Oscars- Sooooo White!

Mena Matta, Reporter

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Oscars season is here, and I am so excited for the movies that I have watched in 2015. All of the nominated best pictures (Mad Max, The Revenant, Bridge of Spies, etc) offered drama and comedy, and we might finally see Leonardo DiCaprio win an Oscar. Chris Rock will be back to host the Oscars, which makes it even more anticipated.

But yet, another year has passed while no non-white actor or actress is nominated. This led to some black actors outraging against the Oscars- like Will Smith and Spike Lee.  The hashtag, #OscarsSoWhite, has also resurfaced on social media for the second year in a row.

Many Black actors have encouraged others to boycott the Oscars in the light of the recent nominations, which offers nothing for the widely popular, highly-rated movies, Straight Outta Compton, Chi-Raq, and Concussion. Despite Concussion had received a best supporting actor nomination for Will Smith in The Golden Globes, this led to cries of racism at the Academy.

Nonetheless, not all black actors supported the boycott.

“Boycotting doesn’t work, and it’s also a slap in the face to Chris Rock,” Whoopi Goldberg said, a past Oscar winner. “I find that also wrong. So I’m not going to boycott, but I’m going to continue to b***h, as I have, all year round, because I’m tired of seeing movies where no one is represented except a bit of the population.”

Obama spoke about the issue of diversity in the picture industry. “I think when everybody’s story is told, then that makes for better art,” Obama told reporters. “It makes for better entertainment. It makes everybody feel part of one American family. So I think, as a whole, the industry should do what every other industry should do, which is to look for talent, provide opportunity to everybody.”

In light of the recent events, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had pledged to reform the membership policy of the voting body, adding more color members by 2020, and changing the lifetime membership to promote diversity.

Matt Damon, nominated for best actor in The Martian, was pleased with the Academy actions. As a member himself, he praised the president Cheryl Boone Isaacs for the steps taken. “It’s a strong first step but that is all that it is, it’s a first step,” he said. “This is going to be a very long road. … I was very happy that they did that.”

As for me, I see that the issue of diversity here was not necessarily just about African Americans, but also on the Hispanics. Sicario was a super thriller movie, starring Benicio del Toro. Yet, it only got nominated for best cinematography and best soundtrack. Toro was never praised for his superb performance, because the Academy, mistakenly and successfully, build something Donald Trump is still advocating to build; a wall. And it is not any wall, it needs to be a wall built by all the Hispanics and African Americans who go and buy tickets to those nominated movies.

To windup the issue, when you tune in on Feb. 28th, don’t expect a non-white actor or actress going up and receive an Oscar. Unless, history wants to repeat itself. If you don’t know what I mean by that, you should search up and see what Marlon Brando did in 1973 when he received an Oscar for his performance in The Godfather.  It was a time when the Native Americans were indirectly prohibited to star in any movie in the film industry. Diversity is an ongoing issue, and the reason behind it is because we keep trying to refuse to offer a chance for all of our “colors” to shine.

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