jan. 13 brought with it a tidal wave of fury from movie goers alike as they noticed the glaringly obvious problem with the list: people of minority groups in Hollywood were not given the recognition they deserve by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The 2015 and 2016 Oscars came under fire when the nomination list included no people of color. This caused activist April Reign to create the now famous title, “Oscars so white,” the New Yorker highlighted in 2018. It seems that the Academy has not learned its lesson, as only one person of color was nominated in the acting categories: Cynthia Erivo for her role as Harriet Tubman in “Harriet.”
Women were also snubbed by this year’s award show, as none were nominated for “Best Director.”
“Congratulations to those men,” actress Issa Rae said when announcing the nominees on January 13th.
The lack of women has come as quite a shock to viewers, as this year in film gave us Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women”, Marielle Heller’s “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and Lorene Scarfaria’s “Hustlers.”
Each film received approval from critics with each pulling high ratings on the popular movie review website Rotten Tomatoes. Both Gerwig’s and Heller’s film have a 95 percent approval rating, while Scarfaria’s does not trail far behind with a rating of 87 percent.
While the films that were nominated are ones that were heavily commended by the public and critics, such as Todd Philip’s “Joker” which received the most nominations with 11, the Academy still chose to exclude films with diverse casts and women in lead roles.
Some of these include Eddie Murphy in the Netflix film “Dolemite is my Name” and Lupita Nyong’o’s role in “Us,” which received critics’ praise. For example, “Us” was described as a “colossal cinematic achievement” by film critic Richard Brody from the New Yorker.
Twitter has been uproarious about this topic, with many users denouncing the Academy all together and bringing light to facts about the Oscars’ history.
“‘It’s an honour to be nominated,’ no woman director will say at the #Oscars – once again in 2020. Only five women have ever been nominated for best director in the award’s history,” U.N Women tweeted on Jan. 14, along with a graphic showing when women were nominated in the category.
“It’s clear that the narratives of people of color seem to only have ‘mainstream’ value when we are struggling to survive,” actor Steven Canals tweeted on Jan. 13. “When we can’t save ourselves and need (preferably white) savior. For proof: review the 12 Black Best Actress nominees over 91 years.”
Florida Southern College students and faculty are understandably talking about this topic.
“Part of me thinks you should include female directors no matter what, but also blind nominations would highlight where the talent lies,” junior Lilly Langdon said.
However, not all students share the same opinion.
“There’s been a noticeable increase in female led and directed films, and the fact that the Oscar nominations aren’t reflecting that is just unrealistic and disappointing,” senior Hannah Kiester said. “It’s time for the male-dominated Academy to finally realize that not every movie is for them.”
While we should not condemn the nomination of white male actors all together, it is important to realize that minority groups are not recognized at the Oscars. Hollywood is not just made up of a single voice, but rather crowds of diverse people trying to shout their story to the world. Maybe one day the Oscars will actually start listening.
The Oscars will air on ABC network on Feb. 9 from the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, California.