Last year’s Oscar nominations drew howls of protests for their lack of diversity. This year, it’s even worse.
“Creed” was written and directed by the black Ryan Coogler and starred a black man, but the only nominee was a white man. “Straight Outta Compton” had a great acting ensemble of mostly young, black unknowns, and was directed by the black F. Gary Gray. But the film’s only nomination: for its screenplay, written by two Caucasians.
Last year, the hopes for diversity were based on one film, Paramount’s “Selma,” which earned two nominations, for best pic and song (winning the latter). This year, there were more opportunities, including “Creed,” “Straight Outta Compton” and “Chi-raq,” as well as “Beasts of No Nation” (directed by Cary Fukunaga). As with last year, the Hispanic/Latino filmmakers were represented only by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and his team in the “money” categories.
Some may conclude that the nominations reflect institutional bias against minorities and women within the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, but the problem is with Hollywood’s major studios and agencies. There were 305 films eligible this year. If hiring reflected the U.S. population, Oscar voters would have weighed 150-plus films directed by women, 45 directed by blacks, 50 by Hispanics, and dozens of movies by directors who are Asian-American, LGBT or members of other minorities. Of course, the actual tallies were a fraction of those numbers.